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Nielsen contenido generado por el usuario

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Contenidos generados por usuarios

Contenidos generados por usuarios


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  • 1. June 2008 digital edge report Engaging Users: User-Generated Content and Tools for Newspapers A Snapshot of Today and Prospects for the Future By Greg Martire Managing Partner Clark, Martire and Bartolomeo www.cmbinc.com NAA Staff Acknowledgements: Editors: Beth Lawton, Randy Bennett & Sally Clarke © 2008 the Newspaper Association of America. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior, written permission of the Newspaper Association of America.
  • 2. June 2008 Engaging Users: User-Generated Content and Web Tools A Snapshot of Today and Prospects for the Future By Greg Martire, Managing Partner Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo Inc. NAA: Beth Lawton, Randy Bennett and Sally Clarke, editors Table of Contents Executive Summary ............................................................................................................. 2 1. Overview of Results ......................................................................................................... 5 Methodology .............................................................................................................................. 19 2. Types of UGC and User Engagement Tools.................................................................... 20 User comments/reviews ............................................................................................................ 20 Blogs ............................................................................................................................................ 23 Online Photo/video sharing....................................................................................................... 26 Online message boards .............................................................................................................. 29 Social networking ....................................................................................................................... 31 Podcasts ...................................................................................................................................... 34 RSS ............................................................................................................................................... 37 Article Saving & Sharing ............................................................................................................ 39 3. Opinion Pieces.................................................................................................................. 44 4. About the Authors ........................................................................................................... 50
  • 3. Executive Summary User-generated content (UGC) provides an enormous opportunity for newspapers to grow and engage new audiences and ultimately drive revenue. UGC represents a wide range of topics and includes social networking sites, blogs, user-generated reviews/comments, etc., and some experts expect UGC to grow exponentially in the next few years. According to Accenture’s April 2007 study of industry executives, the rapid growth of user-generated content is one of the biggest threats facing the media and entertainment industries. However, with proper promotion and enhancements, respondents to these surveys indicated they are interested in engaging with UGC on their local newspaper’s Web site. NAA has sponsored this research with the goal of better understanding the current role of UGC in consumers’ lives, as well as the nature of the opportunity. The study was conducted in two phases: Phase One: Telephone Survey The first phase, based on a telephone survey of five markets, focused on providing a current snapshot of the interests and behavior of Internet users in the area of user-generated content generally and on newspaper sites. Phase Two: Online Survey Phase Two, conducted online in the same five markets, involved exposing Internet users to current and potential user-generated content. It is more forward-looking and explores the potential for growth. (For methodology details, see p. 21.) Key Study Take-Aways • At this time, UGC Web site usage is relatively low, and newspaper Web site UGC usage is even lower. Usage varies considerably by content type, however even the most popular types of UGC – user reviews and photo sharing – have been used by less than one-third of Internet users in the past month. • Familiarity appears to be the primary barrier for general UGC usage, with only half or fewer of all Internet users having solid familiarity with even the most popular types of UGC. In addition, promotion for newspaper Web sites appears to be very limited, as the majority of the Web-enabled audience is largely unaware of newspaper UGC offerings. • As a result, UGC is not yet a major driver of newspaper Web site visits. However, after reading descriptions of specific types of content, UGC is generally considered quite appealing by a large segment of respondents, and appeal ratings for newspaper Web site content was nearly equivalent for most tested content types. These findings suggest that UGC could be a significant draw for newspaper Web sites. • The Web-enabled market indicates sharply higher usage intent once they are exposed to newspapers’ current offerings, again suggesting that promotion is key. However, current usage of UGC on newspaper Web sites is very low, drawing only a small fraction of those using UGC generally. • Potential newspaper UGC usage is even higher when the content enhancements respondents find most appealing are included. This research offers several types of improvements that respondents 2
