Forbes: Paid online content can't supplant ad revs

MarketWatch -- Forbes Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Forbes said Tuesday that while media outlets may be able to reap more cash by charging readers for online content, it won't be enough to supplant ad sales.

"I don't think you going to see emerge a one-size-fits-all [model], I think you're going to see a number of paradigms," Forbes told MarketWatch after a speech before the Boston College Executives' Club in Boston. "But I think if even some of them do work, still the bulk of the revenue will come from marketing and advertising."

Forbes also said the entrance of Microsoft's (MSFT 28.81, +0.18, +0.63%) Bing into the online arena could give media outlets more leverage in charging for content that was previously free.

"Bing from Microsoft, if they aggressively went out and tried to sign contracts with information providers that you could only get it on Bing, and that you, the information provider, we'll pay you a fee for it, that might put some pressure on Google (GOOG 541.80, +0.98, +0.18%) and some of the other portals," said Forbes.

Forbes also dismissed the idea that media outlets could be accused by the government of collusion if several start charging for previously free content in short order.

"We're all cats now, it's very hard to herd us," Forbes said of the media industry.

NY Times to begin charging visitors

The New York Times plans to introduce a metered billing system on its Website sometime next year. The newspaper will begin to charge frequent visitors to its Website along the lines of what the Financial Times does on, which starts charging people who visit the site more than 10 times a month. But the new model is unlikely to move the needle on the New York Times’ digital revenues.

Details are spare on how exactly the model will work, but it is possible to do some rough back-of-the-envelope calculations. According to comScore, attracted 12.4 million U.S. visitors in December, 2009, down from 15.4 million in September, 2009. If you include all the sites the New York Times operates, including,, and the sites of various local papers, the numbers jump to 52.8 million U.S. visitors in December. But right now the company is only talking about putting up a metered billing system on the proper. So we are talking about an audience of 12.4 million in the U.S. and about 20 million worldwide.

The average visitor in the U.S. comes to the site 3.7 times a month, a number which has been steadily rising. Let’s say for argument’s sake that the NYT adopts the same policy as the FT, and only charges people who visit more than 10 times a month. Let’s also be super-generous and estimate that 20 percent of its audience comes to the site more than 10 times a month, or roughly 3 million people in the U.S., or 4 million worldwide. Now subtract about a million print subscribers since they won’t be charged anything extra to read the paper online.

How many of the 2 to 3 million loyal readers who are left will actually pay for the online edition, and how much will they pay? Back in 2005 to 2007, when the NYT was offering a partial pay wall through TimesSelect, it got 210,000 readers to pay $50 a year. That added $10.5 million to its top line. The charges about $25 a month to frequent visitors. But the FT is a financial publication and, like the WSJ, readers are willing to pay more for that information. The NYT appeals to a broader demographic, so let’s assume the pricing will fall within the range of $10 to $15 a month.

If the New York Times gets 10 percent of its frequent readers who aren’t already subscribers to pay $10 a month that would come to as much as $3 million in extra revenue worldwide (300,000 X $10), or an extra $9 million a quarter. In the third quarter of 2009, the New York Times recorded $39 million in Internet advertising revenues across all of its newspaper properties. Adding $9 million would be a significant jump. But what you also have to take into account is that those Internet advertising revenues were down by $8.8 million from the year before due to the advertising recession and the decline in classifieds revenues.

So at $10 per online subscriber, the New York Times would only be replacing the online advertising revenues it lost last year. If it can charge $15 or get more than 300,000 subscribers, the numbers start to make more sense. And if the meter drives more people to subscribe to the print paper, that’s even better for the New York Times (and, in fact, I suspect that growing print subscribers is really what this is all about).

However, there is one last part to this equation. How many of those 3 million readers who hit the meter will simply stop coming to the and find their news elsewhere? To the extent that the New York Times drives away a portion of its online audience, its online advertising revenues will drop as well. Getting that balancing act right will be crucial to the success of this metered scheme.

Canadian online advertising revenue grows to $1.6b, surpasses radio

IAB Canada Newsletters - The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) today announced that Canadian Online Advertising Revenues exceeded budgeted expectations of $1.5 billion, and grew by 29% in 2008 to just over $1.6 billion.

Publisher revenue from Online advertising in Canada has more than quadrupled over the past five years -- building from $364 million in 2004 to the $1.6 billion mark in 2008 -- surpassing 2008 Radio revenues of $1.55 billion in the process.

Online Advertising now occupies third spot in terms of both time spent by consumers with media, as well as marketing spend by Advertisers, representing a full 11% of the combined $14 billion spent on all major media in Canada (TV, Newspapers, Internet, Radio, Magazines and Out Of Home).

