Friday 8 February 2013

New York Times. Subscriber paywall working but Ad revenues are down. This is the line quality publishers need to walk.

The New York Times is growing its digital subscriber base although its advertising revenue is declining.

668,000 thousand digital subscribers for the group is up from 566,000 in September. Advertising revenue though is down by -8%, largely due to declines in the print versions (down -10%) whilst digital revenue is down just under -2%. But they're down.

The problem here is a trade-off between a model that makes money from a subscriber paywall versus a model that makes money from advertising. If you have paid subscribers (paywall) then you've less readers compared to when it's free. As some of the content is closed off for subscribers only, free readers move away elsewhere. Therefore the page impressions decline and consequently too, the ad revenue will fall. Charge for content and you'll have less readers and therefore, less advertising.

However, the NYT overall revenue is up +5% so the growth in subscribers revenue is more than offsetting the consequential loss in ad revenue. For now.

In return too, its shares are up +15% bringing more capital value - so people like what they're seeing.

If a paywall subscriber model is adopted by publishers like the NYT, it actually puts pressure on content. Paying readers want more up-to-date content, more services, more video, more coverage because they're now paying for it. They'll want detailed business analysis for one. Quality journalism.

So a paywall will work best in a quality title where affluent readers will be more able and more willing, to pay. It's a risk for sure but that depends too on where the paywall is placed - a combination of good free content (on the homepage for example) with subscribers getting detailed content, might be a good balance between maintaining digital Ad revenue and generating subscriptions.

If you can walk that line, it's an opportunity that The NYT is proving.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Facebook launch big video initiative to communicate to developers. Nice way for other corporates too....

Live Video works great - except when it's news as this Reporter found out. Great put-down.

Facebook needs to communicate with developers. And how are Facebook doing it? On video.

Called Developers Live Wednesday, it's now a video channel where everyone can watch and share. Using live streaming, it allows instant access to Facebook engineers and to solve problems quickly. Using pre-recorded video too, they can answer common questions in a FAQ style from Facebook staff.

Video allows easy demonstration of technology allowing you to replay and replay and replay and the site will then add to its video library. Or go back later and have another look if it's still unclear.

The first one is on Feb 19, hosted by a Facebook expert in web and mobile platforms, it's targeting gaming developers telling them things to look out for and answering questions.

Developers can request an invite on, well, Facebook

You can also see who's going to watch and so on. Nice, happy page it is too. And a nice development by Facebook.

Video is a great tool to communicate online and using live video can deal with issues immediately as well as, building a Video library online. And it's easy to do as well as being relatively low cost. Inviting people into your Facebook page helps the build up.

Great ideas for companies. Great for Streamabout too.
If it's good enough for Facebook......

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Pope doing well on Twitter. Religion doing really well. Why? People pass positive thoughts on. Brands could learn from that.

I think it's fair to say that the Pope, leader of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church, has been a success on Social Media, notably Twitter (handle is at Pontifex).

Having over 2.5 million followers in only a few months since his first tweet on December 13, that's pretty good going. So much so, they've launched his own YouTube channel (largely to see his speeches), a 'PopeApp', Facebook page and an online news portal.

Still some way to go to catch The Dalai Lama's 9 million followers, but he was one of the first into the digital age. 

Leader of America's largest Church in Lakewood Texas, Joel Osteen is also taking to it and pretty much becoming a star. Although if you've ever heard him talk, you'll understand why - this is the greatest orator of them all. You'll see a young Joel on this blog video talking about the power of positive words (just for interest!).

Apart from the obvious, in that they're using Social Media to communicate, the real strength is that their positive messages are retweeted time and again. In other words, when Osteen says "God is with you in your hour of need", people pass it on and at a minimum of 7,000 retweets. That in turn brings more people in and so it grows, exponentially.

Good news travels fast it seems.

And there's a lesson in that I think. 

Just taking this blog as a super tiny sample, I know if I blog about something "bad" or negative (like the series I did on Tax avoidance), not only do I get criticised but my readers fall away that day. When it's something good or positive, they drive up and it's more likely to be "liked" or shared. 

People want good news, they want to smile in the dreary drudgery of daily lives. And so The Pope and others with generally uplifting words, do well on social.

