Tag Archives: Websites
by Chris Roush
For the first time, half of Forbes Inc.’s revenues will come from its digital businesses, according to Meredith Levien, the business media company’s chief revenue officer.
“Although Levien declined to share dollar figures, she credited the strong growth to a variety of initiatives, including the company’s BrandVoice product, which allows marketers to create custom content on the site; bigger, more interactive ad formats, including IAB-blessed ‘Rising Star’ units; and its embrace of programmatic selling, making online inventory available for public bidding on the company’s own ad exchange, the Forbes Audience Network.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Clayton M. Christensen, David Skok and James Allworth write in the latest Nieman Reports about disrupters in journalism, and include Forbes magazine.
They write, “Take the example of Forbes magazine. Executives at Forbes understand that you cannot run a news business and produce quality content in the digital era with a cost structure built for analog times. The biweekly publication’s website has changed the traditional role of the editor. Editors still manage staff reporters but their working relationship with freelancers has changed. Instead of giving them assignments and editing their stories, editors now manage a network of roughly 1,000 contributors — authors, academics, freelance journalists, topic experts, and business leaders, all focused around particular subjects of interest — who post their own stories and are accountable for their own individual metrics. According to Lewis DVorkin, chief product officer at Forbes, 25 percent of the content budget is now dedicated to contributors, who wrote a total of nearly 100,000 posts last year.
“With a focus on niche subjects and a network of bloggers who write posts and curate work on these subjects from other publications, Forbes attracts new contributors and facilitates conversation across the network, driving more traffic to the company’s sites. As DVorkin describes it, ‘Talented people want to belong to a respected network, and that’s what we’ve built and continue to build.’ This new system has resulted in a network effect whereby contributors generate their own loyal followings under the Forbes umbrella. In one year, Forbes doubled the number of unique visitors to its website. Referrals from social networks rose from 2 percent to 15 percent of the traffic to Forbes’s digital properties, and search engine traffic increased from 18 percent to 32 percent of the total traffic.
“Every newsroom’s reporting strengths will be unique, and the challenge is for the news manager to assess a newsroom’s unique strengths. If the strength is local reporting, how can the newsroom derive more value from its content? How can it expand local reporting capabilities? How can the newsroom develop innovative products and applications — and how can it do this while reducing the cost?”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Xana Antunes has been named to the newly-created position of executive editor and vice president for CNBC Digital, it was announced Wednesday by Kevin Krim, senior vice president and general manager, CNBC Digital.
Antunes was editor of Crain’s New York Business until earlier this year.
Starting immediately, Antunes is responsible for setting the editorial direction of and leading the editorial team behind CNBC Digital’s products and services including CNBC.com, the suite of CNBC Mobile products including the CNBC Real-Time iPhone & iPad Apps and CNBC Real-Time Android Apps and CNBC PRO, the premium desktop/mobile service.
“Xana brings a unique mix of business journalism expertise combined with a wealth of multi-platform experience. She is the ideal person to establish the editorial vision and voice for our extensive portfolio of digital products and services,” said Krim in a statement. “Xana will ensure that we continue to be the destination for breaking news and real-time analysis for our audience of business executives and investors and that they have a seamless and high-quality experience across all digital screens.”
“The caliber of the journalists and the organization at CNBC are exceptional and I am tremendously excited to join this team,” said Antunes in a statement. “The opportunity to cover the most urgent global business and financial stories for CNBC’s growing digital audience is a special one, particularly at a moment when virtually every day seems to bring news of enormous consequence.”
Last week, CNBC.com received a 2012 Edward R. Murrow Award for Broadcast Affiliated Website – Television – Network. In the third quarter, monthly visitors to CNBC.com averaged 7 million, a 5 percent increase compared to the same time last year.
by Chris Roush
The Grand Rapids Business Journal in Michigan has relaunched its website.
John Zwarensteyn, the publisher, writes, “It is now up and delivering timely and pertinent business news with all of our trusted accuracy and analysis. I am proud of our new capabilities to produce original content and real-time news, updated throughout the day.
“This addition continues our tradition and long-standing commitment to provide the Grand Rapids-West Michigan business community with the best in local business news reporting. Now, you will have access to that news on a variety of different platforms, produced by an expanded staff of experienced journalists you have come to know and trust.
