I’m quoted throughout this FoxNews article on how a handful of movies have reached the $1 billion mark at the box office and how other movies can do likewise. It was a fun conversation with the reporter and the finished product is pretty cool so go check it out for yourself.
Believe me – I’ve been at this long enough to tell you that everyone’s all hot on Twitter right now but in two years it will be down to a few core users when all the SOS (Shiny Object Seeking) people have moved on to whatever is, well, new and shiny.
Much of the discussion about how to make newspapers more relevant to the audience – especially on the web, where they have to compete against bloggers and aggregators – has focused on the idea of hyper-local. In order to survive, the thinking is, papers need to get their online coverage fast, nimble and focused on the immediate geographic region they serve. That’s completely valid and a good place for papers to start.
But the idea of “community” should not be limited in scope to the physical world.
Here’s what I’m thinking of: Traditional media companies are – and always have been – perfectly positioned to become ad networks of their own.
One of the big failings of the traditional media has always been their inability to sell advertising on the web. They under-priced it at the outset because they saw it as an add-on to, not a unique offering from, the print edition. That underpricing has hampered their efforts to make money from online ads and is leading to much of their current difficulty.
But imagine, for instance, if The Chicago Tribune took the blogs it brings together on ChicagosBestBlogs.com and said to them it wanted to sell advertising space for them. It’s not going to edit or direct them editorially, it just wants to sell ads on those sites in the same way any ad network does. The Trib gets a cut of the sales and the publisher, who is able to retain their independence and keep doing what they’re doing, gets a cut.
The Tribune would add a whole bunch of hyper-local content on which to sell ads. It already has the infrastructure and connections to get local advertisers. So a South Side-focused blog gets targeted ads that will be relevant to their audience and the advertiser gets access to an audience that is, quite literally, within blocks of their business.
Now take this scenario and play it out not only geographically but within topic area. Look at a Hollywood trade pub like Variety for instance. It could build a network of blogs that complement its own editorial content and sell ads on those sites, again with everyone getting a cut. Under the arrangement it gets significantly expanded coverage – especially into niche areas (movie marketing, for instance) – that it normally wouldn’t. The bloggers get the exposure that comes with being associated with Variety and Variety gets additional pageviews to sell ads on.
The thing is, I don’t think there’s a blogger out there that wouldn’t be willing to say, “Sure! You sell ads for my site. Go for it. And you can send me traffic by pulling my feed into a page on your site with excerpts and links back for people to read the whole thing.”
Traditional media companies don’t have to cede any ground to online-only pubs and bloggers. They have resources to do reporting, sell advertising and do dozens of other things that part-time bloggers just don’t. Working with them and building their own communities around either geography or topic area has benefits for everyone that aren’t being taken advantage of.
Dems gloat after Rush awards himself sole custody of Steele’s testicles.
Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer to tour as themselves (as opposed to as Spinal Tap or The Folksmen) this year.