Tag Archives: business models

Hyperlocals can now create noticeboards using the Guardian’s n0tice

Online noticeboard n0tice has today opened to all community groups and hyperlocal sites after testing the technology with a limited number of users.

Groups can now create their own customised page, choosing a domain and can start to moderate activity. The platform is still being developed but there are plans to later introduce revenue-sharing between n0tice, owned by the Guardian Media Group, and page owners, such as hyperlocal news sites and bloggers.

notice is like a cross between a village noticeboard, Gumtree and Foursquare in that it is a space for users to post small ads, local news and announcements and that information can be pushed to location-enabled mobile phones and devices. There is more on how and why n0tice was created at this link and how it will make money by charging users for promoted, location-based small ads.

Following a recent invitation roll-out, hyperlocals, bloggers and community groups can now create their n0tice page, measure performance and activity with social analytics tools, and “moderate community activity in order to encourage the kind of behaviour they want to see on their noticeboard”, Sarah Hartley, one of the team behind n0tice told Journalism.co.uk.

She added:

This service is designed to serve community groups of all shapes and sizes, active local champions and community leaders, local publishers and bloggers, interest groups and hobbyists, and anyone who wants to manage a community noticeboard. We are focused on serving UK-based community groups, but it works anywhere in the world.

The service is still in development, and we have a lot we plan to add in the near future.

For example, we will develop revenue sharing opportunities via the classified advertising platform so that noticeboard owners can earn money. We will also develop a private, restricted access community noticeboard service which will be offered for a fee.

We don’t have a date when these services will be launched, but we release new capabilities on a regular basis.  You can follow @n0tice to stay in touch with the team.

Access to n0tice.com is open, but community participation is currently by invitation only. There are details on the technologies used to create n0tice here.

#media140 – Choice of multiple business models as traditional press ‘dies off’

Throughout media140 so far, when it has come to a discussion of business models for journalism, most speakers seem to be in agreement that there is no single solution, rather the path is multi-directional and a mix is best.

Yesterday Pat Kane discussed the main two pathways which appear to be being taken at the moment, the open web versus the paid content model, but he said a mixed model may be best.

Similarly Jay Rosen, when asked by Kane at the end of the professor’s keynote later in the day about revenues, also said there is no one single model.

At today’s first session, Ismael Nafria, director of digital contents at La Vanguardia, spoke along the same lines, although also indicated a commitment to a foundation of advertising in the press.

He said 90 per cent of income comes from advertising.

Despite this difficult situation, there is a business model for information, it is one that has existed for many decades now and is still possible.

Working in online information, after having tried and experimented on many occasions for me it is quite clear what the business model should be … in general terms information depends on advertising.

You have to have media open as possible reaching out to the widest audience as possible … we cannot all hope for the same rating, there are different battlefields, so to speak, so in your own niche you need to aspire to reach the highest-quality product so advertisers will invest.

On top of that – as advertising is the foundation upon which we should all organise our models – we need additional elements, such as payment or subscription.

This is not the solution, at least by itself, it is an additional element, revenue source, but we need to complement it with others.

He added for this to work, publishers need to fully understand the internet as a medium, and how it differs from other existing mediums.

There are all types of consequences of how you create information, how you reach out to audiences, what are the professional profiles that you need to offer that message to your audience.

If you don’t understand that many users come through browsers, so it is very important for browsers to find you, if you don’t understand the internet is a multimedia environment, so your content should not only be textual but have multimedia and interactive elements, this information fits better in the internet environment.

It’s the only way to have a competent product. As long as you are able to offer your internet product in the way that the internet demands it, it’s not a problem.

In order to achieve this content and commercial teams should be working “hand in hand” he added.

“They are part of the very business we’re working for. It’s not always the case and it’s not always easy. Whoever is neglecting it is making a big mistake,” he said.

I don’t believe that our job is coming to an end, its the opposite.

The more info available in the world the more necessary are these figures that can help us as citizens to process and digest all that information.

Similarly fellow speaker Carles Capdevila, who is director of daily title ARA, which offers a premium part of its content via a sign-up, while the rest of its content remains open online, said the title is in the process of looking for a multi-platform business model.

We are learning by doing, we created a business, we are trying to look for the right model and we’re doing that live, everyday.

We know the traditional press model is dying off and other models are popping up and we’re committed to choice. We aim for it to be sustainable, looking for different models at the same time.

He also went on to talk about the value of social media in the development of ARA’s business model and popularity. “We were created through the social media”, he said.

We explained every day who we were and what we wanted to do.

We began operating with a constant dialogue with users.

We’re so flexible as to modify what in the past was known as a market study, we have one every day … We are a newspaper that was created together with its users through social media, but it also goes through the newsagents, offers a supplement … I declare myself to be agnostic, or multi-agnostic to platforms.

I don’t let myself get carried away by anyone. We don’t believe in paper we just practice it. We practice our paper religion but its a temporary faith. We are believers in Facebook.

Online your market, your users, enter into a dialogue with you, so you have an opportunity to know what they’re thinking about. Is there any business for journalists online? Well I compare myself with doctors and teachers – thanks to internet and social media our customers wise up.