Of the $1.6 billion, approximately $317 million or 20% of Online ad revenue was received by French Canadian Online publishing properties, representing year-over-year growth of 22%.

Search advertising (at 38% of total revenues), continues to lead in terms of share of dollars, followed by Display at 31%, and Classifieds at 30%. Online Video advertising grew by 33% from its relatively small base of $9 million in 2007 to $12 million in 2008, while Email advertising stayed stable at approximately $18 million.

2008 Canadian Online Ad Revenue by Advertiser Category was also tabulated, and was as follows:

# Automotive - 13%;
# Financial - 11%;
# Technology - 10%;
# Telecommunications - 9%;
# Packaged Goods - 8%;
# Media + Entertainment (Music, Film, TV) - 6%;
# Leisure (Travel, Hotel, Hospitality) - 6%;
# Retail - 5%; and,
# Other - 32%. Publishers within IAB Canada’s Annual Revenue Survey have projected that their revenues will continue to grow at an enviable pace, with Online Advertising Revenue in Canada estimated to be $1.75 billion in 2009, or 9.2% more than the 2008 actuals. This forecast includes a 7.8% increase to $342 million for French Publishers’ Online advertising revenue.

“Even in the face of uncertain economic conditions and continued pressure on total advertising budgets, clearly, Online advertising has cemented itself as a mainstay in the overall media buy,” says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada. “And although 2009 has presented substantial challenges to the entire Canadian marketing community, we’re confident that Online advertising will continue to grow at the projected pace, for the simple reason that as the Internet continues to engage and delight consumers, it matches these accomplishments with a persistent ability to deliver measureable Advertiser results.”

Download the Detailed IAB Canada 2008 Actuals/2009 Budgeted Internet Advertising Revenue Report.

Canada's Internet lags behind other countries: Study

CanWest — Canada is lagging behind other industrialized countries because it forces consumers to pay high prices for slow broadband Internet service, says a recent report by Harvard University.

The 232-page report by the school's Berkman Center for Internet and Society gave Canada an overall ranking of 22 out of 30 countries, based on the affordability, accessibility and speed of the country's broadband Internet.

Released late Wednesday, the report, which was commissioned for the Federal Communications Commission — the U.S. counterpart of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission — also placed Canada 25th in affordability of the Internet.

"The highest prices for the lowest speeds are overwhelmingly offered by firms in the United States and Canada, all of which inhabit markets structured around 'inter-modal' competition — that is, competition between one incumbent owning a telephone system, and one incumbent owning a cable system," said the report.

Canada also ranked 16th in the category of access to wireless technology, down from second place in 2003.

The report even singles out Canada as a country where Internet policies should not be mirrored.

"As with speed and entry-level prices, however, Canada's performance merits caution when observing its policies," it said. "While penetration there is high, not only is speed lower, but prices, too, are high in every tier of service."

The report blamed the low rankings on the country's "regulatory hesitation."

"Canada looks like a case where the concern for incumbent investment incentives, without quite reaching to the level of abstention, resulted in a weaker version of unbundling than was implemented in many of the other countries we reviewed here," it said.

Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa, said Thursday he wasn't surprised by the results of the study.

"Frankly, countries all around the world typically get far better deals for much faster speeds than Canadians experience, and they get it for far less," he told Global News.

Meanwhile, Finland officials announced Thursday that the country will now guarantee all citizens be legally entitled to a minimum broadband connection speed of one megabit per second.

It's the first country in the world to make universal minimum Internet access speeds a legal requirement.

10 news media content in 2010

From Mashable:

The news media is experiencing a renaissance. As we end the year, its state in 2009 can be summarized as a year of turmoil, layoffs and cutbacks in an industry desperately seeking to reinvent its business model and content. But despite the thousands of journalism jobs lost, the future has much hope and opportunity for those that are willing to adapt to a changing industry.

Much of that change is happening now. And in the coming year, news organizations will look to approach monetization and content experimentation that is focused on looking at the web in a new way. News (news) in 2010 will blur the lines between audience and creator more than ever in an era of social media. Below is a look at several trends in content distribution and presentation that we will likely see more of in 2010.

Full story here.

1. Living Stories
2. Real-Time News Streams
3. Blogozines
4. Distributed Social News
5. News Goes Mobile
6. The Year of Geo-Location
7. Story-Streaming
8. Social TV Online
9. Marketers as Producers
10. Social News Gaming

'News should come to us'

Professor Jeff Jervis in New York predicts that streaming will be the next mainstream media format. Bye bye websites....

Tweet: What does the post-page, post-site, post-media media world look like? @stephenfry, that’s what.

The next phase of media, I’ve been thinking, will be after the page and after the site. Media can’t expect us to go to it all the time. Media has to come to us. Media must insinuate itself into our streams.

