Monday, December 04, 2006


Newspapers, Digital Future, Brands as Destination Sites, and more

Excellent article from Slate about the state of newspapers, and the industry's predictions about itself for the last 30 years
...print editions of newspapers, which saw the endgame coming 30 years ago and did everything they could to forestall it, need to figure out what they're best at and double down in those realms. To give one example, if newspapers think they're in the editorial business, the slimming of the business pages at most dailies indicates that the standard business section is doomed and the copy should be folded into the rest of the paper to make room for a section the masses really want to read. Sports sections that refuse to retool themselves as the smart supplement to ESPN can kiss their pages goodbye.

Newspapers have neglected local news for quite a while, and have been scooped by non-dailies. The Internet does not "do local" very well, and newspapers have realized that this is an area where they can leverage some expertise. Gannett is experimenting with "hyper-local" news.

The USC-Annenberg Digital Future Project has just released their latest report, highlighted in a press release.
“More than a decade after the portals of the Worldwide Web opened to the public, we are now witnessing the true emergence of the Internet as the powerful personal and social phenomenon we knew it would become,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future. “The Internet has been a source of entertainment, information, and communication since the Web became available to the American public in 1994,” said Cole. “However, we are now beginning to measure real growth and discover new directions for the Internet as a comprehensive tool that Americans are using to touch the world.”
What's really interesting is that Cole is giving presentations titled: "Just an Essential Part of Everyday Life." And I still run into Internet deniers...

P&G's marketing mix is a subject of a Cincinnati Enquirer article
It's all part of the gradual transformation of the advertising industry from one dependent on television commercials and print ads to electronic, promotional and word-of-mouth marketing campaigns that try to catch you at the moment you're making your purchase decision. Companies and consumers alike are increasingly relying less on mass media and more on targeted messages that meet the industry mantra of "relevance."...The transformation has spread well beyond P&G. In a region known for its branding companies - in part because of P&G's presence and spinoff business here - every marketer, every media buyer and every advertising agency is trying to plot its impact. Companies increasingly are putting more messages in more places in your daily life, whether it's your mobile phone or the soccer field where your child plays on Saturday morning.
The article includes a link to a video that makes one think: gosh, i certainly miss those people teaching the world to sing about the real thing... can't we get big budget commercials back again?

Brand sites are getting heavy Internet traffic. P&G and Unilever get about 9 million unique visitors monthly.
The combined monthly traffic of unique visitors to the P&G and Unilever websites is more than 9 million, according to ComScore Media Metrix. And part of what's driving the traffic is old-fashioned web display advertising and e-mail pushes. Corporate and brand websites -- once derided as "brochureware" in a digital marketing world that quickly moved to sexier applications -- are getting a rehabilitation of sorts as their traffic numbers vie with those of many consumer sites in the web's long tail. Such package-goods marketers as Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever don't sell many products directly online. Their low-cost, low-involvement brands tend not to generate much search. Yet the websites of P&G and Unilever now reach nearly 6 million and 3 million unique visitors, respectively, in the U.S. each month, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

WSJ article about media growth in 2007 that summarizes data from GroupM, Zenith, and Merrill Lynch
Merrill and GroupM see a slight cooling of online advertising's red-hot growth next year, though it will retain double-digit percentage rates that would be the envy of older media. Zenith, however, sees online ad-spending growth rising to 29% from 25% this year, fueled by online video advertising, which has taken off this year. Merrill notes that the pace of online video advertising and ads on popular social-networking sites could affect its prediction.

Washington Post has article about the blending of TV and Internet

Barron's economist Gene Epstein has an excellent column about why the ISM report of Friday is not dire, and also takes real aim at CNN's Lou Dobbs for what is basically journalistic malpractice. I used to really like Lou Dobbs until about 15 or so years ago, and his sloppy work is just a real turn-off now. Epstein disected his work in Econospinning and this column just updates some of the latest problems with Dobbs-isms.

Because Microsoft Word knows that I have been saying bad things about it, it decided to crash at an inopportune time. I didn't remember whether I had saved after entering a few paragraphs of text, so I wanted to make sure that I didn't lose what I had written. I obviously could not print it out. Luckily the computer had not locked up, so I hit the PrtScn (print screen) key to save an image of my screen and then pasted it into Microsoft Paint and saved the image as a bitmap file. When I restarted Word, I realized I was missing only two paragraphs. I opened the bitmap in Paint, grabbed those two paragraphs, and saved them as a separate .BMP. I then ran my OCR software on the image, and I had text back with some minor corrections to be made. And that was my big entertainment for the weekend.

Novell and MSFT made a deal re: Novell's SuSE Linux product that has the open source community in an uproar. This CNet article has an interesting perspective on it.

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