  • 4. found interesting, with much of these related to specific blog topics and user comments/reviews options. Most Appealing Newspaper UGC Enhancements The following are the content and feature enhancements that respondents see as most appealing for newspaper UGC among all Web-enabled adults, including those who were previously unfamiliar with local offerings. The top tier blog topics earned the most appeal, with approximately 1 in 5 Web- enabled adults expressing strong interest in news, politics, traffic and weather. User reviews of restaurants, services and products also garnered interest from about 20 percent of all respondents, as does video feeds from the newsroom and on location. Top 5 Most Appealing Enhancements Comments/ Blogs Photo/Video Message Boards Reviews • User reviews of • Live video feeds from the • The ability to flag • News/current events local restaurants newsroom and on location objectionable posts • The ability to choose to • The ability to filter out the • User reviews of • National politics view photos in a gallery or posts of particular board local services slideshow members • The ability to search for • The ability to hide or view all • User reviews of • Traffic/weather photos by user, subject, posts on a given article or products date, etc blog • User reviews of • Forwarding of photos on to • The ability to send private • Local public affairs local shops other users messages/comments • User reviews of • A ranked listing of the Most • The ability to read a short • Food movies popular photos profile of each contributor Social Networking Podcasts RSS Feeds • Read or post reviews of local • Local breaking news • World news restaurants, services, etc. • Read the profiles of others • Local traffic conditions • Local news • Post or view personal photo • Reviews of local events or • National news galleries restaurants • Create and post a profile of • Best bets for things to do this • Technology myself weekend • Read or post to a community • RSS Feeds from other sources • Local entertainment events calendar besides newspapers Source: Phase II The larger opportunity that exists for blogs and user reviews/comments appears to be linked to users’ perceived role of the newspaper Web site. When asked, the Web-enabled market indicated substantially higher interest in user reviews/guides and blogs when they were offered by their newspaper Web site. That is, these are content areas where the newspaper brand offers real advantages. 3
  • 5. Areas of Greatest Opportunity for Newspaper UGC Opportunities for additional UGC that are especially interesting within a newspaper Web site context were also tested. Items that generate both a strong amount of interest generally and are preferably found on a newspaper Web site are those representing the greatest opportunity. Of those tested, the best areas for growth seem to lie with local guides: User-edited guides to local businesses and local events generated the highest interest of all tested features, and being on newspaper Web site has a substantially positive impact on interest in these features. Journalist blogs and free downloads of local bands also represent opportunities with a strong newspaper Web site impact. UGC Interest vs. Newspaper Site Impact 60 User-edited guides to cal businesses HIGHER User-edited guides to local % Interested OPPORTUNITY events In UGC Type Extremely/Very/Interested User comments on articles written by journalists Blogs or journals written by AVG= journalists Free downloads of music by 31 Photo-sharing features Article-saving features local bands User comments on blogs written by journalists Video-sharing features Podcasts Prizes for users who Blogs or journals written by Articles written by users contribute popular content User Social networking features User comments on blogs Article-sharing features Written by RSS feeds 15 +35 -25 0 Net Impact of Newspaper Site on Interest* Source: Phase I * Net Impact = % More Interested in UGC Type if Delivered by Newspaper Site - % Less Interested 4
  • 6. Overview of Results I. General UGC Familiarity, Usage and Appeal Familiarity Though user generated content has become an increasingly popular component of the Internet over the last several years, the majority of Internet users are still not yet fully conversant with this type of technology. When asked about their familiarity with UGC in general and on an unaided basis, Internet users in the five markets surveyed tend to express relatively low-to-moderate levels of awareness. Just fewer than 1 out of 2 Internet users indicate familiarity with the leading types of UGC. Naturally, familiarity varies considerably by content type: • User reviews/comments and photo-sharing garner the highest level of familiarity, with roughly half of all respondents being familiar. • On the other end of the spectrum, respondents reported significantly less familiarity with wikis, video-sharing and social networking Web sites (approximately 1 in 3). Unaided Familiarity with UGC Types User reviews and comments on 18% 32% 50% various web sites 46% Photo-sharing web site 16% 30% Message boards or community 42% 16% 26% forums Extremely/Very familiar 41% Familiar Blogs and online journals 13% 28% 34% Social networking Web sites 12% 22% 34% Video-sharing Web sites 11% 22% 28% "Wikis" or collaborative, shared 10% 18% knowledge web sites Source: Phase I • Familiarity proves to be somewhat more widespread when respondents are provided a definition of each type of content. When asked to read a description of each, Phase II respondents’ familiarity with the tested content types proved to be at least marginally higher. 5
