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Ready for another Mirage?

In Analysis on February 14, 2010 at 2:14 pm


Tintin’s friends Dupond in the desert : “What about a good bath? rich idea!”

After the Ipad Introduction, the dust is slowly going to the ground .
Is the Ipad going to provide the advertising/circulation platform tool that Print Medias have been expecting for two decades?

Some are very doubtful. Read this blog :

Richard Tofel : How the iPad Could Kill Newspapers

“Thus, it has been clear, for perhaps three to five years, that any sudden conversion of all print readers to web readers, while greatly reducing costs, would reduce revenues even more, deepening losses at unprofitable papers and throwing those that remain profitable into losses—losses that would likely be impossible to reverse except through huge further expense cuts, especially in newsrooms. The downward spiral in product quality would be accelerated, likely leading to fewer readers and more cuts.

Unfortunately, nothing about the iPad, as wonderful as it looks and feels, holds out the promise of avoiding this problem. It is hard to imagine how ads delivered on an iPad could garner a price three, four, or five times that for today’s online ads. But that is what would be required for a profitable transition.

On the circulation side, things look better, but not better enough. iPod apps, the analogy on which charging for content on an iPad will likely be based, are amazingly inexpensive; many powerful apps are free, and ten dollars a year buys robust services—with Apple keeping a big cut for itself. It may be easier to charge iPad subscribers than it has been on the web, but charging them even a decent fraction of what the Times, for instance, charges print subscribers—more than $600 per year after introductory discounts have expired—seems like a pipe dream.”

Pretty scary isnt’it?

the following comments are very interesting :

“Your essay appears to assume that Newspapers aren’t already in free-fall mode. I’m afraid that the template of advertiser-driven content support that used to work in print media is over. The advertisers are not coming back, and only a few newspapers will survive, and in a much-reduced format. I think Apple, with its innovation, has the potential to help monetize content delivery with fees for subscriptions. That’s about all we can hope.”

another one:

Online advertising is actually the problem. The limitations of human vision and ad size have created a serious problem for advertisers. They can’t say much in a tiny space. If headlines or images or combinations of these are required how do you put them in front of someone? Do you compress them to the size of a matchbook cover? or elongate them into a banner? Do you make them annoying and force people to look at them by getting in their way? (…)
If you control the content, and present advertising in a non annoying way, larger (more like print), add more tools that provide more value to the advertiser, the architecture of how print works will be preserved.

this one too :

“Yeah wait as second while I abandon the 1000’s of free news sources online and fork our $3.45 a week for the NY Times Online … News Agregators baby. That’s what we should be talking about.”

Once again it appears that The Reader (the real King) wants to have access to a multitude of sources, the ability to access transversally to these sources and as long as possible to get that for free.

In that case there is not much choice for Media companies to survive.

a) go united to the Itunes ecosystem on the Ipad (and on the Web?)

b) enable reading about subjects across multiple sources (competitors) simultaniously, transversally (like in Google News or Fast Flip)

c) STOP FREE ACCESS on the Web to force users to go to the paid platform

d) involve readers into a “pay for unlimited access to multiple sources” model like in the TV industry where you access channels “collections” via subscription

That means also that there should be a very very strong position where content would not be free anymore, suddendly, meaning WHITE PAGES ! A sort of strike from the publishers against free content. The total refusal to die for free access journalism.
A real war.

It’s easy to say and not easy to do.

Otherwise another Mirage is very likely. It would be the last one for the publishing industry.

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Geeks are dead. Go to the gym now!

In Analysis on January 30, 2010 at 8:51 am

Geeks are not happy.

They think the Ipad is not good enough, is missing pieces, is not what Apple should do…blablabla

Back in 1984, I remember with extreme precision what the geeks said (geeks were then the type of guys with a white blouse in front of an IBM Mainframe or a CP/M IBM PC AT). They said “This thing- the mouse- is ridiculous”, “a black and white screen with black lettering is insanity”. It’s a toy”, “IT WILL NEVER WORK” etc.. blabla

“Real men do not eat quiche”, real geeks don’t like when they cannot show their technical muscles.

It’s is all about this again. People want to protect their skills to control the machine with some sort of exclusivity over mere mortals, giving them some sort of “I’m superior” state of mind.

So they don’t like at all when something stupidly complicated becoming simple.

