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Why is Whaleoil soaring and the MSM just holding on? See if you can work it out

…Publishers and editors have only themselves to blame for failing to connect with the Millennial generation that they – and most of their advertisers – covet the most.

The inability of newspapers to resonate with digital natives has left them with a daunting demographic challenge. Two-thirds of the audience at the typical newspaper is composed of people over the age of 55, according to Greg Harmon of Borrell Associates. “The newspaper audience ages another year every year,” he adds. “Everyone’s hair ought to be on fire.”

As the newspaper audience grays, the readers that newspapers – and most of their advertisers – would like to have are, instead, busily racking up page views [elsewhere].

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Missouri reported that only 29% of newspaper publishers conducted focus groups prior to putting paywalls around the digital products that most profess to be the future of their franchises.

Instead of talking with their intended consumers, fully 85% of respondents to the survey said they asked other publishers what they thought about erecting barriers around the content that they had been freely providing for the better part of two decades.

While paywalls boosted revenues at most newspapers because they were accompanied by stiff increases in print subscription rates, the tactic gave the growing population of digital natives – and non-readers of every other age – the best reason yet for not engaging with newspapers.

Of course, newspapers were losing Millenials well before they started feverishly erecting paywalls in the last few years. But what if publishers and editors had begun studying the needs and attitudes of the emerging generation from the early days of the Millenium? Could the outcomes have been more positive?

In the interests of tuning into the thinking of those elusive twenty- and thirty-somethings, a newspaper client recently brought a panel of them to a strategy session. Here is what we learned: Read more »

Is Native Advertising destroying journalism?

Andrew Sullivan seems to think that native advertising most certainly is destroying journalism.

He comments on Ezra Klein’s Vox project raising $110 million over recent years and their stated business plans.

If the new media brands that have emerged over the last couple of years were described (accurately) as new advertising agencies, the stories might not have had as much traction (or contained as much hope for the future of journalism). But that, it is quite clear, is what most of these new entities are. Vox has now dropped any pretensions that it is not becoming an ad agency, creating “articles” that perpetuate and distribute the marketing strategies of major corporations.

The logic of this, from a business standpoint, is so powerful almost no one can resist it. Display or banner advertising is sinking into an after-thought, leaving journalism with a huge revenue crisis – especially when you have no subscription income from readers. And when you’re drowning in venture capital, the pressure to to find a way to pay it back eventually must, even now, be crushing. There’s no other explanation for the fullscale surrender of journalism to what would, only five years ago, have been universally understood as blatant corruption.

What always amazes me about the interviews with the various media professionals involved is their use of the English language. It’s close to impenetrable to anyone outside the industry – e.g. “publishers have to get better with understanding the product side of native” – which, of course, helps to disguise the wholesale surrender of journalism to public relations. What also amazes me is how silent the actual editors of these sites are on the core, and once-deemed-unethical, foundation of their entire business. So we’re unlikely to hear Ezra explain to his liberal readers how he’s now engaged in the corporate propaganda business. But if you scan the interview with Vox‘s new fake article guru, Lindsay Nelson, some truths slip out. To wit:

You’re going to need to be great storytellers and create things that help advertisers with the goals that they have for that quarter 
 We’re trying to become a consulting partner, where we help brands and guide them to develop a content marketing strategy that is 12-months long 
 If there’s something in the news that a brand wants to be close to you can get them up and running with the same type of polish that they would expect from advertising that takes much longer.

So even breaking news may well be advertising in the near future. And good luck telling the difference.

Read more »

Herald busted over native advertising

Have you read The NZ Herald and their 12 questions series?

What about the constant featuring of their Brand insights and the strange articles about people attending the University of Auckland MBA course?

Well wonder no more.

It is actually undisclosed paid advertising masquerading as journalism and boy are they happy about the results.

After my posts of yesterday this turned up on the tipline.