“The online content and reporting goes beyond what our print edition has to offer, so make sure you check in with us every day to keep up with West Michigan’s ever-evolving and dynamic business community.
“Our readers will be able to comment on, discuss and share stories using this new and robust online platform.We will be mobile-friendly and add more mobile apps and special content.
“We also will carry blogs by local business leaders and industry experts, and we will deliver our stories with timely emails and alerts, all of which can be managed by you, the reader. Other features include searchable article archives spanning more than a decade, and premium online access for Business Journal subscribers.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Business news site CNBC.com was visited by 6.6 million unique users in September, according to data from comScore Media Metrix. The site stayed flat year-over-year when compared to September 2011.
However, CNBC’s iPad app recorded 405,000 unique visitors in September, a 9 percent increase year-over-year, according to Omniture.
CNBC’s iPhone application posted its second best unique visitors ever in September with 563,000 unique visitors, a 21 percent increase year-over-year, according to Omniture.
CNBC’s Android application saw 87,000 unique visitors in September, down 6 percent month-over-month.
by Chris Roush
Laura Stampler of Business Insider profiles LinkedIn executive editor Daniel Roth, the former Fortune magazine business journalist whom she calls the most powerful business journalist online.
Stampler writes, “Roth oversees the news on LinkedIn Today, a social aggregator that brings top business headlines to LinkedIn’s 175 million-plus members across 40 different industries.
“‘One of the things I noticed at Fortune [where he worked previously] is that we did articles that I thought were amazing articles; and you’d read the comments, and the right people were never commenting on the story,’ Roth told BI. Rather than good critiques, like a real estate developer slamming the concept behind a Fannie Mae foreclosure piece, Roth would find trolls extolling ‘You guys are liberal jerks/conservative jerks/you guys are idiots, or even, my sister makes $500/month stuffing envelopes, here’s how you can do it.’
“His job is to make sure that the right news gets to the right people, which is a win-win for readers and reporters. And as much as journalists love their stories being seen by their intended audience, they also love another bonus effect from LinkedIn Today placement: Traffic.
“Lots and lots of traffic.
“A Forbes article, which dubbed the news curator ‘the perfect morning newspaper,’ said it plainly: ‘Get a story showing on the top 4 of LinkedIn Today – the ones that appear in people’s LinkedIn home page – and it’s reader gold.’”
by Chris Roush
Jason Del Ray of Advertising Age reports that Business Insider plans to offer companies sponsored content on its website.
Del Ray writes, “Business Insider has sold sponsored posts and emails in the past, but is now doubling down on those efforts with what it calls ‘Brand Insider,’ which will allow advertisers to buy sponsored slideshows, videos, and even create their own blogs on subdomains within Business Insider that would mix branded content with relevant Business Insider editorial. (The site hasn’t closed a deal for a brand-sponsored blog yet, but Huffington Post’s collaboration with IBM is an example of what one might look like.)
“The site will continue to run traditional ads, which currently account for the majority of Business Insider’s projected $12 million of 2012 revenue (2011 revenue was $7.7 million and Mr. Blodget has said that revenue was $4.8 million in 2010.) But company President and COO Julie Hansen believes there’s a lot of untapped potential in selling content opportunities to brands.
“‘If it were half [of total revenue] in a couple years’ time, that would be great,’ she said.
“The foray into branded content is being led by Pete Spande, the former Federated Media CMO who joined Business Insider in March as its first chief revenue officer. (Mr. Spande was already quite familiar with Business Insider since Federated Media sold ads for the site until last summer.) In an interview, Mr. Spande said his sales team is focusing initially on helping advertisers simply find a new audience for compelling content they’ve already created.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Sarah Shearman of MediaWeek writes about the launch of the new business news site Quartz and spoke with editor Kevin Delaney about its potential.
Here is an excerpt:
How would you describe Quartz?
“Quartz is a digitally-native business news site for global business professionals. We are focused on the most important macro themes shifting the new global economy.
“The site is optimised for tablets and also works well on desktops and mobile.”
What is the business set-up?
“We have about 30 people including developers, editorial and sales staff, working at Quartz. We have people in Europe, Asia and the US, with headquarters in New York.
“The centres of gravity of the global economy have shifted. The financial crisis of the past few years has pushed that into further focus.