Ipad is the perfect start for a new type of computer experience. A computer where the computer is almost totally hidden, invisible, forgetable.

Maybe the first computer as simple as a car. just touch it and it’s ready to go to what you want to do.

Because IS IT REALLY NORMAL after all those decades to still no ne able to start a computer in a second like a car? without seing stuff being initialised and started, withous having to watch procedures that we don’t want to know about? without preferences that we do not want to know about?

Come on ! did you remember when you had to check the Oil level of your car before you started it? you wanted that forever?

The Ipad is the computer for mothers and grandmothers. period.

(read this)

In the near future it will replace everything. PC will become dinosaurs because of the complexity they expose you to.

The time of the stupidly complex personal computer is over.

Women have an advantage over men : they have a purse (to put the Ipad) and they do not play the game of showing your technical musculus.

The time when you could say “Lady, call me and I will come to your home to save your bugged down PC” is OVER, guys.

Women will not need us anymore for the car, for the drilling machine, for the PC.

that’s why the nerds are so bashy. All those “Bill Gates” looking guys that could get some sex apeal from their knowledge of computer tuning. ah ah. Go to the gym now!

This man knows the future of Media (and Google)

In Analysis on December 8, 2009 at 9:12 am

Googled: The End of the World As We Know It

The man is Ken Auletta (New Yorker journalist), watch him on Fora TV. His book is here

Googled: The End of the World As We Know It

Among all the interesting things he says about Google and the Media :

He says that Google has an engineering culture and doesn’t understand publishing.

How can the people (journalists) make a living?

Google is making 2/3 of its revenues from adwords. It’s a lot of money. It is equivalent today to the revenues of the entire magazine industry worldwide. ad it’s growing.

“Multitasking” of the young generation is a matter of concern.

New York Times cannot afford a newsroom of 1200 persons anymore. Google has a selfish interest in journalism for providing search accuracy. But Google has not got answer to the newspaper advertising problem. Advertising online is providing publishers no more than 10% of the revenues it used to generates traditionnally. Because the advertising cannot pay for a ad that is not performing enough. that is where the fundamental problem is and should be solved.

Google wants to preserve good journalism for its business purpose because they need trust. Trust is their main asset.

Google now is entering the news phone business and the business model is different from the web.

Murdoch move shows that he wants Google to pay more money. But creating firewalls to contents is risky because other sources will replace the walled sources and hackers will enter the battle.

With the recession the companies realise that they need two sources of income (ad+ subscription).

Even Marc Anderseen (Ning) is almost willing to charge for his social networks.

97% of google revenues comme from ad. 3% come from a pay search for companies (more accurate search)

Anecdote: at the begining when he became CEO ERic Schmidt found a nice office occupied by an engineer . and then he shared the office with the engineer (instead of take the room for himsel). that created a strong thing inside Google.

Google has the belief that they are in a candystore and that they can buy everything.

but their virtue is that they are long term believers. they invest in unprofitable activities (labs)

danger for google : efficiency of search is not sustainable (too many indexed stuff)

Google worry about expert vertical search AND Google is scared by Facebook potential search capabilities. If you ask your friends about a search (for a cam recorder or restaurant) that is frightening for them.

so they tried to buy twitter.

In 1998 Ken visited Bill Gates. He asked what do you worry about, what is your nightmare?

He said (not Netscape, Oracle or Sun or competitor) “I worry about someone in a garage coming with some new technology that I never heard of and that is really going to bite my business.”

who was in the garage in 1998? Google.

What is different nowday that people think that nothing was most importan ever tha internet?
nothing but the speed of change

internet takeover : 9 years

Facebook after 5 years : 300 millions people.

the world can change overnight > insecurity even at Google.

The book “innovator dilemna” shows people stick to their business

Microsft is facing this dilemna. i’ts tough. It is a nowhumble company. It hopes that Google wil make the same mistakes than them

Google creators had the clarituy to create a culture by a time everybody wanted to create portals

25 millions dollars of investment no revenues free food free massage. and it worked.

they have created a miraculous company

BUT

for Google it’s late to think about peope fears about concentration power, copyright privacy issues

as it’s late for traditionnal media to jump on the internet

As you can see the discussion is really getting hotter everyday…

http://www.kenauletta.com/

About his book, Amazon says :