To: [REDACTED]
Subject: UABS and NZ Herald Partnership

Colleagues

As many of you will be aware, the Business School has been involved in running a marketing partnership with the New Zealand Herald over the past few months which we drove through the Graduate School of Management.  The New Zealand Herald took our programme into their Brand Insights initiative  around 2 months ago and the analytics have without doubt proven the campaign to be a success. The partnership delivered a mix of contributed articles from academics, a weekly blog from one of our current MBA students Sarah Stuart (well known NZ journalist, ex Deputy Editor of the Herald on Sunday and Editor of Woman’s weekly as well as the face of the Herald’s 12 questions series) and a video series using Sarah’s well known 12 questions format. We were also able to run advertising  for specific events for the MBA programme or promote Executive Education courses as part of the campaign page. The partnership ran over 6 months (we are finalising our last two videos at this time featuring Professor Kaj Storbacka and Dr Lester Levy and our final 3 contributed articles will run by mid Nov). Some highlights from the analytics of our campaign without going into pages of detail or graph overload show that the content was engaging, on average the blogs achieved excellent readership (unique views on some blogs hit well over 5,000 and on the aggregator over half a million impressions).  Average time spent reading the blogs was 3 minutes, similar time was spent on the videos and on the contributed articles.  When the content aggregator was used, naturally the blogs and articles were more prominent on the site.

The link below will take you to our page where you can view some of Sarah’s blogs and our academic staff contributed articles:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/universityofauckland/news/headlines.cfm?c_id=1503679

And this link will take you to an example of one of the videos:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503079&gal_cid=1503079&gallery_id=144775

Through analysis we were able to determine that the campaign drove traffic to the GSM website directly from the NZ Herald and those that visited the site were looking at between 2 to 6 pages after landing, suggesting a genuine interest in the programme, the requirements etc.  Read more »

Does John Drinnan actually read what he writes?

John Drinnan is a fool.

His latest column mentions the decision b the Press Council to open up membership finally to online media.

This is interesting because in current proceedings before the Human Rights Review Tribunal I have told I can’t be a journalist because i’m not a member of a voluntary regime like the Press Council, but the lawyer ignored the problem that until last week I couldn’t possibly join because their constitution wouldn’t allow it.

I also had to battle that premise int eh High Court, but fortunately Justice Asher saw through that attempt, not so you would know it from the perspective of the Human Rights Commission.

The idea of expanding the Press Council’s reach has been around for years and was given a boost after the Law Commission suggested digital media should join a combined media standards organisation, in return for receiving legal protections available to journalists. Then Justice Minister Judith Collins – a close friend of Slater – quashed that plan.

However the Press Council has since gone ahead with a scheme to represent digital media and blogs under its own steam, and that was unveiled this week.

But the ethics of bloggers and the media in general have come under deep scrutiny since Dirty Politics was published. Neville said it was clear in Press Council rules that publishers could not be paid for editorial.

“There is a grey area now with so-called native advertising, which is meant to be quality journalism which stacks up on its journalistic merits, even though it is sympathetic to one party.”

There were questions about whether the Press Council should have jurisdiction over native content, or if that should be covered by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager said the Press Council was getting into complex waters judging digital media on the basis of individuals rather than articles, and deciding whether they were journalism or not.

“My fear would be what could happen is that unscrupulous blogs could be given credibility but not end up with any accountability.

“Sometimes people are publishing public relations, and sometimes journalism,” he said.

Read more »

Take a look at this picture, but only if you’re not driving

1413387854260_wps_149_Pic_shows_This_ad_campaig

Freedom of expression has had to take a back seat in Russia as 30 trucks with the above ad on it were causing a total of 500 accidents a day:

The stunt, by an advertising agency specialising in mobile adverts, backfired after police sent out patrols to round up all the vehicles and impound them until the risque images could be removed.

Motorist Ildar Yuriev, 35, said: ‘I was on my way to a business meeting when I saw this truck with a huge photo of breasts on its side go by.

‘Then I was hit by the car behind who said he had been distracted by the truck. It made me late and left my car in the garage, and although I am insured I am still out of pocket.’