“We’re looking to provide information and analysis for professionals to better navigate this. Instead of using traditional editorial feeds, our reporters are focused on an obsession.
“Examples of the obsessions are the energy shock, China slowdown or an obsession around mobile web and how the one billion users of the internet will come online.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Todd Harrison, founder and CEO of Minyanville Media Inc., the business and financial news company that celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this week.
In addition to his presence in the media realm, Harrison has spent 22 years on Wall Street. He worked seven years on the worldwide equity derivative desk at Morgan Stanley as vice president, was managing director of derivatives at The Galleon Group, and was president of the $400 million hedge fund Cramer Berkowitz.
He has appeared on FOX, CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg TV, and in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Worth, Fortune, Barron’s, Dow Jones MarketWatch, New York Magazine, and Canada’s National Post.
Harrison has lectured at numerous academic institutions including Harvard University, Syracuse University, New York University, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also been active in research of financial market learning tendencies among college students, and was a contributing author to “Threat, Intimidation, and Student Financial Market Knowledge: An Empirical Study,” published in the Journal of Education for Business.
Harrison was featured in the 20th anniversary documentary of Oliver Stone’s movie “Wall Street” and in 2008, he received an Emmy Award for his role as executive producer of Minyanville’s “World in Review,” the first and only animated business news show, which featured Huffy the Bull and Boo the Bear.
His first book, “The Other Side of Wall Street: In Business, It Pays to Be an Animal; In Life it Pays to Be Yourself,” was published by FT Press in 2011.
How did you get the idea for Minyanville?
It was a bit of serendipity and a sequence of events. I was running a hedge fund, and I was asked by Jim Cramer, who was my partner at the hedge fund, if I would fill in for him on TheStreet.com while he was on vacation in July 2000. I filled in one day, and then they asked me for the rest of the week. At the end of the week, they wanted me to stay on because my page views were off the chart.
I decided to do it because writing synthesized my thoughts. I started using Hoofy the Bull and Boo the Bear as metaphorical references for my thought processes, and I had fun with it.
About six months into it, toward the end of the year, my grandfather was very sick and I would go down every weekend to see him, so I wasn’t writing as much. My readers were getting on to me for slacking off. They had gotten used to me writing. So I wrote about my grandfather, and they liked it. I was creating this bond with people that I had never met. I decided that if these people were going to be so kind then I was going to reciprocate and give them my thoughts on the market.
On Sept. 11, 2001, it was a difficult day. After watching people hold hands and jump off the towers, I asked myself, “What’s it all about?” I decided to start a new venture that could effect positive change. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was the genesis of Minyanville.
How was it funded?
Initially I put well into seven figures into the company. I was coming out the hedge fund world, so I spared no expense. At the time, there was no such things as blogs. I developed the characters, Hoofy and Boo, and spared no expense in building a community for them to live.
Unfortunately, it was akin to the Universal Studios tour. It looked good, but if you looked behind it, there was nothing holding it up. It was an expensive lesson into how the Internet works and monetization of content. In the next few years, I kept at it and eventually we raised some money, and that started the journey.
Did you see a void in financial news to fill?
Yes. The way financial media worked was to give someone a symbol and tell them when to buy and sell. People didn’t know a whole lot about the underlying companies. People wanted to take their fare share of the tech bubble but instead, many got caught in the bust.
We never subscribed to that. We were about teaching people how to fish instead of giving them the fish. We talked about what we did and how we did it, with the caveat that this is what we were doing and not necessarily what the reader you should do. They should make decisions appropriate for their own circumstances.
At the time, we were told to take the word education out of the name of our business plan because it was anathema to profitability. But now we’re being approached by Wall Street firms about how to provide brand-safe content.
How did you attract journalists to the startup?
From day one, our editorial mandate was truth and trust. AT the time, this was before blogs and Twitter. There was a bit of an oligopoly in the financial media space. We were committed to doing it the right way. Your name is your word. These are things that are pretty standard, you think, but they were not at the time.
There was no benefit at the time for us to highlight that the banks were technically insolvent in 2006 or 2007. Nobody wants to know that when the screen is green. But we were always honest. It wasn’t just pie in the sky opinion. We backed it up with analysis that was cogent. We tried to stay away from the name calling and the gutter balling that a lot of people fell into.