From Publishers Weekly

Two Googles emerge in this savvy profile of the Internet search octopus. The first is the actual company, with its mixture of business acumen and naïve idealism (Don’t Be Evil is the corporate slogan); its brilliant engineering feats and grad-students-at-play company culture; its geek founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, two billionaires who imbibe their antiestablishment rectitude straight from Burning Man; its pseudo-altruistic quest to offer all the world’s information for free while selling all the world’s advertising at a hefty profit. The second Google is a monstrous metaphor for all the creative destruction that the Internet has wrought on the crumbling titans of old media, who find themselves desperately wondering how they will make money off of news, music, video and books now that people can Google up all these things without paying a dime. The first Google makes for a standard-issue tech-industry grunge-to-riches business story, its main entertainment value being Brin’s and Page’s comical lack of social graces. But New Yorker columnist Auletta (World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies) makes the second Google a starting point for a sharp and probing analysis of the apocalyptic upheavals in the media and entertainment industries. (Nov. 3)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description

A revealing, forward-looking examination of the outsize influence Google has had on the changing media Landscape.There are companies that create waves and those that ride or are drowned by them. As only he can, bestselling author Ken Auletta takes readers for a ride on the Google wave, telling the story of how it formed and crashed into traditional media businesses-from newspapers to books, to television, to movies, to telephones, to advertising, to Microsoft. With unprecedented access to Google’s founders and executives, as well as to those in media who are struggling to keep their heads above water, Auletta reveals how the industry is being disrupted and redefined.

Using Google as a stand-in for the digital revolution, Auletta takes readers inside Google’s closed-door meetings and paints portraits of Google’s notoriously private founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as those who work with-and against-them. In his narrative, Auletta provides the fullest account ever told of Google’s rise, shares the “secret sauce” of Google’s success, and shows why the worlds of “new” and “old” media often communicate as if residents of different planets.

Google engineers start from an assumption that the old ways of doing things can be improved and made more efficient, an approach that has yielded remarkable results- Google will generate about $20 billion in advertising revenues this year, or more than the combined prime-time ad revenues of CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. And with its ownership of YouTube and its mobile phone and other initiatives, Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells Auletta his company is poised to become the world’s first $100 billion media company. Yet there are many obstacles that threaten Google’s future, and opposition from media companies and government regulators may be the least of these. Google faces internal threats, from its burgeoning size to losing focus to hubris. In coming years, Google’s faith in mathematical formulas and in slide rule logic will be tested, just as it has been on Wall Street.

Distilling the knowledge accrued from a career of covering the media, Auletta will offer insights into what we know, and don’t know, about what the future holds for the imperiled industry.

Arianna Huffington is unfair

In Analysis on December 3, 2009 at 11:51 am

It started with a Clash of Titans : Arianna Huffington Vs Matthias Dopfner (Springer)

You have to watch this video. It’s the most important video of the year for the people concerned about Newspaper and magazine Publishing.

Afterwards, on the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington detailed her views about where the Media industry is going. It’s juste amazing : It is here

I’am stuned.

How could Aggregators and search engines makes Billions (Google 30 Billions revenues this year) out of advertising online located next to pro or user generated content, and in the same time Talented Contributers should be paid none, forever? That is a shame.

To Arianna, Traditional Publishers were “asleep at the wheel”, missing the point that “Citizens Journalists” were willing to provide the (more or less) same quality of production for Free. “why someone would find it rewarding to weigh in on the issues — great and small — that interest them. For free. They don’t understand the people who contribute to Wikipedia for free, who maintain their own blogs for free, who Twitter for free, who constantly refresh and update their Facebook page for free, who want to help tell the stories of what is happening in their lives and in their communities… for free.

We cannot disagree more with that. Talent deserve to be rewarded, not only with ego satisfaction of being published for free on highly profitable platforms.

A talented Blogger, Daniel Lyons, author of the Famous “Fake Steve Jobs” blog never made money out of his huge audience.
his words: “My first epiphany occurred in August 2007, when The New York Times ran a story revealing my identity, which until then I’d kept secret. On that day more than 500,000 people hit my site—by far the biggest day I’d ever had—and through Google’s AdSense program I earned about a hundred bucks. Over the course of that entire month, in which my site was visited by 1.5 million people, I earned a whopping total of $1,039.81. Soon after this I struck an advertising deal that paid better wages. But I never made enough to quit my day job. Eventually I shut down—not for financial reasons, but because Steve Jobs appeared to be in poor health. I walked away feeling burned out and weighing 20 pounds more than when I started. I also came away with a sneaking suspicion that while blogs can do many wonderful things, generating huge amounts of money isn’t one of them.”  “(He earned a whopping .0006 cents a click)”…

Sorry Arianna, we don’t take it. Competent and Popular Contributors have been rewarded by Media companies for centuries and this cannot stop to satisfy anyone. Advertising and users have to pay so that talent can be rewarded to the extent that some can make a living out of it, as usual.

