Tag Archives: New technology
by Chris Roush
“Hinton, who is also chief executive of News Corp’s Dow Jones unit, said the figures were surprising and showed how even though consumers have many choices online, they are willing to pay to read certain content on tablets.
“‘The actual proliferation of these things is so rapid,’ he said of the devices. “‘What surprised us is that other periodicals than ours (also) seem to be getting good traction’ for their own tablet content.
“Dow Jones counted about 50,000 paid Wall Street Journal tablet subscribers a year ago.”
Read more here.
FT Alphaville will launch Friday the first U.S. edition of its popular British real-time service, “Markets Live.”
The U.S. version will be different from the daily chat hosted by Neil Hume and Bryce Elder in London.
It will take place every Friday at 10 a.m. EST and will be hosted by FT Alphaville’s New York correspondents, Cardiff Garcia and John McDermott.
As with the British edition, Garcia and McDermott will look at share price moves and other financial asset news, dip into analyst commentary, and engage in the usual banter with the Rabble on the Right.
They’ll also include a recap of each week’s economic indicators and survey the week’s big economic events from around the world. The conversation will frequently feature FT colleagues in Europe, along with business journalists from FT Tilt for emerging markets analysis.
Read more here.
The Wall Street Journal announced Wednesday that a “WSJ House of the Day” app for iPad is now available for free from the App Store.
Based on the popular “House of the Day” feature from WSJ.com, the new app takes users inside sleek, modern homes, urban renovations, sprawling McMansions and historic estates from across the United States.
The “House of the Day” app allows users to tour featured homes with vivid slideshows for a close and inside look at architecture, landscaping and design details; share the latest houses on Facebook and Twitter or e-mail photos to friends; and save images to the photos folder on the iPad or within the app.
The WSJ House of the Day app is available as a free, stand-alone app from the App Store on iPad. Dedicated sections for homes in New York City, Europe and Asia will be added to the app in the coming weeks.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Bill Freehling, a business reporter at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star in Virginia, is part of a business journalism experiment.
Last month, Freehling began producing a daily business news e-mail that goes out to people who sign up. Such e-mails are common among business news operations, but what makes Freehling’s situation different is that he is getting a percentage of the revenue produced by the advertising in the e-mail.
If successful, the arrangement could become common on other business news desks as traditional media organizations seek ways to compensate employees for additional work that competes with new media such as blogs and other forms of alternative delivery.
Freehling has been with the paper since 2004 and became a business reporter in 2007. Previously, he had stints at The Outer Banks Sentinel in Nags Head, N.C., and The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Va.
Freehling, who received an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and a master’s from UNC-Chapel Hill, talked with Talking Biz News via e-mail on Tuesday morning about his job and his financial arrangement with his newspaper. What follows is an edited transcript. The picture below shows him on Wall Street in New York.
How did you get interested in business reporting?
My father taught me about investing and gave me a little money to play with in the stock market. I’ve been interested ever since. I started reading voraciously about investing and business in 2004ish when I decided I wanted to handle my own finances. I started writing a column on personal finance and investing for The Free Lance-Star sometime around 2007, and when a full-time opening came up on the business team later that year I jumped in.
How big is the Fredericksburg business desk?
Not big. We have an editor and two full-time reporters, myself being one of them. We also get occasional contributions from other writers.
What types of stories are you covering on a daily basis?
I do most of the local data-tracking stories — taxable sales, vehicle registrations, unemployment rates, housing, building permits, vacancy rates, etc. I write a good bit about real estate both on the commercial and residential sides. I cover new businesses coming to the region. I track bankruptcies, civil court cases, patents won and a host of other minutiae that serves the die-hard readers. I also cover a lot of trend stories and have a column on investing. In other words, it pretty well runs the gamut.
How do you decide what goes in the paper and what you blog?
It’s always a challenge. I typically use the blog for breaking news that will later be developed into a newspaper article. I also use the blog for posting data, documents, photos, video and others things that lend themselves to that medium. Just about any story of consequence that is mentioned on my blog will also go in the paper in a longer, more-developed form.
You’re also producing a daily e-mail. What goes into that?
I just started that — Fredericksburg Business Insider — in late January. It involves four sections — local business news, Virginia and DC, national and international, and entrepreneurship and personal finance. Every day (early in the morning, I send it by 7 a.m.), I load relevant stories, descriptions and URLs into the e-mail. So I am always mindful of what content I have for the next day, and it motivates me to produce more items myself that I can link to.
Tell me about the financial arrangement you have with the paper regarding the e-mail.
I don’t want to get into the details, but I will say I have an incentive arrangement whereby I make a percentage of the revenue from the product on top of my base salary. It is akin to a commission structure.
How did you get them to agree to that?
I basically proposed it as a low-risk way for them to add revenue to the bottom line. I didn’t ask for or want any salary increase for the additional workload. I just wanted to benefit off any new revenue that my hard work was bringing the company. If it prospered, we both benefited. If it didn’t prosper, nobody was out anything. The executive committee agreed to it.
Are there other ways you can make additional income in partnership with the paper?
Not right now, but perhaps in the future.
It seems like you’re doing a lot every day. How do you prioritize?
It seems like that to me also. I basically try to do as much as I can, but I always make producing content the focus. That is my primary job, and if I don’t do it well the newspaper, blog and e-mail are worse for it. From about 5 a.m. until 7 a.m. each weekday, I focus on producing the e-mail.
Do you think such arrangements are the future for newspapers?
I think they play a role, definitely. I think such a structure attracts people with an entrepreneurial spirit who want to be rewarded based on performance. I think incentives drive excellence in all work environments, and there is no reason reporters can’t be in that same boat. I don’t think all reporters need to enter into these type of arrangements. There are many fantastic reporters who aren’t interested in this sort of thing. But I do think it should be part of newspapers’ arsenals.
