from the past to the future
Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour for nearly 10 years, retired at the end of 2022. Many are sad to see her go. Her on-air personality was warm and earnest, and she presented her liberal perspective softly. But throughout her tenure, NewsHour viewership remained stuck at around a million households, this during an historic epoch of high news consumption. Nor did the program’s digital audience grow much at all. The NewsHour as currently positioned could be generated by Artificial Intelligence – and nobody would notice. You don’t believe me? Read this! Plus, the usual update on the most interesting developments in media since we were last together
Living in LaLa Land
The herd is almost always wrong. It seeks safety in numbers because it is lazy, and terrified of an original idea. Independence could get you killed. That’s why conventional thinking can cripple an established business. This examination of the editorial process inside news companies is a call for change based on new product and market thinking. Plus, the latest update on new 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…
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…
How well do you know your market?
The content management system is important. But the customer management system is critical
Hey, there, millennial media person! Do you know what Customer Lifetime Value is and why it’s so important?
Putting Humpty Dumpty together again
How to unpack the newspaper content bundle and reconstitute it as a local network of vertical news products. If newspapers don’t do this, someone else will
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…
Between a rock and a hard place
Traditional news monopolies had no incentive to invest in the art and science of creating user demand. So when the Internet arrived, users grabbed the chance to go to more interesting places. Can they be persuaded to come back?
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?
the lessons in product positioning and advertising sales from the sudden shakeout in digital media