  • 7. Familiarity with UGC Types after Exposure to Concept Description User reviews/comments 23% 37% 60% Message boards or community forums 25% 30% 55% Blogs and online journals 19% 35% 54% Photo/video sharing 19% 32% 51% Extremely/Very familiar Familiar Social networking websites 19% 26% 45% Podcasts 12% 20% 32% Article Sharing 6% 14% 20% RSS Feeds 7% 12% 19% Article Saving 5% 10% 15% Source: Phase II • This effect of exposure to description of each UGC type was most pronounced for message boards and blogs, both increasing to over 1 in 2 respondents. Photo/ Comments/ Message Social Video Blogs Reviews Boards Networking Sharing Unaided Familiarity 50% 46% 42% 41% 34% Aided Familiarity 60% 51% 55% 54% 45% % Increase: +10% +5% +13% +13% +11% • Even with this sizable bump in familiarity, these levels indicate that UGC in general is just not very familiar to most Internet users. It is also worth noting that the user-generated content types garnering the least awareness tend to be those most related to specifically news- oriented content: article sharing/article saving features and RSS feeds are familiar to less than one quarter of all respondents. General Usage of UGC Web sites and Features The following three pages discuss respondents’ usage of UGC in general, not that of newspaper Web sites specifically. In light of the relatively low levels of familiarity described above, actual usage of UGC Web sites is reasonably strong. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents indicate that they have used some type of UGC Web site in the past, and 6 in 10 (59 percent) have done so in the past month. Photo sharing, user reviews, blogs and message board Web sites tend to have the broadest use. 6
  • 8. Social networking, wikis and video sharing are used by a smaller percentage of Internet users. General UGC Usage Ever 68% Average Number of UGC Types Ever Past Month 59% Used: 2.3 42% 41% 39% 37% 29% 31% 29% 28% 26% 24% 24% 21% 19% 19% Any Photo Sharing Comments/ Message Blogs Video Sharing Wiki/Shared Social Reviews Boards knowledge Networking Source: Phase I Additionally, the vast majority of those familiar with each type of UGC actually use this type of content with some degree of regularity. More than two-thirds (76 percent) of those familiar with a specific content type report visiting a Web site that offers this feature in the past month. This reinforces the notion that UGC usage is limited more by awareness and familiarity than by the quality of the content. Past Month Use of UGC Type Among Total Among Those Familiar 76% 70% 70% 71% 64% 64% 66% 67% 59% 29% 31% 29% 28% 21% 19% 19% Any Photo Sharing Comments/ Message Blogs Video Sharing Wiki/Shared Social Reviews Boards knowledge Networking Source: Phase I 7
  • 9. Most Popular UGC Topics For both blogs and photo/video sharing, the most widely viewed content types are related to news and current events. User comments and reviews are used most for researching books, electronics and movies. Blogs Photo/Video Comments/Reviews • News and current events • News or current events • Books • Personal photos or videos • Traffic or weather • Consumer electronics from family or friends • Food, including recipes, • Traffic or weather • Movies or DVDs restaurants, or wine • Entertainment including • National politics or music, movies, books or • Food, recipes, or wine elections television • Shopping or consumer • Specific brands of any • Politics or elections tips and reviews product Source: Phase I Contributors vs. Passive Users UGC content varies widely in the extent to which it fosters “posting” as opposed to “lurking.” Approximately 4 in 10 Web-enabled adults have posted their own content, with the most common being on message boards and photo-sharing sites. UGC Activity: Visiting vs. Posting 68% Any 39% 42% Photo-sharing 16 % 4 1% User reviews or comments 13 % 39% A message board or community forum 19 % 37% Blog or online journal 13 % 26% Video-sharing 5% Ever Visited 24% "Wiki" or collaborative, shared knowledge Web site 4% Ever Posted 24% Social networking 12 % Source: Phase1 8
  • 10. When compared to the total number of visitors of UGC Web sites, posters make up about 6 in 10. Users of social networking and message boards are most likely to contribute their own content, while video sharing and wikis are viewed predominantly by lurkers. Percent of Users Who Post Highest % of Users Posting Moderate % of Users Posting Lowest % of Users Posting ~50% of users 32-38% of users <20% of users • Social networking • Photo sharing • Video sharing • Message boards/ community • Blogs/online journals • “Wikis” forums • User reviews/comments There are also noticeable demographic differences between posters and lurkers. Young adults are much more likely to contribute their own UGC than are older adults, particularly for social networking and blogs. Women, on the other hand, are slightly more likely than men to be exclusively passive users of UGC. Key Demographics of Posters vs. Lurkers Percentage Who Use User-Generated Content Total Posters Lurkers Gender Men 49% 50% 42% Women 51% 50% 58% 100% 100% 100% Age 18-34 18% 23% 6% 35-54 40% 42% 37% 55+ 42% 35% 57% 100% 100% 100% Source: Phase II 9