And now for the twist…   Read more »

Tagged:

A word on native advertising

Sorry to quote Andrew Sullivan twice in one day but he makes another very good point, this time on the media jumping boots and all into that they call native advertising.

Native advertising for those who don’t know is advertising dressed up as news….masquerading as an article.

I’ve been warning for a while that when established journalistic outlets whore themselves out to corporate propaganda through “sponsored content”, they are playing a mug’s game. The only reason these companies are paying these media outlets to disguise their ads as editorial copy is because they can still trade on those outlets’ residual reputation. But as native advertising cumulatively undermines that reputation, magazines and newspapers will lose their luster. Instead, corporations will simply fund and create their own pseudo-journalism directly, and cut out the middleman altogether.

This isn’t some future specter; it’s already here.

Read more »

Do disclaimers on native advertising work?

As the NZ Herald and Fairfax move to extend their already considerable investment in native advertising, the advertising made to look like journalism, there is growing evidence that their disclaimers don’t work.

The disclaimers are what news executives like Tim Murphy and Shayne Currie use to justify their extension of native advertising.

While publishers are producing and running sponsored content in greater numbers, one thing they haven’t figured out is how to effectively label their output. Some publishers are particularly overt about it, while others are content with making readers work a little bit harder. And no one’s quite sure which approach works best.

The real challenge is that a lot of those disclosures may not be all that effective. A new study from analytics platform Nudge found that the most common native ad disclosures are actually the least effective at helping readers identify their content as ads. Sponsored content using disclosure techniques like the home page buyout (used, for example, by The Wall Street Journal) and the persistent disclosure banner (used by Slate) were only identified as ads by readers 29 percent of the time.

In contrast, Nudge found that over half of the 100 people it polled were able to to identify ads that featured disclosures within the content itself. In-content disclosures are rare compared to the other techniques, though.

Nudge’s conclusion: Some publishers may be going out of their way to label sponsored content, but readers are barely noticing them, thanks to banner blindness and small labeling. Ben Young, CEO of Nudge, said that this is more than publishers staying honest in the eyes of the FTC. Bad disclosure can actually hurt brands, too. “Effective disclosures mean effective brand recall,” he said.

[…]    Read more »

Banned from New Zealand television, why?

Why is this banned?

Was it because the ute was too dirty?

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Claim: Image from a 1979 Pakistan airline advertisement shows the shadow of a jetliner on the World Trade Center.

Claim: Image from a 1979 Pakistan airline advertisement shows the shadow of a jetliner on the World Trade Center.

1979 Pakistan Airline Advertisement

Read more »

Hypocrisy and the NZ Herald

hypocrites

A reader writes about the NZ Herald’s paid content…you know that terrible thing John Drinnan has been campaigning on Twitter against…ringing people’s bosses trying to get them sacked.

brand insightHi Cam

I was browsing through the Herald online (I know – more fool, me – in my defence, I only read it for the girlie pictures) and came across the new Brand Insight section (launched September 1 and now featured prominently on the front page).

What is a “Brand Insight”? According to the helpful explanatory popup, it’s this: “New Zealand Herald’s Brand Insight connects readers directly to the leadership thinking of many prominent companies and organisations.”

Sounds terribly worthy, doesn’t it?

Or you could click through to one of the stories, where you’ll find in the small print that Brand Insights are in fact paid content, published on behalf of an advertiser. In a nutshell, this is the Herald’s latest attempt to extract money from advertisers, in what’s called a “native advertising format” (or, as we oldtimers call it, advertorial).

“The high quality content, in line with journalistic standards, is often produced by the company or brand and must be of interest to readers. It is clearly signposted.” Yeah, right.

So how exactly is this different from what WOBH has allegedly been doing, accepting money from companies in return for writing about them?

Oh yeah, “clearly signposted”. Like, “connects readers directly to the leadership thinking of many prominent companies and organisations”.

Sure, that’ll do it.

Read more »