Tag Archives: Matt Brittin

#soe09: Google doesn’t need newspapers – but do newspapers need it?

Google doesn’t need newspapers – it’s official; but its users do, Matt Brittin, UK director of Google, told the Society of Editors conference today.

Some key points from Brittin:

  • “Taking content out of Google news is a political statement (…) but experimentation is good.”
  • “One of the reasons we’re working with a lot of publishers is because we passionately believe that the internet needs to have quality content on it.”
  • “Does Google need news content to survive in this year? No (…) Economically it’s not a big part of how we generate revenue, but the value of the internet to consumers is all about finding great content online.”
  • “We’re a technology company and we’ll try and contribute technology that helps [e.g. Fast Flip, micropayment system] (…) We’re absolutely not [a newspaper company].”

The audio below features Times editor James Harding (first), Evening Standard editor Geordie Greig, and The National editorial director Martin Newland with their opinions on removing content from Google News:

#soe09: Hyperlocal, mobile and experimentation for newspapers, say Brittin and Newland

“We must try any way possible to keep what we do alive so that in the end when the advertisers come back for quality we’re still here,” Martin Newland, editorial director of Abu Dhabi paper The National, told the Society of Editors conference today.

Newland said state subsidy, paid-for content online and new forms of advertising should all be considered – but in a vein of experimentation.

“Is there a model in what you are doing?” asked fellow panellist and Evening Standard editor, Geordie Greig.

“No,” said Newland, who had earlier apologised for ‘moving East’ when his industry in the UK descended into crisis. “But we’re experimenting.”

As such The National is developing a website with verticals, on of which will be news, and all of which can be separately branded and advertised around, Newland said. This is to cater to the more promiscuous habits of online news consumers and serve different people’s different tastes, he added.

Newland’s plea for experimentation was subtly back by fellow panellist Matt Brittin, UK director of Google, who stressed the potential of mobile for newspaper publishers and local media.

“What could be most useful to the UK newspaper industry is the mobile internet (…) We’re seeing the beginning of people paying for news applications and using micropayments,” he said.

The geotagging capabilities of mobile also provides ‘a major opportunity for local media’ in particular for serving up targeted ads and building relationships with local businesses, he added.

“We will see subscription-based content, micropayments primarily mobile-based, and subscriptions through mobile (…) But there will also be a significant proportion of content remaining free.”

Newland also stressed the importance of hyperlocal as a future model for regional newspapers: “Going down, down, down is the way to go.”

“If you are in the local market, going even more local is probably the way to go (…) Could advertising that has fled be brought back with hyperlocal sites?” he asked, citing the potential for reverse publication of hyperlocal online content in a print product, which could carry advertising.

Times editor James Harding, who spoke to the conference about the paper’s plans to charge for content online, added his own support for hyperlocal or ultra-local news coverage by the local press.

FIPP 09: Charging for content or e-commerce – how will mags make money?

“I insist that we are going to have to end up charging for our content wherever we can,” said Roberto Civita, CEO and chairman of Brazilian magazine publisher Abril, today.

“The more segmented the more we’ll be able to do this, the less segmented the less.”

Civita wasn’t the first publisher at this year’s FIPP World Magazine Congress: yesterday Guardian Media Group’s Carolyn McCall said charging for specific sections of Guardian.co.uk was a consideration.

He also echoed comments made earlier in the day by Google’s UK MD, Matt Brittin, who said publishers could learn from the e-commerce industry.

Magazine brands should be ideally placed to do this, for example, by placing direct links to buy on advertisements, he said.

Civita was adamant that magazines will continue and that the industry shouldn’t get hung up on what platform this happens on (“I really don’t think it makes any difference if we’re talking about paper or the new e-papers”) – it’s the quality of the product that matters

Fellow panellist Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines in the US, added to her Conde Nast’s counterpart’s remarks about the importance of brand.

“Strong brands will be brands going out into the future. Strong brand, strong advertising, strong editorial,” she said, adding that Hearst brands should be at the centre with spokes from them crossing into e-commerce, merchandising, and other media revenues, like TV spin-off ‘Running in Heels’.

So – print’s going to survive and while online will grow (and e-readers too) – where does that leave digital content?

Both Black and Civita agree: magazines’ digital offerings should be differentiated from what else is available in their sector online.

“We must continue to emphasise the things that have made our magazines what they are today: remained tuned to interests and characteristics of our readers (…) maintain our integrity and ethical principles which are the cornerstone of our greatest asset, our credibility,” said Civita.

And – one parting thought from panel chair Lord Heseltine, chairman of Haymarket – the two platforms must work together:

“The pure-play people have got to keep promoting their product. If we have a brand we have a natural promotion vehicle. I’ve seen examples where pure-play people have launched very successful sites, much more successful than ours, but it’s only been a matter of time before we caught them.”

FIPP 09: Audio: Keynote from Google’s Matt Brittin

At today’s FIPP World Magazine Congress Google’s UK MD Matt Brittin told publishers to use real-time data to monitor consumer trends and looking to the world of e-commerce for examples.

Listen to the full audio of Brittin’s address below:


FIPP 09: Downturn is the conference buzzword – but is the mag industry facing up to it?

Yesterday at the FIPP World Magazine Conference, William Kerr, board chairman at Meredith Group suggested that ‘being 12 per cent down is the new up’.

The wider economic downturn and the gap between online and traditional offline advertising revenues in the magazine industry have been referred to in every panel I’ve attended so far (though more often than not it’s referred to as ‘challenging times’). But has the mag industry faced facts?

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, doesn’t seem to think so:

“When we come out of this recession many industries will be the same, but the mass market motor industry and the newspaper industry will be changed forever,” Jones told delegates.

“There are many people in the magazine industry who think it won’t effect them, but we could equally be having these conversations in two or three years time about the magazine industry.”

There will be more cost-cutting, in particular staff reductions, as the industry realises the impact, he added. (GQ’s publisher Conde Nast reportedly axed five per cent of its US magazine staff last October)

For other’s the downturn is a huge opportunity for innovation and restructuring. Google’s UK MD, Matt Brittin, predicted that the current climate would accelerate certain types of user behaviour online. For example, the use of search and free technologies to create their own content.

The challenge for publishers is to monitor these changes and respond to the consumers’ changing needs online – often by embracing new, free technologies themselves, but also by finding new ways to serve up their content that will be found through specific search queries, for instance, or relating to niche topics.

According to Brittin, opportunities exist – with Google’s help of course – within the ‘first downturn in a truly digital age’.

Telegraph.co.uk: Google’s UK chief Matt Brittin on the UK media industry

“It is easy for people in traditional media to look at the internet and say, ‘Oh God, the internet is taking away our readers and advertisers’. But – and I want to be really clear about this – it is not Google that is taking advertisers away. It is consumers changing their behaviour,” says former Trinity Mirror man.

Full story at this link…