I must also say that bashing the traditionnal media companies is really like spitting on your parents faces because The Web People should realise that the Media industry made the Web industry possible. In the last 30 to 40 years, Media companies have created, pushed, financed and guided technical innovation that enabled the web to exist. One exemple : Digital image compression is an area where media companies have struggled for decades before Jpeg became mainstream. Apple itself has received enormous support from the media industry in the nineties when Desktop Publishing and digital video was started here.

You should be proud of your Old media parents instead of shouting against them.

Be fair. Don’t be Evil.

The Veterans

In Analysis on November 22, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Sometimes it’s interesting not to forget where we come from.
Look at these guys. It back in 2007 and it’s something.

the entire serie is here

Do you think they are interested in print?

In Analysis on November 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Those young people want to be noticed by their peers. No more. It’s all about ego and seduction on Social Networks or Lipdub like this one. Period.
I say it, but Harvard says it too.

Any serious publisher should understand that before it’s too late.

Fake Steve Jobs : Why the mainstream media is dying

In Analysis on November 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Afficher l'image en taille réelle

A remarquable article from Dan, the Fake Steve Jobso.

It might be the horrible truth. BUT it might be not.

The large amount of comments under Dan article is very interesting too. Bloggers vs Pros Teams is a worthwile debate.

Personnaly I think that Blogging is good but still too much of individual. A form a Team Blogging could help give blogging the seriousness and legitimacy it lacks most of the time. Checking and correcting and validating is still missing.

Do you know Blogs where posts are seriously copyedited before going to publishing phase?

Why the mainstream media is dying

“And to all those people who go around wringing their hands and saying what are we going to do when the “real newspapers” all die and we have to get our news from Gawker and HuffPo and TechCrunch? Friends, I think we’re going to be just fine.

…

Because time after time, blogs are simply beating the shit out of the newspapers. They’re the ones who still dare to go for the throat, while their counterparts at big newspapers just keep reaching for the shrimp cocktail.

The other truth is, when these papers are dead, they will not be missed. “

What are they doing on Social Networks?

In Analysis on November 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm

tee shirt seduction femme ronde 148x200 tee shirt seduction femme rondeIf you asked yourself what the people look after in Social Networks this article is for you

Harvard : Understanding Users of Social Networks

In fact There are important differences between Networks. On Linkedin, most people are looking for Head Hunters to notice them. But as they do not want their companies to know that they are really willing to be chased, they pretend to socialize and input theirs adress books. The author call this “covers”. Not bad.

On Facebook the answer is amazing : “People just love to look at pictures,” says Piskorski. “That’s the killer app of all online social networks. Seventy percent of all actions are related to viewing pictures or viewing other people’s profiles.”
”Why the popularity of photos? Piskorski hypothesizes that people who post pictures of themselves can show they are having fun and are popular without having to boast.

and the most interesting thing is :”This was a very big surprise: A lot of guys in relationships are looking at women they don’t know,” says Piskorski. “It’s an easy way to see if anyone might be a better match.” Again, online networks act as cover.”

Twitter is also different “Women actually say things, guys give references to other things.”

So what about Monetizing with brands?
”You (brands) should come to the table and say, ‘Here is a product that I have designed for you that is going to make you all better friends.”

Conclusion : You believed Social media was about clever people socializing? No, It’s all about “covered” seduction…

What is Publishing after all?

In Analysis on November 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Publishing has always been a commercial activity with several characteristics:

– ability to pay for creation of quality content by knowledge of complex subjects, investigation, quality of writing and correction cycles

knowldge of technical production tools in house

investment in expensive production tools in house

money to pay very expensive production processes including materials (paper, ink),  factories (printing and binding plants) and delivery to the Distribution Complex Grid

capacity to wait for revenues from a complex distribution process of physical goods

capacity to bear the cost of unsold products

– marketing

On the internet what’s different?