A doctor gives you medicine and you take it, maybe you were cured, maybe you died.

Now you go and say, ‘I think I have this because I looked it up on Google’. So are doctors going to disappear, no. We still go look for a doctor to make sure you’ve got it right. I need dialogue.

Towards a hyperlocal business model?

Using data from OpenlyLocal, Greenwich.co.uk publisher hyperlocal.co.uk has created a map showing the concentration of hyperlocal websites in the UK.

Hyperlocal may be a word that is too freely used: is a city-based website hyperlocal? Or should it be postcode- or street-based? Then again, why decide? Hyperlocal.co.uk’s map shows the huge range of ‘hyperlocal’ sites operating in the UK and where such local media is currently lacking.

Compare this with a map from advertising solution Addiply of all its hyperlocal clients – ranging from independents to networks like the new STV local offering and Guardian Local. If the number of markers on this map grows, hyperlocal publishers will be able to see their network growth to lure more advertisers, particularly those bigger brands that buy digital ad space UK-wide, but which have media buyers operating from a central office.

While we’re on the subject of hyperlocal sites finding new commercial opportunities, it’s worth mentioning hyperlocal pioneer The Lichfield blog, which in partnership with a local printing co-operative Sabcat Printing has started selling T-shirts from an online shop – Viva LichVegas. It’s something Scottish website GreenerLeith does too – making pounds and publicity, and an interesting experiment in hyperlocal business models.

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Nieman: How the FT’s business model is more online retailer than publisher

Fascinating article on Nieman Journalism Lab from Ken Doctor, author of Newsonomics, looking at how the Financial Times, its website and its business model take inspiration from internet retail and not publishing.

Internet retailing — think Amazon — seems like a very different business than publishing. In the endlessly measurable digital age, though, the parallels are striking. It’s not in what you are selling – books, electronics, or news stories – it’s what you know about your customers, their habits and wants.

(…) In addition, analytics support the FT’s eight-member strategic sales team as it customises marketing approaches for firms and their agencies. Grimshaw says that by early 2011, advertisers themselves will get some access to FT audience data.

Full post on Nieman Journalism Lab at this link…

The Journalism Firm: What journalists have to learn from lawyers

Responding to ongoing discussion of the idea of journalists as entrepreneurs, videojournalism pioneer Michael Rosenblum suggests a new model for independent journalists going forward – the law firm:

Lawyers, (while it is true some become employees), tend to organise themselves in partnerships in which they pool their skills and their business.

A law firm hires its talents out to many clients.  A Journalism Firm (to craft an interesting idea) would do the same. A partnership of journalists would contract with various magazines, newspapers, television stations and websites to offer content, as a law firm offers work. In this way, they would also be insulated from the predictable disaster if one newspaper or one magazine went under.

The Journalism Firm would be a partnership, and as a good law firm combines the high paying M&A with the lower paying family practice, so too could a Journalism Firm combine the low paying investigative journalism with the high paying Public Relations. Don’t cringe. Many of our grads go into PR and can make a fortune. It’s the same skill set.

Full post on Rosenblum TV at this link…

Media Release: News Corp invests in newspaper paywall business Journalism Online

News Corporation has announced an investment in Journalism Online, the company founded last year by former US newspaper executives Steve Brill, Gordon Crovitz and Leo Hindery to help newspapers charge for their websites.

“We’re especially pleased with this investment because News Corp. is the industry leader in making the case that there is value in journalism online for which readers will be willing to pay,” says Crovitz in the release.

Journalism Online says its Press+ system will offer newspapers and publishers a range of paywall options from metered access, such as that used by the Financial Times’ website, and give users a common login across the sites it serves.

In September, Nieman Journalism Lab reported that Journalism Online would take 20 per cent of subscription revenue after credit card fees. The move by News Corp underlines its commitment to charging for content online, as shown by new paywalls for the Times and Sunday Times websites.

In the same release, News Corp also announced that it is buying Skiff, the e-reading platform developed by Hearst Corporation.

Full release at this link…

Martin Moore: #futureofnews is ‘not so bleak, but not so rosy either’

Great post from Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust, on paywalls, business models and collaboration in journalism. The post is worth reading in full, but some of the important points Moore makes include:

  • The future of advertising as part of a newsroom’s business model:

The paywall is not the only way to sustain the digital newsroom. Advertising – much maligned by many – could yet make online non-paywall newspaper content viable within 5 years.

  • The problems with paywalls:

Even if paywalls provide a secure financial future for news organisations – which right now seems unlikely – they will reduce the pool of shared information, and cut those news organisations’ content off from the openness, sharing and linking that characterises the web.

But perhaps most interesting in the post is Moore’s own suggested model for news and revenue – the ‘carrier pigeon model’:

In this model you let people share, link to, recommend, search, aggregate, and even reuse your content – you just make sure it’s properly marked up and credited first, so you can keep track of it, and develop revenue models off the back of it. You do this with – excuse the geek terminology – “metadata” (…) I call it the “carrier pigeon” model because the news doesn’t just go out, it comes back.

