Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts

Friday, October 12

Stuggling To Be Relevant: Old Media


Last year, most people said it wouldn’t happen. Now it is happening out of desperation. The people who social media participants and bloggers call “old media” are working as quickly as possible to change everything and become the, um, new new media.

Old media is not struggling; they are fighting for survival.

According to Bloomberg, BusinessWeek is doing everything possible to keep up. The magazine is undergoing a facelift and adding stories on new products and personal finance. It is updating its logo and typefaces.

Advertising pages dropped 20 percent and advertising sales dropped 15 percent. Hard copy circulation is down 1.2 percent. Online, the story is different. Its Internet readership is up to 6.5 million unique visitors a month from 1.7 million a month in 2004. But ad sales online only account for 18 percent of its revenue.

“All traditional business publishers are struggling to find the right formula,” said Peter Kriesky, Kreisky Media Consultancy in New York. “None of them have reached the promised land.''

What if there is no formula?

ABC seems to be asking the same. So while it tends to be the quietest of all networks about its plans for network-Internet convergence, The New York Times says it is the only major network that is using the staff of its evening newscast to produce a separate and distinct daily program for a Web audience as opposed to repackaging (that’s largely true).

The 15-minute Webcasts often feature Charles Gibson in the anchor chair and ABC News correspondent. Bill Blakemore recently finished a special on global warming. I watched their Web segment on the Pennsylvania shooting plot this morning. It’s not perfect (ABC needs a full screen option, among other things), but it is a step in the right direction and more promising than repackage plus option being made by other networks.

Innovation will lead the way.

This is not to say traditional media is not content relevant (they are). They simply lack in platform building, appropriate technology, and understanding active consumers (as opposed to passive readers and viewers). Too many are following old models and formulas.

Time Magazine’s Bill Tancer found one piece of the puzzle: according to the Solutions Research Group, roughly 37 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 12 use their computers while watching television at home.

What's the answer? It seems to me that consumers want integrated print, broadcast, and Internet. And while mobile devices seem to be chugging along, we’re still past prime time for a dual-device entertainment interface that allows people to watch programming on a big screen while participating online with their smaller screened laptops that function like a universal remote. Of course, all this assumes cable companies stop double dipping by charging people twice for essentially the same service.

Sounds like an Apple of an opportunity to me.

As for where print and broadcast seem to be missing the mark online right now, maybe that’s better served up in the weeks ahead. At the moment, I have some old media ads to write. As much as times are changing, some things have not changed.

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Thursday, September 6

Killing Digital Heroes: NBC Universal


“Unfortunately, Amazon Unbox videos and the Amazon Unbox video player are not compatible with Apple/MacIntosh hardware and computer systems.” – Amazon.com

And as Amazon goes, so goes NBC Universal’s ability to put top-selling shows like Heroes and The Office into the hands of iTunes consumers. The losers, undoubtedly, will be consumers in what some are calling one of NBCU’s worst decisions since it entered the digital media arena.

According to Apple, NBCU had reportedly sought more copy-protection controls as well as more pricing flexibility. Apple said that NBCU had asked for “more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode,” which would have resulted in a $4.99 per episode price. The episodes are now listed on Amazon for $1.99.

“With the addition of NBC Universal TV content to Amazon Unbox, fans now have the ultimate convenience for enjoying their favorite shows whenever or wherever they want,” said Jean-Briac Perrette, president of digital distribution for NBCU, neglecting to mention that only Amazon Unbox customers (which exclude Apple portable media owners) will benefit from this convenience.

The post-negotiation public debate being played out between Apple and NBCU reinforces an increased trend toward companies airing disagreements in public, knowing that if the media does not pick it up, then high profile bloggers will.

“What they’re going to have to realize is that out of all the dozens of shows available out there, most people only want the four or five most popular shows,” James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, said (as highlighted on Terry Heaton’s blog). “And if those aren’t there, those consumers are just going to walk away.”

McQuivey is right. As much as I like Amazon, I won’t have a choice when it comes to Unbox video player. Since we work on Macs, play on Macs, and own iPods, NBCU’s decision is clear: if we miss a broadcast, our only option is to watch something else. How’s that for content protection?

Apple seems to be doing its fair share to protect NBCU content as well. Apple decided it will no longer sell new NBC shows, including those that will premiere next month. Fortunately, iTunes has other shows to consider, including those that might distract the fans of Heroes and The Office.

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