Here are Bill Densmore's contemporaneous notes of today's video stream:
FILE NOTES OF TOM ROSENSTEIL, MARK JURKOWITZ AND MIKE FANCHER.
Tom Rosenstiel: The Wired Magazine utopian view. The mass market at the front end of the tail, where big media was would fragment. But you would be able to reaggregate a mass market. “Well that’s one thing that hasn’t happened. What happened online is people migrated from legacy platforms to the same brands online and you had many organizations that actually saw their audience grow for the first time.” NYTimes has 20 million to 50 million unique visitors to its website every month. “The NYTimes audience is substantially bigger than it has ever been and maybe by a factor of two or three” . . . “that was one unintended, or unexpected consequence, when people choose, they choose familiar brands.”
Advertisers didn’t migrate. “The web turned out to be not a good platform for traditional advertising and I think there are three big reasons for this:”
n Advertisers no longer need the media to reach their audience – Craig’s List is example. More than 75 percent of classified advertising that was in newspapers in the year 2000 has gone – vanished. That was about 40% of newspaper revenue and the most profitable.
n Scarcity – no limition on the number of websites, so the amount of money you can charge for a website ad is small and it is decreasing. The CPMs for local display advertising has dropped by 15-20 pecent. There’s little you can do about that problem of scarcity if you are selling generic ads that are not personalized or customized.
n The interface, the way people connect online is antithetical to the old form of advertising. It is a lean-forward experience. When you find through search the estory or content you are looking for, and you click on it, thekind of advertising associated with news – banner and pop-up – the impulse is this is not helping me find the content that I have finally arrived at. “We’ve got lots of research that suggests people don’t like pop-ups ….. they are not user friendly.” Old legacy media was more of a lean-back media experience. When people turn the page and see an ad, it is another form of content, they look at it and they appreciate it.
People are doing two things on tablet that they are not doing on computer. Tend to go via apps and bookmarks and are not tending to search as much. On tablets and to some extent on smart phones people are reading long-form.
FANCHER: With the opportunities to be seized will the culture of news organizations allow those opportunities to be seized. Neither new media nor old media are making money in this new environment. PEJ surveyed newspapers of all sizes about their business modesl and Jurkowitz is providing a summary of what they found.
JURKOWITZ: PEJ’s plan was to enlist a number of newspaper companies to provide proprietary and confidential revenue data about digital revenue that would provide an empirical grounding for what was happening. For much of 2011, he visited seven companies to get their cooperation. “Those were long meetings,” he said. People talked candidly about the institutional dynamics of trying to make the transformation. “This is the idea I think we need, but I’m having a hard time selling it internally,” he says he was told. People in positions of authority weren’t necessarily communicating.
“We then received from about 40 newspapers this proprietary digital revenue data,” he says. They focused on the adveritisng-revenue side (rather than online subscriptions.) “The numbers were pretty grim,” he said. For every dollar gained digital seven was being lost in print. Now it is to 1:10. Most newspapers were still selling most of what they were selling digitally, were the old legacy products – classifieds and banners. Mobile was being sold small and the sales staffs weren’t geared up to sell them.
They then went back and interviewed executives at six originally companies and seven more, a total of about 25% of the nation’s circulation. They asked: “Name the single biggest obstacle your company has toward making a transition to a new digital model.”
Ten of the 13 described a culture war. “A still seething tension internally between those pushing for a more digital future and, for want of a better world, people still steeped in the legacy culture,” he said. In most cases the problem was on the business side, among the sales staff, not in the newsroom. This internal battle was not resolved, Jurkowitz was told. That’s when they seized on that as a critical find of their report.