  • 11. General Appeal of UGC Respondents generally have positive attitudes towards UGC. After reading a brief description of each content type, respondents reported finding several to be very appealing. The most appealing type of UGC proved to be user comments/reviews: 6 in 10 found it appealing, followed by photo/video sharing. Appeal ratings tend to be much higher among those familiar with that type of content, which suggests that driving UGC awareness and familiarity overall will have a positive impact on trial and usage. Appeal of UGC Type Extremely/Very/Somewhat Appealing Among Total 73% Among Those Familiar With Content 67% 60% 60% 61% 54% 56% 50% 48% 49% 45% 43% 39% 33% 32% 29% 29% 27% Comments/ Photo/Video Message Blogs RSS Article Podcasts Article Social Reviews Boards Saving Sharing Networking Source: Phase II Age plays a very strong role in the appeal ratings garnered by all tested content types. Adults ages 18 to 34 give much higher ratings than do older Internet users for nearly all items, though this is particularly the case for social networking, comments/reviews and photo/video sharing. Percent Finding Content Type Appealing Photo/ Comments/ Message Social Article Article Video Blogs Podcasts RSS Reviews Boards Networking Sharing Saving Sharing Men 58% 54 49 46 27 28 37 28 31 Women 62% 54 40 41 27 29 30 30 34 18-34 71% 71 56 52 58 42 34 34 44 35-54 63% 63 51 52 27 35 37 33 36 55+ 51% 38 34 31 13 16 29 23 25 Source: Phase II 10
  • 12. II. Involvement with Newspaper UGC Lags Behind General UGC Levels Up until now, this report has focused on attitudes toward and usage of UGC in general. Newspaper Web site-specific UGC reveals a much different story. Compared to respondents’ use of UGC in general, reported use of UGC on newspaper Web sites is very low. Fewer than 10 percent of all Web-enabled adults have used most types of newspaper Web site UGC in the past month. Newspaper UGC’s greatest weakness are for photo/video sharing and social networking, with just 3 percent of Web-enabled adults using either in the past month. Relative to UGC overall, newspaper sites perform best in blogs, with news and current events being the most widely read blog topics overall, followed by food, politics and shopping. Relative Past Month UGC Usage General UGC Use Newspaper Web Site Use of UGC 31% 29% 29% 28% 21% 19% 19% 13% 7% 8% 8% 3% 3% 3% User Photo Message Blogs Video Social Wikis/Shared Reviews/ Sharing Boards Sharing Networking Knowledge Comments Source: Phase I Posting Content on Newspaper Web Site vs. UGC in General Newspaper Web sites also lag well behind UGC in general in terms of respondents’ posting of original content. Though nearly 4 in 10 (39 percent) report having posted some type of content in the past, only 7 percent have done so on a newspaper Web site. This highlights the fact that newspaper Web sites have ample room for growth among those already using UGC. 11
  • 13. Users Who Have Posted Content Among Total Respondents Have Posted On Newspaper Web Site 7% Have Posted Content Never Posted Elsewhere Content 32% 61% Source: Phase I Reasons for Low Usage of Newspaper Web Site UGC There are a number of factors which cause lower usage rates on newspaper Web sites: • First, usage of newspaper Web sites in general is currently limited to just a portion of the Web- enabled market. Only half report having ever used their local newspaper Web site, while just 1 in 3 (35 percent) have used the local dominant Web site in the past month. Frequency of Newspaper Site Usage 51% 35% 17% 7% Ever Past 30 days Past 7 Days Yesterday Source: Phase I • Second, the Web-enabled market is generally unaware of the specific UGC offerings of their local newspaper Web site. User comments, which is the most widely known feature, achieves only 25 percent awareness in the average market, and only 14 percent familiarity. 12
  • 14. Awareness of and Familiarity with Newspaper Web Site Features User co m m ents o n articles written by newspaper staff 25% 14% B lo gs o r jo urnals written by newspaper staff 24% 11% A rticles written by o rdinary users 22% 10% A rticle-saving features such as bo o km arking 20% 12% M essage bo ards o r co m m unity fo rum s 20% 10% User co m m ents o n blo gs written by newspaper staff 18% 10% 17% B lo gs o r jo urnals written by o rdinary users 7% % Aware of Content P o dcasts o f articles, pho to s, o r video s 16% % Familiar wit h Cont ent 8% User co m m ents o n blo gs written by users 15% 6% P ho to -sharing features fo r users 9% 4% So cial netwo rking features such as pro file pages o r user 9% m essaging 4% A rticle-sharing features such as links to D igg.co m o r R eddit.co m 8% 3% Subscriptio n to articles o r blo gs via R SS feeds 8% 4% Video -sharing features fo r users 8% 3% Source: Phase I Awareness of what their newspaper Web site offers is low even among those who are generally familiar with each UGC type. This highlights the fact that those who use UGC content do not associate newspaper Web sites with UGC. Percent Aware that Newspaper Offers Among Those Familiar with Representative UGC T B lo gs o r jo urnals written by newspaper staff 37% User co m m ents o n articles written by newspaper staff 35% M essage bo ards o r co m m unity fo rum s 32% User co m m ents o n blo gs written by newspaper staff 27% B lo gs o r jo urnals written by o rdinary users 26% User co m m ents o n blo gs written by users 22% P ho to -sharing features fo r users 14% So cial netwo rking features such as pro file pages o r user m essaging 13% Video -sharing features fo r users 10% Source: Phase I • Third, respondents do not see newspaper Web sites as a “destination” for UGC. 13
