Tag Archives: New technology

Quartz Daily Brief

How Quartz has doubled its email signup rate

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Quartz’s Daily Brief, an email newsletter that surpassed 50,000 subscribers earlier this year recently changed its sign-up process, reducing friction and enabling a more seamless subscription experience.

The result is that Quartz, a business news site from The Atlantic, has doubled the rate of sign-ups.

When Quartz launched in 2012, it wanted to build an account framework that could handle all its future aspirations—personalization, geolocation, read-it-later, offline mode, annotations, user settings, and a variety of email subscriptions.

As it set out to build the account system, it only made sense to make creating an account a requirement for email signup. If it was going to eventually build in other functionality centered around a specific user, it made sense to have everything tied together, right?

This is probably the way most people get to such a problem: planning so much for what you might want to build down the line that you instead make the user experience less appealing for the functionality you have available right now. In reality, requiring accounts just slowed down the Daily Brief signup process for a lot of people, frustrated others, and turned many off from signing up entirely.

Near the end of 2013, Quartz decided to redesign the email signup and account registration flows in an effort to make them more appealing. But it quickly became obvious that the problem was not about the aesthetics. If Quartz wanted more email subscribers, it would have to make it easier for people to subscribe.

Quartz decided to break off the email signup process from accounts entirely. Accounts would now govern its annotations product and any other features down the road that truly demand an account.

Since it rolled out the new system on February 19, the daily subscriber rate has doubled, even on weekends when activity dips considerably. Users can now sign up via “in-stream units” or through the Daily Brief landing page. Of the people that view that page, a full 60 percent of them now go on to subscribe.

Read more here.

Bloomberg TV online

Bloomberg TV launches on Amazon Fire TV

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Bloomberg Television announced Wednesday that it will have an application for Amazon Fire TV.

Bloomberg is the only live 24/7 business news channel on Fire TV.

Oke Okaro, global head and general manager mobile and connected devices at Bloomberg, writes:

Bloomberg on Amazon Fire TV gives users an extensive library of on-demand programming (including digital originals), a live 24/7 stream of Bloomberg Television and a live stream of select live events. The on-demand programming includes content packages for big news events, digital originals and popular shows like Bloomberg West, Charlie Rose, Brink, Bloomberg Surveillance, Game Changers and many more. With the tap of one button, users can easily add videos to their playlist and not only access them on their TV but also across any device (TV, mobile, websites). This is especially important to our audience of global users since more than 50 percent of them use 2 or more of our platforms to consume content.

Rapid and continuous innovation has always been a centerpiece of everything we do at Bloomberg. We see the release of the Bloomberg app on Amazon Fire TV as another step in that direction for the connected TV platform. According to a January 2014 eMarketer report, shipments of over-the-top devices will total nearly 2.7 billion units by 2017, amounting to an impressive increase of 86 percent between 2012 and 2017. We are extremely well positioned to take advantage of this rapidly emerging consumer trend, and our strategy is to utilize our advantages to pursue innovative direct streaming, over-the-top and on-demand experiences and disrupt our competitors through these new distribution platforms.

WSJ Facebook

How the Wall Street Journal beats competitors on social media

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Christopher Ratcliff of Econsultancy writes about The Wall Street Journal‘s strategy of engaging with its readers using Twitter and Facebook, resulting in more followers than rivals Bloomberg News and the Financial Times.

Ratcliff writes, “WSJ was the first to break the story of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death on 2 February and during the course of the evening the WSJ website experienced major technical difficulties.

“Heron and other reporters claim to have answered as many of the thousands of users’ questions as they possibly could within a fairly small window of time, and did so from their personal Twitter accounts.

“Although I would criticise the fact that WSJ doesn’t seem to engage with its Twitter followers and Facebook commenters as the above above quote suggests. There’s very little engagement to be found scrolling through the last two weeks of output.

