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Feb 3 2006
Online News Gets Some Respect
With online newspaper revenues and traffic on the rise, newspapers are increasingly putting more emphasis on their online news production. More specifically we're seeing an overhaul of many newspaper operations to change the mind-set that online is an afterthought. Its importance is gaining steam among users, and newspapers are trying to reflect that importance internally, starting with the news production.

Editor & Publisher takes a look at The Sacramento Bee's "continuous news desk," which was recently created to update its Web site 24 hours a day. The change showed immediate improvements in content and a mind-set change across the organization about how to cover and publish breaking news. An interesting read.

This is similar to changes we're seeing across the industry, such as The New York Times' and USA Today's (among other papers) moves to merge their online and print newsrooms. We expect to see more of this in the future.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  16:12 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
The MyWeb 2.0 of Video
Social search is something that has gained a lot of attention and business activity in the past year, especially from Yahoo! (Flickr, MyWeb, 360). The next logical place for social search is video, and it already has been applied to some degree by sites such as YouTube.

Om Malik reports on a site called Dabble that is taking this concept to the next level. Like Yahoo!�s MyWeb 2.0, and del.icio.us, the service lets users tag and bookmark video clips that will be displayed on personalized pages. From there users can do things such as create video playlists and share with friends.

The benefits of social search include the cost savings and effectiveness of having users do the �heavy lifting� of indexing content. This could apply especially well to video because there will be lots of it (user-generated and long-tail content on which sites like YouTube thrive � kind of like Flickr), and because video content has proved difficult to tag and index using software. Advertiser benefits are also present, as more human participation enables better behavioral targeting.

We�ll further explore social search and its place within the emerging online video space in an upcoming White Paper.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  17:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
Super Bowl Ads Aplenty
With all the media coverage and business activity surrounding online video, and with the Super Bowl coming up, one would expect the annually hyped set of ads to get some broadband play.

PaidContent has a roundup of where you can see the ads on-demand. Now you can actually get up to get a snack during commercial breaks without missing out.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:56 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
Straight From the Source
Following Neal's comments earlier about direct distribution of content that could increasingly render middleman distribution channels unnecessary, CBS has done something similar with its famous "Survivor" reality show. Though CBS is a distribution channel itself, in this case it is cutting out the digital �on-demand� distribution channels that have recently formed for online content such as iTunes and the Google Video store.

Along those lines, NBC has announced that it will do the same thing with its new reality show � an "American Idol"-like music competition called "StarTomorrow" � by offering it exclusively on NBC's site.

This is a young industry, so expect a great deal of experimentation with distribution strategies such as this. PaidContent reports on another online distribution model that is beginning to gain attention, which mirrors that of the offline broadcast world in that it relies on local broadcast affiliates. In this setup, such affiliates would offer downloads and streams of network programming on their Web sites.

In the offline world, local affiliates make sense because they can provide local news and broadcast towers. But online, these things are less relevant. So local affiliate Web sites need to prove a value-add to networks if they are going to use their content and profit from it. Local advertising and increased distribution of content (with a revenue share model) might be the answer.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:44 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
Online Newspaper Growth a Bright Spot
Amid gloomy reports (WSJ sub. req'd) about the health of print newspapers, there's some very good news in online revenues and traffic growth for newspaper sites. According to Nielsen and the NAA:

Both the overall number and percentage of Internet users visiting newspaper Web sites hit new all-time highs in November 2005, according to a new report by Nielsen//NetRatings for the Newspaper Association of America. The data, which takes into account home and work Internet usage, shows that more than 55 million people visited newspaper Web sites in November, a 30 percent increase (42.5 million) from the same period a year ago.

The November visitors also represent more than one third (36 percent) of all active Internet users that month, the most of any month since NAA began tracking online usage in January 2004.

For the year�s fourth quarter, the monthly unique audience averaged more than 53.6 million and 35.2 percent of all active Web users. The time Internet users spend on newspaper sites also continues to rise as users� visits averaged 42 minutes a month during the quarter.


In addition, news content is the No. 1 type of content that users seek out online.

