Thursday, August 13, 2009

Delicious Today: audience, $$, Australia

#1: Study: Teens like Headlines and Photos -- But Not 'Dumbed Down' News
#2: What It Takes to be a Web Favorite
Both studies are posted on the Media Management Center at Northwestern University. The first one finds that "teenagers don't like their news watered-down, but rather encourages online news providers to 'be bolder' with their Web sites," and that "teen responses were very similar to those of adults who are light readers." The second one notes that "users form particularly strong habits when it comes to news, ... news Web sites must strive to be on a user's short list of three to five favorite sites or be lost among hundreds of largely overlooked alternatives."

Taken together, these two studies speak the importance for a public broadcasting web site to not only catch audience's attention on their first encounter with the web site, but also becoming their habitual news destination. This requires consistent interesting web content that respects audience's intelligence. The center has a long list of research reports that look useful for public broadcasters.

#3: More Than 170 Dailies Sign On with Journalism Online
"Journalism Online, the company that plans to help publishers monetize content, has signed 176 dailies as affiliate partners. In total, more than 500 newspapers, magazines and other sites have agreed to join Journalism Online representing more than 90 million monthly unique users. Publishing affiliates will be able to select their own pay models" including micro-payment, single account to multiple publications, bundle of print, online and e-reader subscriptions, etc.

This is a substantial development in the movement of paid content. I mentioned Journalism Online in Monday's post. It's impressive that so many publications have jumped on board, but we don't know if they're influential ones since JO has declined to name them. Of course the more important indicator the industry is watching is whether readers will sign up and for what kind of package.

#4: Can Anyone Actually Tap the $100 Billion Potential of Hyperlocal News?
The New York Times and AOL are experimenting in Maplewood, New Jersey. Google's business model, "'a billion dollars, one nickel at a time,' is a perfect description of how media companies hope to take tiny sources of local revenue and roll them up into big money. Hyperlocal sites ... can deliver precision-targeted advertising to local and global businesses. As the once-exponential growth rate for most Internet advertising in the United States grinds to a halt, the online local-advertising market is projected to grow 5.4% in 2009 to $13.3 billion."

With hundreds of member stations across the country operating and deeply involved in their local communities, public broadcasters have a structural, knowledge, and trust advantage over other media organizations in tapping into the online local advertising market. But we should not feel too comfortable or confident because the competitors are coming with deep pockets and technology know-how. We need a strategy and action, now.

#5: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) iView
This is ABC's equivalent online TV viewer to BBC's iPlayer. It's very sleek. The program offering is categorized into 9 channels by topics and viewer age groups. But I can't get any content because its copyright allows access to Australian IP addresses only.

PBS has a nice video portal where content is organized by programs, topics, and collections. But compared to ABC and BBC, we don't have a system-wide portal where people can do one-stop shopping and find all programs from all stations, radio or television, local or national. Right now it's really hard to find and sample local stations' programs online unless I manually go through individual station sites or iTunes store. Who has that time? I really wish there was a well-organized public broadcasting online portal. It will (1) provide convenience for audience; (2) help promote programs and grow audience across stations and platforms; (3) encourage internal competition and learning thus more innovation and higher quality content; (4) build stronger collective public media brand name; and (5) offer another efficient fund raising vehicle.

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