“It seems WSJ has nailed how to broadcast effectively on social media, but isn’t quite practicing what it preaches yet on the ‘human touch’.”

Read more here.

Sports & Cats

The Wall Street Journal, sports and cats

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The Wall Street Journal‘s sports desk has started a video segment called “Sports & Cats” and calls it a “hard hitting series.”

In the first episode, sports columnist Jason Gay previews Super Bowl XLVIII with guests Geoff Foster and Baxter the Cat.

Baxter is described as a domestic short hair. He appeared on the show from a live remote near MetLife Stadium, the site of the Super Bowl.

Said Gay: “Sports and Cats is a longtime passion project for Geoff, Marshall and myself. Discussed for months, it became a reality this week after an intense and briefly scratchy session videotaping my family cat, Baxter. We intend to submit for Pulitzer consideration next year.”

Marshall is Marshall Crook, a Journal video producer.

FT Flipboard

The FT and its digital strategy

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Graham Hinchly, the engineering manager at FT Labs, writes about the business newspaper’s digital first strategy and the technology behind it.

Hinchly writes:

Clearly at the FT, we decided that the advantages of a Web app outweighed the advantages of a native app, and we still believe this is the case.

The Web app is a key part of our strategy, and we invested significantly in it in 2013, fundamentally re-architecting and re-designing the app to give us a product that we can continue to innovate and build on.

For me, two lessons stand out, which I think are applicable to any news or media organisation, regardless of size.

Firstly, the success of the Web app has proved to be a vital component in moving the FT to a “mobile-first” approach (although this journey is not yet complete). Encouraging people throughout the organisation to participate in trials of new versions of the Web app has been a particular success for us, engaging a much wider variety of people with mobile and digital.

Whether you’re at a point where you’re advocating “digital-first” or “mobile-first” in your organisation, it’s important that someone is responsible for advocating this throughout the organisation. Developing an innovative product in-house makes this job much easier.

Read more here.
Bloomberg Video

Bloomberg passes Yahoo in video streams

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Bloomberg beat Yahoo Finance in December in video streams for the first time ever, according to comScore Video Metrix.

Bloomberg had 34.7 million streams in December, a four fold increase year-over-year and a 31 percent increase month-over-month. Bloomberg.com unique visitors increased nearly 25 percent year-over-year in December, with 40 percent of the site’s audience watching video.

Yahoo Finance had 26.4 million streams in December, a 25 percent decline from November.  In November, Bloomberg had 26.4 million streams, and Yahoo had 35.3 million.

Bloomberg Media Group started a large video push in early 2012 to become a “digital-first” newsroom, leveraging its television operations and a team of technologists to create a digital video desk that produces more than 200 videos a day.

Bloomberg plans to continue to add more video content because it attracts advertisers.

FT Samsung Smart TV app

Financial Times launches Samsung Smart TV app

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Financial Times videos are now available via an application to televisions viewers who have a Samsung Smart TV.

The app shows the latest FT video, including analysis and coverage of stories and issues in politics, business and finance. It also broadcasts culture and lifestyle features and a text scroller of the latest FT news headlines.

“We see great demand for our video content on FT.com, YouTube and through our mobile apps — video views in 2013 were up 12%,” said FT.com managing director Rob Grimshaw in a statement. “Television extends our journalism to the ‘digital living room’, further demonstrating our commitment to subscribers by delivering content through new channels.”

Added FT head of video, Veronica Kan-Dapaah: “This development reflects the exciting opportunities for journalism created by new technologies. Our writers on the ground across the world – from Somaliland to Wall Street – can respond to breaking news events with live footage using smartphones. At the same time, our team of video journalists collaborate with the FT’s expert writers to provide deep analysis with outstanding production standards. Video allows the FT audience to see the faces and hear the voices behind the headlines that are driving the global economy, international business and politics.”

The app also gives the Financial Times the ability to sell advertising in a new medium.