  • 15. Newspaper Web site visitors typically do not go to the Web site for UGC, as it ranked as the least important reason for visiting. Rather, the most compelling drivers for visiting centered on news, weather and community info. Importance of Reasons for Visiting Newspaper Site Fo r lo cal news o r weather 38% 39% 23% Fo r the latest breaking news 34% 32% 34% Fo r natio nal o r internatio nal news 23% 34% 43% Fo r info rm atio n o n things to do o r places to go in yo ur co m m unity 2 1% 36% 43% Fo r spo rts sco res, statistics and sto ries 19 % 2 1% 60% Fo r advertising including ads fo r cars, ho m es, jo bs as well as lo cal 17 % 2 1% 62% sto res Fo r business o r perso nal finance info rm atio n 12 % 19 % 69% To read o pinio n pieces written by(nam e o f newspaper's) edito rial staff 10 % 20% 70% To read sto ries, co m m ents and lo o k at o ther m aterial subm itted by 9% 20% 7 1% o ther readers to the website Ext remely/Very Import ant Import ant Not Very/Not at all Import ant Source: Phase I In sum, the weakness of newspaper Web site UGC usage is largely the result of a lack of awareness among Web-enabled adults. With the exception of blogs, newspaper Web sites are not currently being associated with UGC. That the majority of those familiar with these types of UGC are unaware that their local newspaper offers the feature clearly indicates that a large segment of potential users are not being reached. Summary Snapshot of UGC Awareness/Trial/Usage Source: Phase I Note: Newspaper numbers reflect markets offering feature 14
  • 16. III. Despite Low Current Usage, Newspaper UGC Has Real Potential for Growth Expected future use of UGC is substantial, with about 1 in 3 Web-enabled adults planning to use blogs, user comments/reviews, photo/video sharing and message boards in the next month. However, intended usage of newspaper Web site UGC in particular tends to be much lower. Just 1 in 10 or fewer expect to use their local newspaper Web site for podcasts, social networking, RSS feeds, and article sharing and saving. Newspaper Web sites obtain their greater “share” of intent to use in areas that are traditionally article/opinion based – specifically, blogs and user comments/reviews. Intended Next Month UGC Usage Usage Intent Ratio* 65 37% Blogs 24% 58 36% User Review s/ Comment s 21% 43 30% Phot o/V ideo Sharing 13% 38 29% Message Boards 11% 27 22% Social Net w orking 6% 71 14% General RSS Feeds 10% 38 13% Newspaper Web site Podcast s 5% 75 12% A rt icle Sharing 9% 83 12% A rt icle Saving 10% Source: Phase II * Newspaper sites’ share of total intent to use: newspaper Web site usage/general usage This lower intent to use newspaper UGC is likely driven by a number of factors, particularly: • Respondents’ low familiarity with and sparse use of newspaper UGC in the past typically translates into lower intended usage. • The greatest usage gaps occur in categories that have entrenched “killer apps,” or content types currently dominated by a particular Web site. This includes YouTube and Flickr for photo/video sharing, Yahoo! for message boards and Facebook/MySpace for social networking. Nevertheless, the lower intent to use newspaper UGC than general UGC appears to be only partly the result of lower “appeal.” In fact, after being given a description of the content, the appeal of newspaper UGC only lags slightly behind that of the broader categories. 15
  • 17. Appeal of UGC Type Extremely/Very/Somewhat Appealing General A ppeal 60% Newspaper Web site A ppeal 54% 45% 43% 51% 33% 32% 29% 29% 43% 43% 27% 31% 29% 26% 26% 21% 17% Comments/ Photo/Video Message Blogs RSS Article Podcasts Article Social Reviews Boards Saving Sharing Networking Source: Phase II Impact of Appeal vs. Familiarity on Intent to Use Newspaper UGC Because this gap in appeal between general UGC and newspaper UGC is so minor, it appears much more likely that the lower usage intent for newspaper Web sites is the result of a lack of awareness and familiarity. This hypothesis is supported by the large gap between past month use and intended use after exposure to newspapers’ current offerings. The brief description of each type of content offered by the local newspaper Web site provided in the questionnaire was itself enough to catch the interest of many respondents, and in all cases far eclipsed last month’s use. Past vs. Planned Future Use of Newspaper Web Sites 24% % Used on newspaper site past month 21% % Likely to use on newspaper site in next month 14% 13% 10% 11% 10% 10% 9% 6% 5% 3% 3% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% Blogs Comments/ Photo/Video Message Social RSS Podcasts Article Article Reviews Boards Networking Sharing Saving Source: Phase II • This gap between actual use and intent to use in the future after exposure to a product description suggests that efforts to drive awareness of what is available on newspaper sites should yield substantial gains in usage. • The data also indicate that awareness efforts should feature blogs, user comments/reviews and photo/video sharing most prominently, as they appear to garner the most intent. 16