Full post at this link…

#fong: New business bootcamps for journalists from Adam Westbrook

Freelance multimedia journalist Adam Westbrookauthor of this book and this blog, is planning a series of ‘bootcamps’ to come up with new business ideas for journalism. The idea for the meetings, which Westbrook will host in his own London flat, follows the success of the Future of News Group – a network and series of events set up by Westbrook to discuss, debate and find new ideas for journalism and journalists.

The first Future of News Business Bootcamp will focus on making money from reporting on the developing world and human rights and will run on Tuesday 22 June. The group is limited to six people and the deadline to apply for a place is 11 June. To secure a spot, you need to email a pitch to Adam Westbrook explaining why you need to be at this bootcamp, what your interest in this niche is and (in one line) give an idea for how the niche might be made into business.

“The meet-ups have been running for about six months now and the group has more than 300 members so it’s been going really well. When I set it up I wanted it to be a forum for actual new ideas to emerge, rather than more talk about the future of journalism. The individual meet-ups have been great but I got the sense they’d reverted back to the speaker/Q&A format we see at all the other conferences. I thought of ways I could bring them back to the main mission of the group and realised smaller groups are often better for brainstorming and ideas. They’re going to be really focused sessions, diving straight into what the business models could be and how to package them into profitable products. Fingers crossed one of the bootcamps will bring up a gem,” Westbrook told Journalism.co.uk.

If the first session goes well, Westbrook says he’ll look into holding other ‘bootcamps’ for travel journalism, sport journalism, environmental journalism, local journalism and more.

RSS feeds beat any branded iPhone or iPad news app

There are still so many uncertainties in the media landscape. Media fortunes fluctuate upwards due to the green shoots of cyclical recovery and downwards thanks to the continued – and permanent – failure of long-standing print-based publishing models.

But one thing you can be assured of is that in boardroom and management meetings across the worlds of newspapers, magazines and broadcast media, executives are being asked: “What’s our app strategy?

Still regarded as something of a secret sauce for newspapers and magazines – Rupert Murdoch believes that all media will find its way to the iPad – the very success and survival of newspapers and magazines apparently relies on us iPhone- and iPad-wielding middle class types going on an App Store shopping spree.

I’ve written on these pages before that, much like an English goalkeeper facing a German penalty, the iPad won’t save anything at all – least of all the news business. Analysts at paidContent:UK and Journalism.co.uk agree.

So here’s another thought: despite their convenience, apps are a limited way of publishing information. The self-constructed, community-based, open, Google-able news eco-system gives the serious media consumer a better all-round experience than the closed off system represented by the iPad and App Store, and all it takes is a little effort to make the most of it.

Most apps available now are primitive, quickly-built bits of smartphone software that publish articles via sequential updates. In the main, even market-leading apps don’t begin to present stories, pictures, video and graphics to readers in the way they should.

The experience of using the Guardian and Telegraph apps is only fractionally as rewarding and revealing as using Guardian.co.uk and Telegraph.co.uk – indeed, it’s probably not even as good as those unprofitable paper things. Andrew Sparrow may be the king of political liveblogging, but try reading him on the iPhone app – it’s confusing, jumbled, the links aren’t live and it’s not worth the effort.

Look at Journalism.co.uk’s review of iPhone apps from March: out of 34 leading apps, a measly five allowed offline reading.

So what’s the alternative? Do it yourself, with friends

Since the advent of the iPhone I’ve fallen back in love with RSS. With Google Reader’s mobile version (when in internet range) I can quickly read the 1,000+ feeds I check regularly. When out of range and on the London Underground I use the free NetNewsWire app which syncs seamlessly with Google Reader and works offline beautifully, as does the paid-for Byline app which shows pictures well and partially downloads online-only content too.

But both of those RSS aggregator apps allow me to add articles to my shared items on Google Reader and post things to Twitter. It’s a real-time news diet chosen by me and the community I belong to.

Times Newspapers launched its paid-for products this week and the £2-a-week sites are soon to be tied to access to iPhone/iPad apps, much like the FT’s app. With Times executives openly predicting reader numbers to collapse by as much as 90 percent, News International may be relying on the attractiveness of the iPad apps to shore up subscription numbers. I’ve seen the TheTimes.co.uk app in action on an iPad recently – it’s essentially the day’s online and print news digested into a series of regular “editions” – and the ‘liveness’ possible from online news appears to be lacking, as is the sharing aspect.

Of course, the everyday Man On The Clapham Omnibus doesn’t care or want to know about RSS, much less mobile apps that create a mobile version of their OPML file. But Journalism.co.uk readers are media professionals – and I’d wager that most of you are capable of using free or cheap software to create a mobile news experience that no branded premium app can match.

Paywall and subscription models: a study of 30+ organisations

Alastair Bruce (@ajbruce), content manager for MSN UK, has studied over 30 organisations to produce this detailed presentation on pay wall and subscription models. He examines bundling, micropayments, metered systems, freemium and 100 per cent subscription models, across consumer/specialist titles and national/local newspapers. Who is doing what, and what comes next?

How publishers are charging for online content or consumption and implementing paywalls and subscription services