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Digital ads ain’t about banners and boxes

The web atomizes news, shatters it into its smallest pieces, and forces each and every one of them to pay its own way, to compete in a massive, unregulated, freewheeling marketplace.

Most of our bits can’t. Compete, that is.

The basic economic model of most newspapers is based on bundling — content and audiences. We  bundle disparate content (bridge columns and court reports)  in order to bundle a larger audience (card players and voyeurs) for delivery to advertisers. This is a model that’s worked extremely well for over a hundred years; the incremental costs of adding new content –

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Goodbye advertising, hello circulation!

(Cross posted from ShiftLock, my tech column in the Canadian Newspaper Association’s paper, The Publisher)

Straws in the wind, or a sea change blowing in?

This past quarter at the New York Times (and my own newspaper and many, many others) circulation surpassed advertising as the dominant revenue source for newspaper operations. Advertising revenue for US newspapers showed double digit declines for the 8th consecutive quarter. A brand-new Portuguese national daily newspaper is attracting attention – and readers – with a design philosophy that places readers and their daily needs first. Paid circulation jumped by 50 percent within five

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2007 Canadian online ad revenue jumped by 38 per cent, but newspapers lagged behind

Canadian advertisers are moving more and more money onto the web, with spending continuing to grow by double digits, although the rate of growth is expected to slow this year. Alas, newspapers, while seeing healhy growth in their online revenue, are lagging behind.

From a press release earlier this week from the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB):

2007 Canadian Online Advertising Revenues climbed to just over $1.2 billion for the year — a 38% increase over 2006 actuals. Publisher revenue from Online advertising in Canada has more than quadrupled over the past five years — building from $237

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Forty percent of the Top 50 US newspapers are bleeding red ink, says top CEO

Business Week’s Media Columnist Jon Fine did us all a favour by reproducing in it’s entirety a speech given by newspaper chain CEO Dean Singleton at the World Association of Newsapers’ annual conference, held this year in Sweden. Singleton (whose chain, News Media Group, owns Denver Post, San Jose Mercury etc.) opened his speech with a well-placed kick to the midsection of a prone Lord Black of Crossharbour:

Thank you for once again inviting me to address the World Association of Newspapers. I spoke to you at the 2003 meeting in Dublin. My speech was followed by a presentation

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US experts see sharp decline in Real Estate print advertising

First employment classifieds. Then automotive advertising moved massively online. And now a (the executive summary) of new report out of the US by Borrell Associates suggests real estate advertising dollars are going to jump to the web in a big way.

For newspapers the situation is worse. We project that coming off last year’s high of almost $5.2 billion in print advertising, there will be a 6.8 percent decline this year (2007), almost the same again in 2008, followed by a stunning 16 percent fall in 2009 and 13 percent in 2010. By then, real estate marketers

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Online teaching tools

Here’s an embedded slide show of a presentation I created using Google’s free Documents tools. The tools is very fast and easy, if somewhat less than sophisticated in terms of transitions etc. It has some interesting functionality  – it allows people to join an online conversation about the presentation in real time in a sidebar, a kind of open back channel. Not sure if I’d use that in a classroom situation, but it might be interesting in a distance learning environment. Oh, and did I mention it was free?This presentation was on the difference between print and online advertising.In

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Is free the future of our business?

Another thought-provoking piece (soon to be a book) by Wired editor Chris Anderson examines the future of free, as a defining element of a digital economy.

"It’s now clear that practically everything Web technology touches starts down the path to gratis, at least as far as we consumers are concerned. Storage now joins bandwidth (YouTube: free) and processing power (Google: free) in the race to the bottom. Basic economics tells us that in a competitive market, price falls to the marginal cost. There’s never been a more competitive market than the Internet, and every day the marginal cost

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How to build a successful local news web site (Hint: Don’t start with your newspaper)

In an article written for Harvard’s Nieman Reports special issue on Local News, Richard Anderson, founder of the award-winning Village Soup web sites argues that most newspapers get it all wrong when they go on the web because they think of the site as a performance, a stage show, while his "community host" model combines that "show" with something like a trade show floor where everyone can gather to share ideas, browse and buy. Here’s Richard:

The conventional community newspaper approach to going online is analogous to an event production; just as a star performs on stage, reporters

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Death of the Subscription model?

Is the news that even the Wall St. Journal will be dropping its walled garden approach to its news in the hopes of generating more revenue via advertising the final death knell to the paid subscription model for newspapers online?Don’t tell The Globe and Mail that. Their confusing array of subscription models seems specifically designed to frustrate and trip up readers. But for most of the English-speaking newspaper world, the walls have tumbled, or are crumbling rapidly.The Washigton Post (which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing it’s free web site) has a useful piece on the shift.

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New ways of selling ads stress the social side of the web

Yeah, yeah, we all know newspaper classifieds are under direct attack from sites like Craigslist and Kijiji and even Facebook’s Marketplace, but the reality is that classified ads are such a clear winner in the race to monetize the web (there, I said it, now I promise not to use the term for the rest of the year) that many, many people are trying to innovate in that space, trying to come up with the next ebay or …. well, Craigslist.What many of these innovators have in common is their efforts to harness the power

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