Let's face it: the advertising business model of American newspapers is shot to hell. There are several reasons:
I was in India twice in the last couple of months, and reminded of how different are the business models of newspapers around the world. Indian newspapers are paid-circulation broadsheets but at very low prices. For revenue, they are overwhelmingly dependent on display advertising -- "classified ads" on the American model just aren't a factor. They're big, really big, with national and regional titles published in localized editions around a country with four times the population of the United States.
Last week at the WAN-IFRA India 2018 conference, I said the marriage of convenience that has existed between journalism and advertising has been broken.
I want to go into a little more detail about that.
Much of what I am going to say here may seem elementary and will come as no surprise to senior managers, but journalists (who are rightfully focused on journalism and not on the business side) may learn a few things.
Something Patrick Thornton posted on Twitter got me thinking about the many painful design projects I've been through -- and the fact that the pain usually isn't about design as such, but rather some business basics that can plague projects of all sorts.
There's a question floating around on Twitter: "What‘s something that seems obvious within your profession, but the general public seems to misunderstand?" One answer that I've seen several times is that "the writer of the story doesn't write the headline."
And then there's a tweet from @preetbharara, who declared "The worst members of the press are the people who write the grabby headlines for stories they don’t seem to have read."
Writing in The New Republic, David Dayen says "The surveillance economy should die. This manner of advertising doesn’t serve the public and it’s not even clear it serves advertisers." It's an intriguing idea: let's return to the era of mass media. Rather than conjure up complicated schemes to regulate entities like Facebook, just remove the incentive for corporations to spy on our every click. Want to reach a relevant audience?
We were warned, over and over, although many of the warnings pointed to the wrong bogeyman.
We now find ourselves in a Panopticon society, one where our locations and contacts and interactions are constantly monitored, where our data is mined and used for behavior modification.
Everybody's dumping on Facebook this week, with good reason, but I thought I'd take a moment to look at why Facebook succeeded and so many others (Friendster, Myspace, even the mighty Google) failed. Here are eight things they got right, in no particular order.
Time flies when you're busy.
Since my last blog post, I've been through more than a few changes: