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Advertising is New Media’s Achilles heel

Kellogg Co. breakfast cereals are arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Kellogg Co. is scheduled to report 2014 fourth quarter earnings on Feb. 12. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kellogg Co. breakfast cereals Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Make no mistake New Media is going up against the establishment and it’s success with the public is tempered by its vulnerability to attacks on its advertising revenue. Breitbart News is the new News sheriff in town and is expanding rapidly but the establishment who preferred the old News sheriff still have a few bullets in their arsenal. If they can’t beat the new News by being better they will instead try to beat it by crippling it economically. It is a bit like the ageing Sheriff with arthritis trying to get rid of his rival not in a gun fight but by talking the local store into refusing to sell him any supplies for his ranch. He might be the better gunslinger but how long can he last without any supplies?

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Do you want an ad-free Whaleoil? Now you can

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A few months ago we asked you if some of you would pay to have Whaleoil ad-free.

This is, of course, a dilemma for us because ads are what pays the bills. But, we are realistic too and know that readers don’t like them and so deploy ad blocker software to get around it. That, however, affects our bottom line and makes us vulnerable to Social Justice Bullies who seek to damage our revenue in order to try to shut us down.

The management team at Whaleoil got together and tried to find a way forward that would achieve several goals. The first was to remove ads for those who wanted it. We are launching that today.

Another driver is to continue to build the community we have here but to provide additional, premium commentary and information to loyal subscribers and donors over and above what you can get for free.

No one should have to work for free, and neither should we. But we also need to be protected from social justice bullies who seek to destroy the community we have built here.

From today you can join that community and be the first to see what we have planned in the future.   Read more »

NZME admits their business model is failing

Adhub is a business unit of NZME. They run ads across their network and are utterly ineffective from personal experience.

Back in 2014 they approached me to do my ads. They, like everyone in the industry promised me the earth. I certainly had the traffic that advertisers would want.

After 6 months however, I had to give them the flick. They paid me much less than Google ads ever have.

It turned out however that the lack of bookings was politically motivated and they had sneakily removed me from their pitch documents and website, at the same time adding The Standard, The Daily blog and Scoop Media. They tried to explain it away blaming the agencies for the lack of bookings.

So colour me surprised when I received this email via the tipline begging for confidentiality while they try and save the business. Given their lack of honesty towards me in the past, I can’t really see myself honouring their request:   Read more »

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L is for Lego L is for Liberal

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Lego has stopped advertising with the newspaper the Daily Mail because of a campaign demanding that companies  ‘Stop Funding Hate’

Hate in their world view is synonymous with any newspaper that has a conservative bias. One of the headlines from the Daily Mail being used to justify the Hate label is this one.

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The Daily Mail front page prompted widespread outrage (Daily Mail)

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Told you: Calls for plain packaging on beer now

Plain Packaging for beer: Is this our future?

Plain Packaging for beer: Is this our future?

I warned everybody, and have been doing so for years, that if we allow plain packaging for products like tobacco then it wouldn’t be long before calls for plain packing came for other products, most notably alcohol and sugar.

Well, no one listened to me. Commenters on this blog also, rather po-facedly, stated that they didn’t mind on tobacco. Now there are calls for plain packaging of alcohol.

Alcohol watchdogs are concerned beer branding featuring cute cartoons or resembling softdrinks, may be too appealing to minors.

The rise of the craft beer market has resulted in a new wave of creative, colourful, and often cartoonish labels as alcohol producers compete for consumers’ attention.

Auckland craft brewery Behemoth Brewing Company, has “brave bikkie brown ale” featuring a cartoon monster eating a cookie on its bottles.

A mouse riding a dog appears on Scallywag rich amber ale from Auckland craft brewery Schipper’s Beer, while a badger wearing a jetpack stars on its Boffin bitter.

Even the Mac’s beer range, owned by major brewer Lion, features labels with drawings of wolves, a shark fin and an Indian Pale Ale called “birthday suit” with a grizzly beer holding a hop bud. And two months ago, the darling of the New Zealand craft beer scene, Garage Project, released a “Lola cheery cola beer” in a can with a striking resemblance to Coca-Cola.

But while this type of branding can be fun and exciting for adults, it can spell confusion for youngsters, said Rebecca Williams, director of the Alcohol Healthwatch group.

She said cartoons on alcohol labelling sent a message to minors that alcohol consumption should not be taken seriously, blurring the reality that it contained a toxin.

“Look at the colours of them – they’re cute, they’re quirky,” said Williams.