Separately, here's a piece in Ad Age (reg. req'd) about Neil Budde and Yahoo! News and the delicate dance he's doing with his traditional media partners:

�We�re not interested in setting up a full news service with a correspondent in the White House,� said Neil Budde at the Software & Information Industry Association meeting held at New York�s Cipriani restaurant on 42nd Street. Perhaps to calm the jittery nerves of some of the traditional-media pros in the audience, he added, �We want to be your partners.�
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  15:36 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
Google Click-to-Call (PPCall?)
Speaking of "click-to-call," here's a Mercury News piece on Google's "click-to-call" initiative. According to the article, the company is working with Florida-based VoIP Inc.

Click-to-call is not PPCall. There are many companies using click-to-call, which is about connecting calls between individuals and merchants. PPCall is a business model that can be built upon click-to-call. It seems, however, pretty certain that Google's rollout of PPCall is imminent.

Once that happens, or maybe before, we�ll see Yahoo! go live with PPCall and later MSN. Here�s a list of average PPCall prices (from several providers) in several top YP categories:

� Florists ($2.50)
� Lawyers ($10-$30)
� Towing ($8)
� Carpet Cleaning ($8)
� Travel ($8)
� Dentists ($5)
� Mortgage ($35)
� Cosmetic Surgery ($20)
� Auto Glass ($15)

The average click price at the national level at the end of 2005 was $1.43, according to Fathom Online's keyword price index.

Of course this also could be about Google offering calls to consumers and thus creating another revenue stream, a la Vonage or Skype. But that's less likely in the near term.



Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  11:47 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
Coldplay Tickets, NFL Football, MTV
Recently I found myself "stuck" with some extra tickets for a Coldplay concert in Sacramento. So I did what everyone told me to do � put them up on Craigslist. Not a nibble. At the same time I posted the tickets on StubHub. Within a couple of days I had confirmation that someone wanted the tickets. StubHub sent me to a link to print out a FedEx label where upon I marched to the local postal service store, handed them my FedEx label and the tickets. Today, three days after the concert, I got confirmation that the proceeds from my tickets had been deposited into my PayPal account. Ten minutes later I directed PayPal to transfer the money to my checking account. This was a seamless and painless experience. StubHub seems to have figured out all the pieces to the puzzle and I, for one, will be turning there to buy and sell tickets.

Earlier this week the NFL awarded some set of games to its own NFL Network rather than the usual suspects who had bid on them � namely Fox, Comcast, CBS and some new bidders � Verizon in particular. That the NFL chose its own network points to the diminished role the traditional networks and carriers have in a world where the pace of convergence is accelerating. While the NFL Network's reach may be considerably smaller, it is obviously a highly targeted market that is � oh by the way � probably willing to pay to watch NFL games. And besides, go ask Joe's AAA Plumbing if he wants to advertise on the NFL Network � my guess is his answer will be "where do I sign."

MTV recently launched its broadband channel targeted at the 18-24 college crowd called Uber. The site mixes professional and amateur content into a constellation of images and sounds and information that in theory appeal to the audience. The college audience has long been desired by local advertisers � just consider the volume of burritos and pizzas consumed and you get the picture. It will be interesting to see if Uber can find a way to sell local advertising to Betty Joe's Homemade Pizza store while keeping the site sufficiently cool and edgy.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog , Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Neal Polachek at  11:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 2 2006
Yahoo! Local Provides 'Answers'
When Yahoo! Answers launched it was immediately clear that people would be asking for local recommendations and seeking answers to questions with local implications.

Now, consistent with Yahoo!'s strategy to push user-generated content from anywhere within Yahoo! to anywhere else relevant within the network, the company has started to integrate Answers information into Local.

Here's a San Francisco page that shows some of that content integration (middle of the page: "people are asking about.")

You can also find, among other information, local business content in Answers directly. (Scroll lower left for cities.)

Yahoo! is starting to reap the benefits of its multifaceted "social search" strategy and it could pay long-term dividends for the company. User-generated recommendations and referrals are uneven but often of very high quality or at least unique. That's because this is information (online word of mouth) that might not be available through search or otherwise online at all.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  10:04 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]





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