What was the big breakthrough for Minyanville?
Probably 2008. That was the year that a few things happened, aside from the crisis. You never want to profit from someone’s pain but we laid out the framework for what happened before it happened. It gave us street cred. We had advertisers pulling ads from us three months before because we were too bearish. But we got in front of the crisis and talked about things before they happened. And it was also the year that we won the Emmy Award for New Approaches to Business and Financial Reporting.
What is next for Hoofy and Boo?
That’s a good question. We have conversations a lot about it. The convergence of digital and television and Internet has opened up a lot of channels. We;re in continuous disdcuissions, and when the right situation presents itself, you will see them again. They’re resting now, and getting ready for their big day.
Who are Minyanville’s readers?
Right now it’s a 45-year-old male, college educated. That’s what our surveys tell us.
Our feeling is that financial empowerment is a need, not a want, at this point. And the tougher it gets, the more people are going to assume more responsibility and want to know how things work. We’re here to effect positive change and understanding. We think that is a viable strategy.
Who do you see as your competitors?
There are competitors in different elements of our business. For our financial commentary, you could argue that TheStreet.com is a competitor, although they are pretty linear. Most media properties cut a horizontal swath through the demographic. What we have tried to do is approach finance as a vertical and through literacy. Earnings, spending, investing and giving are the four constants across your life, and we have tried to build a theme brand across those. In terms of the full Monty of the brand, I don’t see anybody else trying to do that right now.
The tone of the site seems more educational than other business news sites. Is that intentional?
Yes. That’s always been our approach that we have strived to achieve. Finance is a very homogeneous and intimidating. There are a lot of people out there who like to talk and sound smart and tell you what to do. We don’t look at the financial landscape as preacher to congregation, or congregation to congregation. There needs to be managed community.
I use the analogy all of the time. There is basic cable, but there is always the desire for HBO or Showtime. Financial media has a competitive advantage over traditional media in that you can charge more for the timeliness of the content or the quality of the content.
We want people to learn and absorb something with a smile on their face. It’s hard out there these days. We have no problem talking about what we have done wrong and how we feel, not that it’s a tree-hugging environment of danishes and powdered sugar. Trust is an element and a dynamic that you build from telling the truth and sharing what you have done wrong as well as what you have done right.
What are your goals for the next 10 years?
We want to adapt, but not conform. We want to build out the brand in a manner that is in the best manner for our investors. We still think we’re in the early innings of penetrating the mainstream mindset. We need to connect the dots between our various efforts — smart market commentary, award winning animation, our gaming engine for kids, our premium services such as the Buzz & Banter — so that people can see the constellation of how it all fits together.
by Chris Roush
Forbes chief product officer Lewis Dvorkin writes about the business magazine’s BrandVoice, which allows companies to provide content for its website.
Dvorkin writes, “Two years ago, we launched AdVoice, renamed BrandVoice last week, as a way for brands to use the same publishing tools I do to create, curate and distribute their expert content in a credible news environment. SAP was our first digital partner and Cadillac our first print partner. Since then, Microsoft, Dell, Merrill Lynch, NetApp, Gyro– and most recently Oracle — have all used our tools. UPS, BMO Harris Bank and Capital One will start posting soon. Northwestern Mutual Life, Aflac, United Airlines, Toyota and others have used the print program.
“BrandVoice and similar content marketing initiatives can be discomforting for traditional journalists. They needn’t be. Those of us with long careers in journalism have moved in and out of the gray zone between journalism and advertising. Special features, special sections, sponsored content and similar revenue-driving content features involve editorial conflicts that result in professional compromises, some more uncomfortable than others. Products like BrandVoice draw a bright shiny line between journalist and marketer for all to see. The critical requirement is transparency, which means proper identification and labeling.
“Like journalists, marketers are learning it’s work to attract news consumers and a following in the digital age. What’s a Facebook Like really worth? How often do Twitter followers actually read 140 characters ? Not every post on Forbes.com gets tens of thousands of page views, nor do videos get as many streams. You need to be timely, relevant and authentic in this new era. You need to give up a measure of control, difficult for news veterans reliant on editing hierarchies and advertising executives determined to lock down the message.”
Read more here.