Forbes Stream

Forbes launches social media “stream”

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Forbes on Monday unveiled “Stream,” a feature that allows readers to save, share and discover visual content from the magazine and Forbes.com, reports Gavin O’Malley of Media Daily News.

O’Malley writes, “Lewis DVorkin, Forbes Media chief product officer, said Stream is a response to two key trends that continue to redefine media: a shift toward content streams like those of Twitter and Facebook, and a shift away from text.

“‘The news experience and site navigation is moving away from home pages and article pages to streams — and from text-based streams to visual streams,’ DVorkin said on Monday.

“Stream should also please many an advertiser, DVorkin added. ‘Stream [allows] editorial content and eventually native advertising, always clearly labeled, to live together in ways that create an immersive environment for consumers.’

“Rather than existing in a social vacuum, however, Stream will also let readers share Forbes fare via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Evernote as well as via email and iMessages.

“Recipients will see the visual clip from Forbes, which serves as a link back to the source of that content.”

Read more here.

WSj web

WSJ editor Baker: Digital transformation coming in 2014

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Wall Street Journal managing editor Gerard Baker sent out the following message to the staff about changes in store in 2014:

As we prepare to ring in the New Year, I wanted to offer my warmest appreciation for all your work in 2013 and to signal our principal objectives for 2014.

It has been a year of transition. At the start of the year, we began executing the final phase of the integration of the Dow Jones Newswires and Wall Street Journal editorial teams. The process is now largely complete and more than 1,800 journalists produce news across all platforms in real time, digitally and in print, for institutional clients and for consumers. Our emphasis on specialization and real-time news gathering is paying off: we have an impressive list of scoops to show for it.

We have achieved our principal ambition – to lead the world in reporting accurately, fairly and objectively on the most important economic, business and financial news. But we have continued to expand our reach by producing some of the best coverage anywhere of broader general, political, international and cultural news and events, and we have published some of the most memorable enterprise journalism in the world.

We have led the way in reporting and analyzing the biggest news stories of the year. No summary account can capture the full compass of our achievements but here’s my own incomplete list:

The Federal Reserve changed policy course and leadership and we were the first to report both, and followed up with the most accurate analysis and interpretation of the economic and financial causes and consequences. As bond, equity, currency and commodity markets around the world grappled with the implications of the Fed’s moves, our reporting and analysis on newswires, Moneybeat, Marketwatch and in the Journal were second to none.

We broke the news of one of the largest corporate deals in history, Verizon’s buyout of Vodafone’s stake in their joint wireless subsidiary. We led the way in coverage of the government’s sustained pursuit of financial institutions, especially the insider trading case against SAC and the multi-pronged enforcement actions over banks’ manipulation of Libor. We were consistently timely and spot-on with our coverage of the healing US real-estate market. Our coverage of the continuing energy revolution in the US that is reshaping global economic and geopolitics was peerless. We covered the turbulence in emerging markets with intelligence and judgment and we reported faithfully and insightfully on the changes in China’s economic and political landscape and on Japan’s continuing struggle to emerge from two decades of stagnation.

We broke big news in the major national and international topics of the year – from the travails of Obamacare to the federal government shutdown, the war in Syria and its fallout in Washington and around the world, the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath, the resignation of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis, and the Supreme Court term that – among other landmark decisions – declared same-sex marriage constitutional. Our coverage of Greater New York – especially the New York City mayoral election – was consistently lively and influential.

And of course we produced genuinely groundbreaking works of enterprise journalism. Among the highlights: Trials, an examination of families seeking a cure for desperately sick children; The Lobotomy Files, about the traumas facing WWII vets; and a series of pieces on the challenges facing women in India in the wake of the Delhi rape cases.

These last stories were memorable not just because of their powerful storytelling but because of the way they explored the full possibilities offered by digital journalism.