Well : only two things remains :

– ability to pay for creation of quality content by knowledge of complex subjects, investigation, quality of writing and correction cycles

– marketing

everything else has gone!
Everybody can publish!
It can be Crap or Good stuff.
The fact is that Publishing was a an activity restricted to rich companies with high and rare technical skills. A sort of very Private Club. Now it’s open to everybody!
So the BIG QUESTION is : Does Professional Publishing have enough Editorial and Marketing UNIQUE skills to compete against Non Professional Publishers ?
What a big question…


Panic in the Media Industry

In Analysis on November 7, 2009 at 11:44 am

The first time the death of Print was anounced was somewhere in the beginning of the nineties when Apple was working on a tablet project. It was a portable multimedia cdrom player and It never launched.

Now the situation is different. The Music industry is under Apple hands, Magazine Publishers are scared, Newspapers are on the grill, Book Publishers are holding their breaths. The Apple tablet is (finally) coming.

As Nicolas de Tavernost (French TV M6) said last year in the Forum d’Avignon, “after 14 years of Multimedia, the Media industry is in a digital hangover state” (video at 13mn15).

It looks like the Publishing industry has finally learnt how to swim in the Digital water, but now the problem is that the swimming pool is almost empty. Rough times indeed when the advertising model is falling.

What should be done?

– Wait for a “Content tax” to finance content distribution?
– Fight Piracy?
– Promote a Pay per view model?

The customer seems to want a “all you can eat” model where  subscriptions (paid or free) provides unlimited access to unlimited content sources.

That’s what the digital customer got when he bought his MP3 player and filled it of pirated songs.
The total hypocrisy of that stuff was that the marketing of the devices and of the Internet Providers encouraged piracy, at the beginning. They did not explained for a long period that piracy was going to kill artists. Without pirating the device huge memories whould not be necessary, neither the bandwith offered by the ADSL Providers. And so Piracy became sort of fashionable and trendy.

Now times have changed. People are starting to notice that pirating content is harmful not only to distributors and Major companies but also to the entire ecosytem of publishing, including the creators, journalists, authors, illustrators, singers, actors, directors etc…

The Music industry has been horribly late to react with efficiency. The Apple system (device+store) is the only really usable alternative to peer to peer piracy. But it’s seems to be really too late fort he Music industry to recover from the Piracy plus the Apple handover.

So is it going to be the same for print when the ebook tablets devices go mainstream in term of usability, price, performance, marketing package?

First let see what the perspective is :

a) Without sufficent revenues the Print and online Magazines will shrink and starve to death.

It can happen quite rapidly if the magazine advertising market shrinks suddently without a fast recovery.
Gourmet (Conde Nast) disparition is a terrible wake up call for the magazine industry. Yes magazines can shut down before the print is really dead, just because the revenues will not be sufficient to sustain the business and also the distribution infrastructure.

It means that it is very possible that The Magazine Publishing Business partially collapse before a new digital magazine business is ready on tracks (including a reliable business model).

b) Without content the advertisers are not happy because they will lack good media for their brands promotion.

The advertising people start to realise that without strong Magazines they are in trouble. Brands needs Magazine brands. it’s about legitimacy.

c) Without content the Internet providers and the Big portals would be useless.
The digital infrastructure people have for long been very tough with the Content industry. They offered a sort of “subscribe for free food” strategy. They considered that they could promote their business on somebody assets robbery. That was very tough, almost cruel. They knew that the content people were unable to protect themselves against piracy and where obliged to give away their work. So they profited of it.
Music Companies and artists where technologically and structurally unable to fight back against piracy that was promoted buy the Internet frenzy.

Back in 1995 when internet providing started it would have been easy to control the phenomenon. now it is much too late.

Conclusion :

In fact a majority of the players shot their own feet by letting the other guy suffer first.
If Media companies and artists and journalists disapears, the entire value chain is blocked.

Everybody needs each other.
The search for a consistent business model is urgent.
Print Media cannot finance the Digital activities forever. In fact it’s soon going to end.

Perhaps The Medias should lobby and promote their activities and their need to profit to survive. The public should be aware of the danger of loosing journalists seats. The Danger for democracy is enormous.

Free information is not the solution.

watch this interview of Axel Ganz. He is against the Free model (1mn14). He considers that quality has a price.

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