When children liked a brand or could relate to it, it translated into early alcohol consumption, she said.

“I think it’s about time somebody was challenged.”

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Ad in Canada offering protection to threatened Muslim women is banned

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Freedom of expression exists in Canada but only for Muslims. This is not the first time that advertisers have refused to run ads that they consider anti-Islamic but have been happy to run ads offensive to non-Muslims. In this latest case, the ad’s purpose was to help Muslim women. Mentioning the reality of honour killing, however, is not allowed because the ad company thinks that the truth is offensive.

In a court hearing scheduled to begin in September, the City of Edmonton will have to justify its silencing of a non-profit group that wants to promote gender equality and protect Canadian women and girls from honour killings.

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APN to divest of NZME; a matter of cashing up before it keels over

This is what happens when the accountant has been put in charge and you’ve lost the trust and confidence of your customers.

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs will spend the next 10 days meeting and greeting current and potential investors after APN News & Media shareholders overwhelmingly backed plans to carve out the New Zealand unit.

The Auckland-based publisher and radio network operator will operate as a standalone listed company after the plan to demerge NZME got 99.98 percent backing at Thursday’s special meeting in Sydney.

The transaction will see a one-for-seven share consolidation in the Australian company, then a distribution of NZME shares to those investors on a one-for-one basis. The deal then frees up APN to focus on Australian radio and outside advertising business, while NZME can pursue its merger with rival Fairfax New Zealand.

Boggs told BusinessDesk he’s about to hit the road to meet current and potential shareholders in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne over the next seven to 10 days to engage and get feedback from shareholders on their views of NZME and where they think the media group should be heading.

“We now can control our own decision making around capital investment and funding,” Boggs said.

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That didn’t take long; London’s Mayor censors women’s bodies

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I am sure that this has nothing to do with Islam’s attitudes towards women and everything to do with feminism.

London’s first ever Muslim Mayor is set to ban images of ‘unrealistic’ scantily clad women from ads on public transport, which could see the city adopt some of the most censorious policies in the Western world.

Sadiq Khan argued for the move by appropriating the language of feminism, claiming that alluring images of beautiful women could make them “ashamed of their bodies”.

Ironically, the policy is likely to please both the misogynistic Islamist and prudish, third wave feminist, whose ends appear increasingly similar.

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Print is dead

You know print is dead when politicians stop advertising their campaigns in it.

It’s been said a number of times from “Ghostbusters” in 1984 to a more recent Onion article where there was an obituary under the headline “Print, Dead At 1803.” Now, it’s true — at least for 95 percent of campaigns. Print is, in fact, dead.

Despite its passing, most campaigns from Senate through state House still spend a disproportionate amount of time strategizing about how to deal with newspaper editors and reporters. We would also argue that “earned media” campaign strategy focusing on all media outlets is about to be dead, too.

Before you start ticking off the exceptions, the main point we would submit is that campaigns and candidates have to reassess how much time they put into earned media strategy, versus social media strategy, versus fundraising versus direct-voter contact. We would argue in most races that aren’t for president, almost none of the candidate’s time should be spent dealing with the media.    Read more »

Fairfax woes continue as results show 12% drop in ad revenue

The online world, something existing media don’t understand, is killing mainstream media as sure as low dose strychnine kills a granny.

NBR reports on the slow demise of Fairfax:

Fairfax Media’s New Zealand division posted a 12% drop in first-half earnings as the publisher of stuff.co.nz and the Dominion Post, Press and Sunday-Star Times newspapers said gains in its online revenue didn’t offset the ongoing advertising decline in its traditional print publications.

Earnings before interest, tax, and depreciation fell to $30.3 million in the six months ended December 27, from $34.4 million a year earlier, the Sydney-based company said in a statement. Sales from its New Zealand business were down 7.4% to $181.4 million, with the dominant advertising revenue falling 9.2% to $119.8 million.

Advertising revenue was impacted by weak market conditions in New Zealand, Fairfax said in slides accompanying its earnings presentation. Supermarket, retail and employment advertising declines were offset by strong performance in real estate and health, it said.

The New Zealand division increased digital revenue 43% without disclosing any detail. It also said its flagship stuff.co.nz website retained its top spot among domestic websites, lifting its unique audience 4.6% to 1.8 million in January from the same month a year earlier, ahead of online auction site Trade Me, a former Fairfax subsidiary, which posted a 9.4% decline to 1.7 million. Rival news service nzherald.co.nz, owned by APN News & Media, increased its audience 22% to 1.5 million.

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