Our features journalism has never been better: from Personal Journal’s thrice-weekly zeitgeist-forming coverage of everything from personal health to food tastes to the etiquette of office behavior (I hope you have all absorbed the career possibilities afforded by the adoption of the correct power pose). Arena has broadened and deepened our cultural awareness with especially fine and world-leading coverage this year of fine art and books as well as music, television and theatre. Our own Mansion sits at the intersection of cool and smart, and represents the most desirable neighborhood in the world of real estate journalism. Off Duty reasserted its status as the indispensable guide to intelligent and rewarding consumption (bespoke chinos, anyone?) and Review produced thought-provoking, stimulating and often highly entertaining arguments and essays on everything from (mock) advice to new graduates to the case for breaking the strict rules of modern pregnancy.

Meanwhile WSJ Magazine had its most successful year ever, highlighted by the strange and awesome commingling of Gisele Bundchen and Daft Punk. And who amongst us who has even the most casual acquaintance with human physical exertion can now live without the Journal’s Sports coverage; wise, humorous and increasingly global in its scope.

The A-hed continues to be journalism’s best showcase of the quirky, the touching and the downright weird in life: among this year’s finest of the genre, the feline Alaskan mayor rapidly running out of his nine lives.

In video we produced a highly successful series – Start Up of the Year – that some likened (inaccurately but promisingly) to a popular reality show, as well as many memorable productions that enhanced our best journalism and increasingly stood alone as testaments to what can be achieved with powerful visual journalism. The same can be said for radio where we continued to produce lively news coverage on multiple platforms.

The next year will present new opportunities for us to demonstrate the excellence of our reporting and to show our professional agility. As the company continues to roll out DJX, our corporate leadership’s new product for institutional clients, the demand on us in the newsroom to be first with premium stories of economic, financial and corporate importance will grow. And of course we will lead the world in more scoops, better analysis and most penetrating enterprise journalism.

But most important, as I have signaled, in 2014 we will effect no less than a digital transformation of the Journal.

We’ve come a long way in digital journalism in the past year. We’ve presented some of our best journalism in unique ways online. We’ve built a real-time focused news team and will soon revamp our filing and editing to improve the flow of real-time news. We’ve begun work on a major digital politics & policy initiative in Washington, D.C. We’ve hired more visual journalists. We’ve begun making social media and real-time coverage a more central part of the newsroom. We’ve added strength to our search team. And we’ve planned – and begun hiring–for the launch of several major digital initiatives.

Tomorrow, we step up the pace. At midnight, we will welcome WSJD, our new home for vastly expanded coverage of technology and all things digital. We will shortly follow that with the launch of a new iPad edition, and then with a complete redesign of WSJ.com in the spring. We will launch a new digital home, complete with additional digital and reporting staff, for our politics and policy coverage. And we will do the same for coverage of the global economy, markets and finance, arts & entertainment, and China, among others.

Digital and real-time news will truly become the heart of the newsroom, and we’ll make further changes to our newsroom in order to achieve that. The format and focus of our news meeting will change. We’ll add new skills and capabilities to our headquarters but also to bureaus, including new data journalists.

In 2014 we will celebrate the Journal’s 125th anniversary. It will be a fitting time to rededicate ourselves to the task of producing the finest, most reliable journalism, executed for a modern audience in a contemporary way.

I wish you and your families a happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year and I look forward to working with you all as we take Dow Jones and the Journal to new successes in 2014.

Reuters and Twitter

Reuters journalists double Twitter usage

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Journalists at Reuters more than doubled their usage of Twitter in 2013, according to data from Muck Rake.

Gregory Galant, the CEO of Muck Rack, notes that 238 Reuters journalists were using Twitter in 2012. That number increased to 496 in 2013.

In addition, CNBC anchor Melissa Lee was the journalist who started a Twitter feed in 2013 and received the largest number of followers, with more than 19,000. Lionel Barber, the Financial Times editor who started a Twitter feed in 2013, was third with more than 11,900 followers.

See all of the data here.