Category Archives: Media business model

The local media company of the future: Selling what, and selling how?

What does the local media company of the future look like?

At this point, the answer is pretty clear. There will be two kinds of media companies:

  • Those that continue to focus on their traditional media channels — newspaper, broadcast television channel, radio station(s) — and therefore shrink along with the advertising spending on those media.
  • Those that morph into local media houses that can connect any advertiser with any audience, through platforms, technologies and channels they own or don’t, to win dollars that are moving into digital advertising and marketing.

Read the rest of this entry

After media disruption: ‘The Age of Knowing Everything’

Let’s look beyond the waves of media disruption we’re experiencing these days. Let’s try to imagine the end state, when media disruption gets done.

Wait … will it ever get done? Yes, I think so — at the time when virtually everyone on the planet, during every waking moment, has instant access at will to virtually the entire body of human knowledge. (Maybe in sleeping moments, too.) Read the rest of this entry

Media business model: Are you running the Scotch Tape store?

If you’re old enough to remember Saturday Night Live in its glory days, maybe you remember the hilarious sketches set in the Scotch Tape store at the old mall.

The bit was centered on, and got its laughs from, a ridiculously narrow business model centered on a single product, sold in a retail location that was no longer the cool place to be. (I’d love to link to a clip here, but I couldn’t find one. NBC must be closely guarding its copyright.)

Those sketches came to mind this week as I was trying to think of a metaphor for the newspaper business and its relentless concentration on news. News continues to be our industry’s central purpose and the heart of its business model for attracting audiences.

I laughed out loud when it occurred to me that we might be well on the way to becoming the Scotch Tape store, or “Scotch Boutique,” as they called it. But the idea is as painful as it is funny. Read the rest of this entry

Native advertising — what is it, and why now

“I want my ad to go right here,” Jerry Coolman said. He pointed at the middle two columns at the top of the newspaper page — right in the middle of an article. He wanted his ad for lawn tractors to hit readers smack between the eyes.

“Jerry, we can’t do that,” I said. “That’s the reader’s space — we can’t plunk an ad down in the middle of it.”

That was 1983. Now, 30 years later, it turns out we can plunk an ad down in the reader’s space. It’s being done more and more, and it’s being called by a new name: “native advertising.” Read the rest of this entry

How Morris is reversing the biggest disruption: Loss of advertising accounts

About five years ago, on a weekend, Derek May — then publisher of the St. Augustine (FL) Record — was doing what many publishers were doing at the time: Trying to figure out the steep decline in advertising revenue he was seeing in his unit’s financials.

What was the main cause of the decline? The recession was the driver, of course, but was it mainly hitting certain categories of advertising? Certain types of advertisers? Big advertisers? Small advertisers? Read the rest of this entry

To win in mobile: It’s a situation, not a news channel

To someone who only has a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the newspaper industry, the hammer we have is news. And right now, the new nail is mobile.

With mobile usage exploding, our industry is determined to pound that nail with news as hard and fast as we can. It looks like a must-do, a matter of survival, and — we hope — a new opportunity to reach people, sell advertising and make money. But mobile is not the nail we think it is. Read the rest of this entry

Recruitment can be a land of opportunity

Say the word “recruitment” and most newspaper executives groan. Over the last seven or eight years, our revenue in this space has shrunk to a fraction of its former size, and it’s still slipping.

At Morris Publishing Group, we’ve been looking hard at this vertical for several months. We’ve been trying to figure out two things: How can we do better at what’s left of our existing business, and how can we create new wins in this space?

We’re beginning to see path ahead, so it’s a good time to share some of what we’ve learned. Read the rest of this entry

Media disruption: Bad for us, wonderful for humanity

Disruption of the mass media is a big subject. But here’s an even bigger one: The incredible amount of good this same disruption is bringing to humanity worldwide.

So let’s forget about the mass media for a few minutes. Let’s take a look at the massive and mostly positive impact this digital revolution is having and will continue to have on humanity. Read the rest of this entry

Why the definition of news must change in the digital age

Nothing is more deeply ingrained in the newspaper industry than the definition of news. It’s the foundation of what we do, the “product” we use to attract and serve consumer audiences, and the platform on which we sell most of our advertising.

Now the definition desperately needs fundamental change, as I’ll document below. If we hope to be relevant and engaging to the people in our markets, we need to start over, beginning with a fresh answer to the question, “What is news?” Read the rest of this entry

Four huge takeaways from Borrell’s “The Future of Legacy Media”

When your industry is undergoing massive disruption, getting a glimpse of the future is priceless. The more you know about where things are going, the smarter you can be about what to do right now.

For that reason, the report released earlier this month by Borrell Associates — “The Future of Legacy Media” — should be required reading for everyone responsible for the health and sustainability of any legacy media business in the United States and Canada. Read the rest of this entry