The NAA’s (secret) meeting

Newspaper execs gathered in Chicago this week in a not-so-secret meeting to discuss their mutual problem — a collective southbound bottom line. Staci Kramer has an excellent summary including information from Steve Brill of Journalism Online, the group of former media executives trying to solve the “problem” of how to monetize online content. Brill’s group has a model that they’re trying to sell, and the newspaper people at the meeting were eager to hear all about it. According to The AP, the meeting was called “Models to lawfully monetize content.”

The problem, from my perspective is enormous, because the disruption that’s killing legacy media isn’t about content, it’s about advertising. The assumptions of any content play are that its value is so great that expensive, adjacent advertising will support it and that the mass attractive to advertisers can be created through scarcity. Neither of these assumptions is viable online, and the real problem is that both must be present for significant revenue to be realized.

Advertisers don’t need mass anymore, because the Web efficiently allows them to directly target potential customers in a variety of ways. Gordon Borrell has a great post today (Are We NUTS?) on why legacy media companies don’t believe the size of his revenue projections at the market level.

With the Internet, however, you can’t fathom the universe of companies and individuals selling things like email advertising or search advertising or banners. In a lot of cases, they aren’t even companies, but individuals who don’t have business licenses and thus cannot be tracked at all for their “ad revenue” receipts.

The amount advertisers are spending is truly stunning, and much larger than most people imagine. Those who understand the true breadth of opportunity are more likely (in my humble opinion) to get a larger share than those who underestimate it.

News content online is a ubiquitous and increasingly commodified community, and attempts to restrict access so as to create scarcity will only result in the isolation of those who need most to be a part of the discussion, professional journalists. If you think newspapers will be able to restrict ANY reference to articles they publish, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona that I’d like to sell. And even if they could accomplish such a monumental task, the disruptions in advertising will continue make the model of ad-supported content increasingly problematic.

The newspaper industry is obsessed with an old model, and rather than trying to fit its square peg into the round hole of Media 2.0, it makes much more sense to focus our attention elsewhere. We should nurture our legacy products as best we can, but we simply must separate our ability to make money from our dependence on the content we create.

The key to that is in defining, understanding and developing the Local Web.

Bunnies in the back yard

Karen was mowing her back yard this week and discovered a nest of infant cottontails. There are six of the little guys in a small hole in the ground that the mommy covers with fur after each feeding. She shows up a couple of times after dark, and the babies just sleep and grow during the daytime, warmed by the sun’s rays. We found this wonderful site, rescuedrabbits.org, that gave us all the information we needed to enjoy the little fellows without interfering in their growth. Rabbits are very common in Karen’s Frisco neighborhood, but this kind of thing doesn’t come along every day, so here are a couple of photos and a little clip to show you our bunnies in the back yard.

Bunnies in the back yard

Karen was mowing her back yard this week and discovered a nest of infant cottontails. There are six of the little guys in a small hole in the ground that the mommy covers with fur after each feeding. She shows up a couple of times after dark, and the babies just sleep and grow during the daytime, warmed by the sun’s rays. We found this wonderful site, rescuedrabbits.org, that gave us all the information we needed to enjoy the little fellows without interfering in their growth. Rabbits are very common in Karen’s Frisco neighborhood, but this kind of thing doesn’t come along every day, so here are a couple of photos and a little clip to show you our bunnies in the back yard.

The NAA’s secret meeting

Newspaper execs gathered in Chicago this week in a not-so-secret meeting to discuss their mutual problem — a collective southbound bottom line. Staci Kramer has an excellent summary including information from Steve Brill of Journalism Online, the group of former media executives trying to solve the “problem” of how to monetize online content. Brill’s group has a model that they’re trying to sell, and the newspaper people at the meeting were eager to hear all about it. According to The AP, the meeting was called “Models to lawfully monetize content.”

The problem, from my perspective is enormous, because the disruption that’s killing legacy media isn’t about content, it’s about advertising. The assumptions of any content play are that its value is so great that expensive, adjacent advertising will support it and that the mass attractive to advertisers can be created through scarcity. Neither of these assumptions is viable online, and the real problem is that both must be present for significant revenue to be realized.

Advertisers don’t need mass anymore, because the Web efficiently allows them to directly target potential customers in a variety of ways. Gordon Borrell has a great post today (Are We NUTS?) on why legacy media companies don’t believe the size of his revenue projections at the market level.

With the Internet, however, you can’t fathom the universe of companies and individuals selling things like email advertising or search advertising or banners. In a lot of cases, they aren’t even companies, but individuals who don’t have business licenses and thus cannot be tracked at all for their “ad revenue” receipts.

The amount advertisers are spending is truly stunning, and much larger than most people imagine. Those who understand the true breadth of opportunity are more likely (in my humble opinion) to get a larger share than those who underestimate it.

News content online is a ubiquitous and increasingly commodified community, and attempts to restrict access so as to create scarcity will only result in the isolation of those who need most to be a part of the discussion, professional journalists. If you think newspapers will be able to restrict ANY reference to articles they publish, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona that I’d like to sell. And even if they could accomplish such a monumental task, the disruptions in advertising will continue make the model of ad-supported content increasingly problematic.

The newspaper industry is obsessed with an old model, and rather than trying to fit its square peg into the round hole of Media 2.0, it makes much more sense to focus our attention elsewhere. We should nurture our legacy products as best we can, but we simply must separate our ability to make money from our dependence on the content we create.

The key to that is in defining, understanding and developing the Local Web.

Bitterness: victimhood gone to seed

The Doctor is InSo the rapier sharp minds of the American Psychiatric Association have identified a brand spanking new ailment: post traumatic embitterment disorder, PTED. You’re pissed off, it’s a disorder, because, well, we all know that “normal” people aren’t pissed off. The LATimes article quotes the German doctor who “discovered” the malady as saying that a guy who snaps and kills his family may be suffering from this. I can see Jack McCoy rolling his eyes on an episode of Law & Order.

The shrinks are working on a treatment, but I’ll save ‘em a bunch of trouble: forgiveness.

That’ll be 5-cents, please.

Bitterness: victimhood gone to seed

lucySo the rapier sharp minds of the American Psychiatric Association have identified a brand spanking new ailment: post traumatic embitterment disorder, PTED. You’re pissed off, it’s a disorder, because, well, we all know that “normal” people aren’t pissed off. The LATimes article quotes the German doctor who “discovered” the malady as saying that a guy who snaps and kills his family may be suffering from this. I can see Jack McCoy rolling his eyes on an episode of Law & Order.

The shrinks are working on a treatment, but I’ll save ‘em a bunch of trouble: forgiveness.

That’ll be 5-cents, please.