Saturday, September 12, 2009

Delicious Today: quality news, business model, measurement, iPod

#1: In America, No News is Good News
A College junior from Jakarta, Indonesia describes one thing she misses about home while studying in U.S. -- "access to quality news broadcasting."
"I lament the moment when I turn to the TV Guide channel to find that BBC World, CNN International and ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) are replaced with FOX, CNN America and CNN Headline News. While the brightly-colored studios, extraneous props and chummy presenters on most American news channels lure me like a moth to flame, the content leaves me feeling uninformed. ... It seems to me that our desire for instant, convenient access to information has been prioritized over depth and greater understanding. ... In a society where commercials are shortened to correspond to short attention spans, it feels like news channels are being run by ad agencies."
People want quality journalism even when it's not flashy. That desire is especially strong once they have had exposure to good journalism. I listened to BBC for many years before coming to the United States. I was dismayed by the trashy quality of commercial radio on my arrival in U.S. and thought it was worse than Chinese radio which at least didn't sound like infomercial. The commercial radio hasn't improved much since then and I listen only to public radio (thank goodness). When I need more variety of content, I listen to my iPod with podcasts from BBC, ABC (from Australia), Radio Netherlands, and the Ted conference. I'm sure the article's author and I are not the only people who want more quality journalism. I'm sure most Americans want it too. But why haven't we heard a loud request for more quality journalism from the public? Are they happy with the current state of journalism or is the unhappy audience bypassing American media and has gone straight to non-American sources such as BBC?

As a public radio producer, I'm glad to hear that the articl author likes PBS: "'NewsHour with Jim Lehrer' may not be exciting — but at least it doesn’t substitute content for flashing lights."

#2: Lots of Fee Ideas for Media Online
#3: Journalism Online’s charging clients a 20% commission
#4: Google Plans Tools to Help News Media Charge for Content
This collection of articles summarizes the latest activities in developing a paid content business model for the media industry. Journalism Online, a private venture founded by three former media executives, is selling an e-commerce engine that "allows customers to have one easy-to-use account common to all the publishers' websites" by paying an annual, monthly, or per-article fees. Google's micro payment model extends its Checkout payment system, one of the leading systems for online payments. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation hopes to duplicate the success of its Wall Street Journal, one of the largest paid news Web sites, to other news sites it owns.

#5: Major Media Companies Form Measurement Initiative; ‘Not An Attempt To Replace Nielsen’
"Tired of waiting for the various audience measurement firms to provide seamless, cross-platform data covering consumers’ total media usage, a group of 14 companies representing all the major TV networks have joined with major advertising agencies and marketers to create the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM)."
Lack of good audience measurement has been a bottleneck for digital media development because without quality measurement, we have no clear idea whether an online project is successful, little evidence to persuade investors to give more money, and few arguments to attract advertisers. Even though there are plenty of web visit numbers around, their meaning is debatable and their reliability questionable. For example, how can you tell an accidental visitor from a loyal one whose browser doesn't store cookies thus who appears as a new visitor every time? How can you tell whether a visitor has paid attention to an ad on a web page?

*** Extra
Another big news item is the new iPod Nano which touts a built-in FM tuner and Live Pause button. More people will listen to radio, I think, but it won't save radio if the radio industry doesn't adapt to the digital age.

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