I think newspapers have a tremendous opportunity to spin off these types of niche products to targeted audiences. Judging from our experience in the first month, they are very well received both by advertisers and subscribers. If newspapers don’t do these sorts of products, their competitors likely will. But papers have huge advantages over start-ups — including trusted brand names, institutional knowledge, marketing heft and large staffs that know how to do everything needed to get these digital products up and running.
I think the fact that my company is independent and family-owned contributed to its willingness to give this a shot. In a bigger, publicly traded company there would have been more red tape standing in the way.
Wired editor in chief Chris Anderson spoke at Columbia University on Thursday, and he noted that the magazine puts stuff on its covers to sell copies and that its iPad app sales have fallen since it was first introduced.
Zeke Turner of Women’s Wear Daily writes, “Wired’s iPad app hasn’t been performing as well as it did at launch, though. Now it’s reaching about 20,000 to 30,000 readers a month, he said, showing the students a bar graph of sales through December. The first issue of Wired on the iPad sold more than 100,000 copies, but those numbers are down more than 70 percent.
“‘I think it’s going to stay there until subscriptions are announced,’ he explained. ‘You may ask, when is that going to happen and how is that going to happen, but I won’t be able to talk about it.
“‘Clearly, we’re in a holding pattern now waiting for Google and Apple and others,’ Anderson continued. He mentioned that he wasn’t able to comment on negotiations with Apple over different subscription programs three times during his speech and the question-and-answer period after. He said he’d like to see the iPad app offered to Wired print subscribers at a 100 percent discount. ‘Lack of a [subscription] offer: number-one issue,’ he said. ‘Drives people crazy, drives us crazy.’”
Read more here.
Sean Callahan of BtoB Magazine writes about the success of media that have been at the forefront of rolling out applications for smart phones and tablets.
Callahan writes, “Since its debut, the Journal’s app has had about 1.1 million downloads, said Mark Fishkin, VP-digital sales for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. The app updates with new content every 15 minutes, and about half of the app’s regular paid users visit it daily, he said.
“Pearson’s Financial Times rolled out its app last May, and it already has had 480,000 downloads. ‘We’re seeing [the app] drive our new digital subscribers,’ said Stephen Pinches, group product manager-emerging technologies for FT. ‘Over 10% of FT.com’s new digital subscribers are coming directly from the iPad.’
“Additionally, advertising on the iPad generates 20 times more click-throughs for FT than similar ads on the Web. ‘That’s huge,’ said Jon Slade, global digital and strategic advertising sales director for FT, who said the elevated click-throughs came not from the novelty of the iPad but from the nature of how people interact with the device. While Web users search for a specific piece of information, print readers are more engaged with the entire product, including ads.
“The Economist launched an app late last year, and while it includes video and audio attributes, it is essentially the weekly magazine transferred to the iPad. Oscar Grut, managing director of digital editions for The Economist, said the goal was to not muddy the magazine reading experience with constant news updates from the Web. ‘What our readers tell us is that they like that there’s a beginning and an end; there’s a ‘finishability’ to the experience,’ he said.”
Read more here.
Ellie Behling of eMediaVitals.com writes about the panel at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week that discussed how the financial news media use Twitter and social media.
Behling writes, “In some ways, financial news sites have been more forward-thinking in digital and social than one might expect. After all, an affluent audience tending to be early adopters of devices like the iPad have made traditional financial sites focus on a digital strategy. While a financial reporter at my previous job, I learned quickly that financial folks love to tweet.
“At the same time, many financial media sites move forward in much more orchestrated and constrained ways than other media outlets — not unlike the firms they cover, which often have to be cautious for compliance concerns.
“Take Bloomberg, which recently made its first social media hire in Robert Harles as the company’s global head of social media. Harles calls social media at Bloomberg an ‘experiment’ in figuring out how to inject social media into a company with a history of accuracy.
“‘My first objective is to do no harm,’ he said. You can ignore social media or you can own it, he added, and so Harles wants to own it, figuring out how to best incorporate social media for Bloomberg’s customers. He also said he wants to involve the content producers in the process. ‘I cast my role as a catalyst,’ he said.”
Read more here.
Jennifer Saba of Reuters writes that Financial Times chief executive officer John Riding said Friday that sales of the paper on iPad and other mobile applications are driving about 20 percent of its new online subscriptions.
Saba writes, “Ridding, who was speaking at an investor conference in New York on Thursday, said, ‘The rapid emergence of tablet devices is a potentially profound development for publishers.’ The FT’s iPad app had been downloaded 480,000 times, up from 430,000 downloads at the end of November.
“Pearson PLC’s FT allows people to read a set number of articles on its website each month before asking for a fee.
“Newspaper and magazine publishers are turning to the iPad and other tablet devices to help revive their business, which have been beset by declining advertising revenue and readership.”
Read more here.
The Financial Post, a business magazine in Canada, has launched an iPad application.
A brief on the Vancouver Sun site states, “The Financial Post Magazine App takes full advantage of iPad’s large, high-resolution display and innovative Multi Touch interface, delivering an enhanced reading experience with exclusive embedded multimedia content including video, photo galleries and timelines. The app also includes Financial Post’s award-winning editorial content and features.
“The first edition of the Financial Post Magazine for iPad is highlighted by the annual ‘Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year’ feature.
“‘The content and design of the Financial Post Magazine App was a natural fit for the functionality and interactivity of iPad,’ said National Post Publisher Douglas Kelly. ‘We received positive feedback for our first National Post App and our audience clearly wanted the innovation to keep coming.’