Category: leadership

Without advertising, your media product is toast – and other heretical thoughts

There are many who claim that the business of media advertising is dying, that it is impossible for publishers to compete with Google and Facebook, that subscription revenues are all publishers should rely upon. Let’s unpack these assertions and expose the naiveté behind them. Plus, the latest update of the most important recent developments across the world of media

The Age of the Skim

Back in the days of monopoly distribution, selling the news was a fantastic business. Local media outlets, with captive customers and competitive insulation, enjoyed profit margins as high as 25% or even higher. The internet dismantled their monopoly advantage. Now, offering general news like that is a shitty business. In a world where diversion is just a click or a swipe away, user engagement with general news products is irregular, with short, shallow usage sessions and erratic visit frequency. Smartphones have given birth to the Age of the Skim, which has made the engagement problem even worse. How to build audience by transforming skimmers into engaged customers with a predictable consumption habit is the singular challenge faced by media outlets today. The second challenge? Learning how to sell them, of course.

Plus, the fall 2021 update of the most interesting current developments in media…

My Spring 2021 $0.02 worth…

Everything happening in media right now, including the post-Trump slump in audiences, how CNN got lost, the big revenue challenge of newyorktimes.com, dialing up headlines for more clicks, the Washington Post technology strategy, the rebound in advertising, a confused Congress holds another hearing on social media, and how the newly-independent sovereign writer poses a threat to the companies they used to work for…

Rubbernecking

how the mad pursuit of user engagement forced social media companies to take responsibility for what is published on their platforms – and backed Facebook into a corner

Culture Clash

Predictable profitability is fatal without leadership committed to continuously challenging the assumptions on which it is based. You can’t do that if you don’t know how to build an open-minded and competitive culture

Breaking the stranglehold on the news

Newspapers are dying and digital news companies are struggling because their newsrooms either refuse to listen to the markets they serve — or don’t know how to. In the age of data, they’re flying blind. It’s time for a new generation of news product specialists…

The luckiest guy on the planet

the story behind the bankruptcy of one of America’s largest newspaper companies — and why other newspaper companies are zombies, too

Pravda, the U.S.A. edition

Fox News Channel hosts are brazen in their allegiance to Trump and his agenda. It’s as if they work for Pravda, the mouthpiece of the politburo. But behind their pretense of objectivity, mainstream media is no less biased

Bucking the herd, again

In 2018, digital publishers struggled again to make their advertising sales number. The problem is not the market share of Google and Facebook. The problem is the product, and the way it is sold. Here’s what to do about that…

Why is local news so boring?

There is an art to telling a story. Even a local news story can be rendered in an attractive way. So why isn’t it?

Shakeout?

the lessons in product positioning and advertising sales from the sudden shakeout in digital media

Bite the hand that feeds you

– why traditional media companies must set their digital ventures free

Not Much Has Changed Since I’ve Been Gone. Except for Just One Thing.

Giant digital news networks are rising – will any newspaper company be among them?

Schädenfreude

The elementary mistake that destroyed one of the largest newspaper companies in the country

The challenge of managing agents of change. Or, Justine should know

To create a successful new product, you may not need an Elon Musk, but you do need someone with a strong personality. How do you manage them? How do you insert them effectively into your company?

It’s tough being the boss

Digital First Media and McClatchy, the second and third-largest newspaper holding companies, are going south fast. What happened?

10 slides in 2 minutes

In just 10 slides and 2 minutes we show why newspapers capitulated to digital and what can be learned from it

Tener el martillo sin la una. To have the hammer without the nail.

There’s no Silicon Valley in Europe. Over the pond they take a different approach to technology development. It’s top-down versus […]

The Sayonara Strategy: How Newspapers Will Fade Away

In 2018, more daily newspapers, by now out of cash and ideas, will be published only on Sundays, with news updates on online editions during the rest of the week

Cox, Tribune and a story of self-disruption

In the disruptive digital world, only cannibals survive It’s now fashionable to trot out the Harvard Business School thesis on […]

Digital First Media – the end of the beginning

This is a great time to be in the news business – if you’re not a newspaper. Andreessen Horowitz just […]

Owning Your Own Destruction

Business synergy is a myth – chasing it is fruitless An established company is always tempted to position a new […]

Success Can Be Fatal

Any business leader worried about the future must build a culture that welcomes it For newspapers, the Internet offered one […]

Keeping Your Head Straight

It’s never the technology that’s important. It’s the market and economic forces driving it that matter the most Newspaper companies […]

Hubris Is Blinding

A simple rule of basic management: Under-estimate your own market position and over-estimate the competition Newspaper companies don’t have an […]

It’s What I Do

In any business, operating performance is a function of organizational culture. QED. We’ve all got stories about crazed managers and […]