  • 18. IV. Enhancing UGC Offerings Greatly Improves Likelihood of Use While exposure to a description of their newspaper Web site’s UGC offerings goes a long way towards increasing respondents’ intent to use, enhancements of what is already offered also proves to have a strong effect on interest. Several topics, features, and options were presented to respondents, and several of these were found appealing enough to have a significant impact on whether they would visit their newspaper’s Web site or not. • When respondents were told to assume that their local newspaper Web site would revamp to include the UGC features and topics they found most appealing, intended usage increased significantly. • Providing the blog topics found most appealing appears to offer the most potential to newspapers in terms of driving usage, with expected usage quadrupling past month usage to 4 in 10 respondents. • Improvements to user comments/reviews features and photo/video sharing also resulted in a marked increase in expected use, up to 1 in 4 for the former and 1 in 5 for the latter. Newspaper Web Site UGC Usage: Actual Usage vs. Impact of Exposure and Enhancements % Actually used newspaper site in past month % Likely to use after exposure 40% % Likely to use with enhancements 24% 25% 21% 19% 17% 14% 13% 10% 11% 3% 3% Blogs Comments/ Reviews Photo/Video Message Boards Source: Phase II Impact of UGC Enhancements on Usage among Those Previously Unaware of Content Offerings It is also worth noting that the inclusion of appealing enhancements drives up respondents’ likelihood of visiting even among those previously unaware that their newspaper Web site offered this type of content. This is particularly true of blogs and message boards, where their likelihood of using nearly matches that of those already aware of their newspapers’ content. This again suggests that the current weakness of newspaper Web site UGC use is more the result of a lack of awareness than a lack of interest. 17
  • 19. Percent Extremely/Very/Somewhat Likely To Use Specific UGC Type Among Those Aware Content Is Among Those Unaware Content Is Offered Offered Initial If Enhancements of If Enhancements of Initial Intent Intent Interest Are Added Interest Are Added Blogs 42% 57% 23% 52% Photo/ Video Sharing 30% 45% 22% 32% Comments/Reviews 38% 51% 25% 41% Message Boards 37% 40% 27% 38% Social Networking 24% 30% 15% 23% Podcasts 17% 33% 9% 20% RSS Feeds 31% 38% 16% 23% Source: Phase II Learning From Existing Web Sites Certain existing sites also offer appealing features that newspaper Web sites could adopt. Respondents, exposed to descriptions of competitive sites that newspapers might emulate, tended to find those that provide local information to be the most appealing. When it came to comments and reviews, sites like Angie’s List, City Squares and Yelp offered the kind of UGC that respondents most preferred. Appeal of Other UGC Sources Angie's list 31% 30% 61% City squares 18% 41% 59% Citysearch 16% 43% 59% Yelp 14% 37% 51% Upcoming 13% 34% 47% Dailyme 10% 33% 43% NowPublic 7% 28% 35% OurFaves 7% 28% 35% Ext remely/Very appealing Squidoo 6% 19% 25% Somewhat appealing Fanpop 4% 20% 24% Source: Phase II 18
  • 20. Phase I Methodology A random digit dial (RDD) telephone survey conducted among 1000 adults, 18 years of age and over who have accessed the Internet in the past month. This survey: • ran approximately 15 minutes in length; • was conducted between October 17-27, 2007; and • represented the roughly 70% of adults 18 years of age and over with Internet access in the five participating markets: Atlanta, Denver, Milwaukee, Norfolk and Tampa. Phase II Methodology This online survey was conducted among 2,096 adults, 18 years of age and older who have accessed the Internet in the past month. This survey: • was fielded in March 2008; • ran approximately 25 minutes in length; and • represented the five participating markets. o Respondents were exposed to a description of each general UGC type, and then asked about their familiarity, usage and overall appeal, as well as their intent to use in the future. o Respondents were then exposed to a concept statement and actual content supplied by each market that described their specific UGC offering and were again asked to rate their awareness, usage, appeal and intent as it related to newspaper UGC. o They were then asked about a series of possible enhancements to the offering and re-rated their likelihood of using. o In order to account for the fact that online panelists often have a greater affinity for the Internet, respondents were weighted by race, hours spent on the Internet in the past week, and online purchases made in the past six months, to conform to the telephone survey parameters. 19
  • 21. Section 2. Types of User-Generated Content and User Engagement Tools User Comments and Reviews User comments and reviews are the area of UGC that leads in interest among site visitors are impact on the newspaper’s Web site, making this type of UGC the leader in opportunities for newspaper sites. User-reviews and ratings of products and services are an increasingly important part of purchasing decisions for Web users. A Deloitte Consumer Product Group study in late 2007 found 62 percent of U.S. Internet users ages 16 and older read product reviews written by consumers. Almost all (99 percent) of those people find the reviews credible. Further, “eight in 10 respondents to the Deloitte study said online consumer reviews had affected their buying intentions,” eMarketer reported. The resource most frequently used when researching products are user reviews, consumers said in the October 2007 Avenue A | Razorfish “Digital Consumer Behavior Study.” Fifty-five percent of the 475 U.S. adult consumers surveyed said they use user reviews “most often” – more than comparison charts and more than twice as often as expert reviews. Forty-one percent of those surveyed in the first phase of this study