Time spent on newspaper websites drops

Editor and Publisher - The average time spent per person at the top newspaper Web sites took a hit in November compared to the presidential election month of November 2008.

Of the top 30 Web sites, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the highest average time per person at 23 minutes and 38 seconds.

Nielsen Online, which provided the data, defines the time per person as the average time spent at the site over the course of a month. (Nielsen also vastly expanded its panels in June 2009 and that could affect year-over-year trending.)

Below is the average time spent per person (hours: minutes: seconds) in November 2009 compared to November 2008, ranked by unique users.

For the October list, go here. -- 0:17:17 -- 0:36:32 -- 0:10:52 -- 0:14:15
LA Times -- 0:07:15 -- 0:07:07 -- 0:14:21 -- 0:15:58
Wall Street Journal Online -- 0:08:35 -- 0:11:57

Daily News Online Edition -- 0:05:16 -- 0:05:29
New York Post -- 0:08:41 -- 0:09:55
Chicago Tribune -- 0:10:35 -- 0:07:12 -- 0:15:47 -- 0:13:27 Francisco Chronicle -- 0:09:16 -- 0:12:05

Politico -- 0:08:17 -- 0:10:45 -- 0:04:29 -- 0:14:51
Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- 0:23:38 -- 0:11:08
Chicago Sun-Times -- 0:07:19 -- 0:06:47 -- 0:10:49 -- 0:06:37 - The Dallas Morning News -- 0:08:11 -- 0:06:10
Seattle Times Company Online Network -- 0:12:20 -- 0:07:55 -- 0:04:16 -- 0:05:11
The Houston Chronicle -- 0:14:36 -- 0:22:15
Baltimore Sun -- 0:06:07 -- 0:09:03 -- 0:17:37 -- 0:07:54
Newsday -- 0:07:26 -- 0:05:08
Orlando Sentinel -- 0:06:23 -- 0:07:30
The Washington Times -- 0:05:14 -- 0:04:41 -- 0:06:08 -- 0:04:47 -- 0:04:32 -- 0:06:14
The Denver Post -- 0:07:37 -- 0:04:50 -- 0:12:46 -- 0:09:16
Star Tribune -- 0:20:02 -- 0:20:32 -- 0:09:54 -- 0:04:20

Most visited web site and most searched term in 2009

clickz - Facebook was the most searched term during 2009, according to Hitwise. Citing data collected between January and November 2009, the online measurement firm reckons the social networking site accounted for 0.67 percent of all searches during that period.

Rival social networking site MySpace was second overall for the year, but the continued growth of Facebook saw it rise from 10th position in 2008 to overtake its rival in 2009.

Facebook was also the third most visited Web site of the year, Hitwise says, behind Google and Yahoo's mail product, which came first and second, respectively, for the second year running.

Overall, Google accounted for 6.7 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2009. Yahoo Mail accounted for 4.44 percent of visits, followed by Facebook with 4.26 percent, Yahoo with 3.36 percent, and MySpace at 3 percent.

Top 10 Most Searched Terms
2009 2008
facebook myspace
myspace craigslist
craigslist ebay
youtube google
yahoo mail
google yahoo
yahoo youtube
ebay yahoo mail
facebook login facebook
Source: Experian Hitwise

Top 10 Most Visited Web Sites Among U.S. Users
2009 2008
Source: Experian Hitwise

Ads going real-time

Dynamic ads: Offered by TheDigitel in Charleston, S.C., this tool allows advertisers to change ad content dynamically via a text message, Facebook or blog update, or using a Twitter or Flickr photo feed. "If you can feed it, our thing can eat it," claims TheDigitel's website. Advertisers fill out a form to create the ad and designate which parts are static, and which are dynamic.

8 must-have traits of tomorrow’s journalist

Another good article from Marshable about journalism of tomorrow:

As the news industry looks to reconstruct its suffering business model, the journalists of today must reconstruct their skill sets for the growing world of online media. Because of cutbacks at many news organizations, the jobs available are highly competitive. News companies are seeking journalists who are jacks of all trades, yet still masters of one (or more).

2010 will likely be a time of transition as today’s journalists catch up to learn the multimedia, programming, social media, and business skills they’ll need to tell their stories online. These new skills are especially relevant to startups that are looking to hire multi-skilled and social media-savvy journalists. Below we’ve gathered some skills that are quickly becoming basic requirements for the journalist of tomorrow. These skills are presented in no particular order.

Full story here.

1. Entrepreneurial and Business Savvy
2. Programmer
3. Open-minded Experimenter
4. Multimedia Storyteller
5. The Social Journalist and Community Builder
6. Blogger and Curator
7. Multi-skilled
8. Fundamental Journalism Skills