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More Great Reading - for Free

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    A follow up to my solution and problem thread from earlier. Here's another one.


    The Post launched its long series on Chandra Levy yesterday. First two parts are very good and I'm sure the whole thing will be as well. I'll read it all - for free.

    How tough would it be to tease this and charge for it? I'd pony up a chunk to read the rest online.
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Ditto. You think 100,000 people, maybe more, would pony up a buck to read this? That's real money for beancounters who think they're saving real money by rationing paperclips.
  3. I'm excited for tomorrow's. Great great.
  4. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    I always hated sentences like "After government intern Chandra Levy goes missing ..." Somebody doesn't GO missing.
  5. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    ondeadline, you are absolutely right. People go fishing, not missing. Whatever happened to "Levy disappeared ..."?
  6. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    It's not being given away for "free." It's should be driving clicks and ad revenue online. Much of that dollar that goes to the print edition is eaten up by expenses not associated with the online department:

    Delivery costs
    Printing press overhead - electricity and repairs
    Salaries for the printers
    Designers for news
    People to place the ads on the pages

    Compare that to the expenses associated with an online department:

    Fewer designers
    Automated system for ad placement which requires much less man hours

    The online environment has much lower expenses and with an aggressive advertising and marketing department will exceed the revenue generated by the print edition. I've worked for both models. I was shocked how lazy and mismanaged the newspaper advertising department was and how aggressive and creative the online advertising department was for the website. The Chandra Levy story may be "free" to read but every click is generating revenue.
  7. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    So why is all this revenue costing so many jobs? Not trying to be snarky. I really want to know.
    Ad revenue is falling badly, jobs are going away. The two are related, so we're told.
    Are people simply not reading online either?
  8. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    I actually think the absolute dumbness thing that a media company can do is cut content producing jobs. You can't expect ad revenue from clicks in an online environment without being extremely aggressive in the marketing of your content and producing a ton of content.

    Because people can selectively choose any piece of content and jump directly to it, you can't rely solely on your brand name and expect people to come to your front page every day. Newspaper sites aren't the everyday homepage for enough people for front page promotion alone to drive clicks. If you check stats for a newspaper site on any given day, I wouldn't be surprised if a singular story often had more views than the homepage. People just don't log onto a news homepage every and read what the editors tell them is important. They get linked by a blog or a major portal like Drudge or Digg or Fark and drive traffic directly to a story. (Just ask any small time newspaper what happens when you get a female teacher/high school boy sex story)

    You need to have aggressive marketers pushing stories to portals to generate clicks. Once the reader is on the site for a specific story, you need to have a links to similar stories or other features in many places around the story in order to drive traffic to the next story.

    I'd argue that in this new media environment, the person who decides what stories go on the front page are far less important than the person who can spot a story that will generate lots of interest and knows where to go to market that story to generate more clicks. As long as newspaper rely on a "if we put it there, people will find it" idea to story promotion, they aren't going to see the ad revenue.

    When I worked for a website, I was constantly amazed at how stories that I thought were wonderfully written and creative got squat for clicks (less than 1000) while something I just threw together went nuts and could top 50,000 clicks in one day just because a few blogs linked to it.
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Kidding. Kidding.

    I don't argue your point. I've just always heard that Internet readership was harder to quantify and therefore harder to price and to sell. And, with circulations dropping, print ads aren't bringing in what they did before.
  10. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    Online readership is very easy to quantify - it's all about page views. SI.com can tell you exactly how many times someone loaded King's MMQ. And how many people went to page 2, 3, 4, whatever.

    But it is very hard to predict. Online advertisers won't accept - give us $50,000 and you will be on MMQ on Monday. You will get 200,000 clicks. Instead the advertiser pays 50,000 for 400,000 clicks for being placed on SI.com on Monday. It can specify where it wants to be - not NHL stories, prefer NFL, etc. If it gets 400,000 clicks by noon, the ad comes down and another ad slides into its place. If it takes 3 days to get 400,000 clicks, then the ad stays up for three days. Advertisers get exactly what they pay for - no more no less. The money is harder to predict and forecast and requires good content at all times to reach it.

    Now, not all advertising models work this way but they did where I worked and the ad guys who I worked with said this was the model at other places where they worked as well.
  11. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    With something like Omniture, it is very easy to track. I'm 99% sure the Washington Post uses Omniture. Most big sites do. Tells you page view, visits, unique visits, time spent on page (another big ad metric nowadays), page before, page after, etc.
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