said they have read or posted a user-review or comment somewhere online, with 5 percent having used such a feature “today”. The most frequently read types of user reviews among those who have used this type of site or feature in the past 30 days are books, consumer electronics and movies or DVDs. Comments on journalist-written articles and blogs are also a strong area of interest for newspaper Web site visitors. Opportunities for Newspapers Newspaper-hosted local business reviews seem to be a strong opportunity. Respondents to this survey (especially those who have used newspaper site comments or reviews in the past three months) said they were interested in user ratings of products or services on a 5-point scale to make it easier to compare. The ability to rate comments and reviews in terms of their helpfulness, the ability to see the commenter/reviewer profiles and privately message those people are also interesting to respondents. The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times built an active online community by offering Web site users the opportunity to comment on the news. Using simple (and free, open source) technology, the paper’s journalists have posted content, solicited user comments and managed user interaction to keep conversations lively and on track. Learn more about this audience building initiative on GrowingAudience.com. 20
  • 22. Rated Interest in Potential User Comment/Review Features Among Top 3 Box Used User Comments/ Visited Newspaper Reviews Past 3 Months Web Site Past Month Newspaper User % Total Any Comments/Reviews Yes No User ratings of products or services on a 5 point scale to make it easier to compare 18 27 33 29 14 Ability to rate the comments and reviews of others in terms of how helpful they were 11 16 24 21 7 Ability to privately message a commenter or reviewer to find out more 11 16 22 18 8 Ability to see a profile of a given reviewer 11 16 22 17 8 Adding the topics respondents indicated interest in makes it more likely they will use user comments or reviews. This is true both those previously aware that comments/reviews are offered (from 38 percent to 51 percent) as well as for those who did not (25 percent to 41 percent). Participation User reviews of local restaurants and local services are the most interesting to those who have visited the newspaper’s Web site in the past month. User reviews of local restaurants are also the most interesting to those who have One-third of newspaper Web site visitors said they are extremely or very likely to read or post user comments/reviews in the next month. Overall, 29 percent of respondents said they have ever read or posted a newspaper site comment or review. Reflecting the importance of the consumer/customer review, the number of review-based Web sites has significantly increased in the past few years. Well-known sites in this category include epinions.com, with an impossible to calculate number of reviews, and its younger competitor, Yelp.com, with more than 2 million reviews. A 2008 article in The Washington Post headlined ) “Yelp Critiques Heard and Heeded in D.C.” focused on the increasing amount of attention retailers give these sites. “Some businesses said they have started monitoring Yelp reviews and using them to gauge their performance,” The Washington Post reported. Familiarity and Appeal Familiarity with user comments and reviews on newspaper Web sites is high compared to other forms of UGC. Close to 60 percent (59 percent) of respondents said they are aware the newspaper Web site allows users to post comments or reviews (this increases to 64 percent of 18- to 34-year-old adults), and 76 percent of all newspaper Web site visitors are aware of this. 21
  • 23. Rating Appeal of User Comments/Reviews Rated User Comments/Reviews Appealing Among Total Respondents Among Demographic Groups Total 60% Male 58% Extrem ely / Female 62% Not at all Very 18-34 71% 20% appealing 35-54 63% 19% 55+ 51% Under $50K 60% Not too $50K- <$75K 67% Som ewhat 20% appealing $75K+ 62% 41% HS or less 57% Some college 61% College grad+ 59% Newspaper site visitors 70% Newspaper site non-visitors 55% Past week readers 64% Slightly fewer respondents (51 percent) said they find newspaper site user comments and reviews are appealing. Seventy percent of newspaper Web site visitors said user comments and reviews are appealing, and 55 percent of newspaper Web site non-visitors said this is appealing – more than any other type of UGC among this group. Among those who have read or posted comments/reviews on a newspaper Web site, 77 percent rate this activity as appealing. More than 40 percent of those who have read or posted comments/reviews on a newspaper Web site in the past said they are likely to do so in the next 30 days. Appeal of Newspaper User Comments/Reviews 52% 45% 46% 41% 42% 37% 33% 30% 21% 25% 19% 19% 19% 20% 14% 12% 8% 5% User Total Aware of Not Aware Ever Used Ever Used Never UsedNewspaper Non-Visitors Com m ents/ Newspaper User Newspaper User Site Visitors Reviews in User Com m ents/ User Com m ents/ General Com m ents/ Reviews Com m ents/ Reviews Reviews Reviews Extremely/Very Appealing Somewhat Appealing 22