Brands could learn a bit from that (as indeed, could Bloggers). Tweet well and you'll do well. Nasty, cyber bullying doesn't and is, as we know, pretty destructive which by the way, by passing it on we must take some responsibility.

So that's today's sermon.
Nice, positive words do well on Social Media.

I love you all (!)

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Superbowl Power Outage. Brands really capitalised on it with Social Media. Full marks to Oreo, Jim Beam, Tide and 6 others.

Full marks to Mashable too, out quick with a great story about brands who capitalised on Superbowl Social Media without paying for the expensive commercials. And great too, because it showed brands who were literally, thinking on their feet.

You may (or may not) have been watching The Superbowl, as I was, and as it entered the third quarter, a blackout/power cut ensued. The game stopped and the stadium went into darkness. Out then popped the top Ad for Oreo on Social Media, 4 minutes after the blackout - "No power? No problem.You can still dunk in the dark". Super. And I've no idea how they got it ready so quickly.

Next up was Tide with this...

And then Jim Beam who have a brand called 'Black'.....

Other brands got in too. Calvin Klein with a video of a fairly hunky man doing press ups under the headline, "Since the lights are still out..."

PBS, the Broadcaster, (the excellent broadcaster), tweeted that viewers shouldn't worry because they had 'Downton Abbey' on instead.

Walgreens tweeted that they had candles for sale.

And Audi said they were going to send some of their LED lights to the stadium.

They were also bidding immediately (especially brands like Bud Light) for Adwords 'power outage' and 'blackout'. How brilliant that is.

Fairly great that Agencies and their Clients were that alert to capitalising on something that they couldn't have predicted. Pretty smart thinking. And good energy.

It was a touch-and-go game at the end with Baltimore's Ravens winning what has become a really fabulous spectacle. 

A magnificent night in New Orleans.

Monday 4 February 2013

Last Nights Superbowl commercials. 3 interesting picks but you can watch them all here.

You'll see all of last nights very expensive (nearly 4m usd a throw) here by clicking/cutting+pasting this link

Gangnam style was of course the most watched YouTube video of 2012 so use it in the Superbowl makes perfect sense. Must have cost a bomb.

A couple of my other highlights though and starting with this one which uses stills rather than footage. A nice idea....

This more more bizarre as an ad campaign against Ad campaigns in The Superbowl that promote sexism and using twitter. Interesting stuff....

And this for me, the winner. Magic track, incredible cast, lovely idea....

But have a look at them all. Well worth it!

Superbowl Ads. Expensive airtime, super Ads and probably the most watched TV programme ever in The USA.

Tonight is Superbowl Sunday - just in case you've been in a cave (!) and haven't heard. What makes it exciting is ad watching. A lot of brands are now launching "teasers" in advance of the game to get you "teased" to look out for the final version. This one for Samsung (in two parts) looks terrific and titled "the next big thing". At 2 minutes, I'm guessing they'll spend about 12 million just on the one Superbowl broadcast alone. Is it worth it? Have a look but I think it's a great spot (Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd are very well known stateside). The second part is great and below.

Possibly the most expensive airtime on the planet in terms of overall cost per commercial (3.7 million usd a piece) but not per capita. Interesting for example, that Ireland's own Late Late Show is more expensive per viewer than The Superbowl. Because even though you pay 3.7 million for a Superbowl spot, you reach about 200 million people who will watch at least part of the game (mainly the 3rd and 4th quarters so end spots can be more valuable). The final Samsung commercial is going out, for example, in the 4th quarter.

Consequently based on a standard trade measure of cost-per-thousand CPT (the cost of reaching one thousand viewers) Superbowl does very well in value terms because the audience is so huge. Therefore, all spots are well sold out.

About 130 million will watch the game end-to-end and that will make it the most watched US TV programme ever. Because the content (American Football) limits it to US viewer appeal, it doesn't reach the viewing heights of sports with global appeal like Soccer. About half the planet for example, watch The World Cup Final, putting the viewer numbers in billions.

So a lot of us will watch the Ads and, as I've blogged over the last couple of days, the Ads can really make a difference as the "Dart Vader/Star Wars" spot did for VW last year. Already over 200 million viral views. 'Doritos' and recently 'Go Daddy' largely built brand recognition with their Superbowl spots as indeed did Steve Jobs choose it to launch his new Apple Mac in the 1984 Superbowl.

It's a huge night for advertising and social media nevermind, for football.