  • 24. Blogs Although blogs (formally Web logs) are one of the oldest forms of what is now referred to as UGC, they present an opportunity for newspaper Web sites. The first blogs started in the early 1990s, and many were personal, online diaries. As the blogosphere grew, more blogs launched that focus on current events, issues, themes or items of niche interest. Today, in addition to text, blogs may include videos, photos, podcasts or other audio and much more. By the end of 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 70 million blogs – not all of them active. Of the top 100 blogs by “authority” according to March 2008 Technorati traffic rankings, only one was from a newspaper company – The New York Times’ Freakonomics blogs.nytimes.com – but dozens focused on current events and technology. However, readership of blogs on newspaper sites is on the rise and newspaper-based blogs are an increasingly popular and effective way of communicating with readers. Many newspapers host breaking news blogs, weather and traffic blogs, blogs from popular columnists and blogs on a range of subjects from politics to entertainment. The New York Times features more than 50 blogs written by staff members and non-staff members. The Houston Chronicle features more than 70 blogs, written by staff and readers. The Knoxville News-Sentinel has partnered with BlogNetNews to aggregate blogs from the local community. Data from Nielsen//NetRatings revealed the number of unique visitors to blog pages on the 10 most popular newspaper-based Web sites grew 210 percent during 2006, the most recent year for which this data is available. Opportunities for Newspapers The “2008 State of the News Media” report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which reported on the Nielsen//NetRatings data, suggested news consumers are not yet considering blogs a news source. PEJ cited the research from Synovate mentioned earlier, which concluded 49 percent of American Internet users read blogs for their entertainment value, 26 percent read them to keep up on a hobby or other interest, and only 15 percent of U.S. Internet users read blogs for news and information. However, according to this survey, newspaper Web site visitors are very interested in news and current events blogs. Among respondents who have read a newspaper blog in the past three months, half are interested in news and current events, 40 percent are interested in politics/elections, and 39 percent are interested in local/public affairs. The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. has a large-scale blogging initiative that is building its Web traffic significantly. The newspaper hosts more than 30 blogs on topics such as sports and local restaurants. Traffic to the newspaper’s blogs is increasing much more rapidly than for the rest of the newspaper’s online offerings. Learn more about this audience building initiative on GrowingAudience.com. 23
  • 25. Rated Interest in Blog Topic: Top Tier Among Top 3 Box Used Blog Visited Newspaper Past 3 Months Web Site Past Month Any Newspaper % Total Blog Blog Yes No News/current events 26 34 50 35 22 National politics/elections 20 27 40 27 18 Traffic/weather 19 23 33 23 18 Local public affairs 17 23 39 26 14 Food, including recipes, restaurants, or wine 17 22 34 27 13 Travel 16 20 29 24 12 Shopping/consumer tips and reviews 16 22 30 24 12 Health/fitness 15 19 25 24 12 Books 15 20 27 19 14 Science/technology 15 21 29 19 13 Movies 14 18 25 19 11 TV 14 15 24 15 13 Most importantly, likelihood of reading a newspaper blog increases substantially after assuming the Web site would add the topics respondents said they are interested in. This holds true for those previously aware that blogs are offered (from 42 percent to 57 percent) as well as for those who did not (23 percent to 52 percent). Participation The blog-consuming audience is larger and more diverse than the blog-producing population. In 2006, Pew Internet & American Life Project surveys revealed a U.S. blogging population of 12 million adults, 8 percent of the country’s adult Internet users. The number of blog readers is nearly five times that: 57 million U.S. online adults read blogs, or about 39 percent of adult Internet users. This NAA survey revealed something similar: 62 percent of respondents said they had ever read a blog, 26 percent said they had written comments on another person’s blog post and 21 percent said they had ever written a blog post. Familiarity and Appeal With this relatively long history, it is not surprising that more than half (54 percent) of respondents to the survey said they are familiar with blogs. Similarly to other Web 2.0 technologies, usage of the medium skews younger. “Awareness and usage of blogs, along with people penning their own, strongly correlates to age, with younger people being much more active,” according to research from the marketing firm Synovate. Familiarity with blogs in general is higher among younger adults than older adults and is higher among newspaper Web site visitors than non-visitors. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of 24
  • 26. 18 to 34 year olds said they are familiar with blogs, and 68 percent of newspaper Web site visitors are familiar. Awareness of blogs on newspaper Web sites is higher than it is for other forms of UGC; a strong majority (71 percent) of newspaper Web site visitors surveyed responding they are aware their local newspaper has blogs. Newspaper blogs are also appealing to 52 percent of respondents ages 54 and younger. However, only 37 percent of 18 to 34 year olds said they were likely to read any blog in the next month, and 38 percent of newspaper Web site visitors said the same. Likelihood of reading newspaper blogs in the next month among newspaper site visitors and those who have previously read newspaper blogs is higher. Likelihood of Reading Newspaper Blogs 26% 12% 21% 18% 18% 13% 30% 25% 9% 21% 10% 16% 15% 11% 5% 6% 3% 6% Blogs in Total Aware of Not Aware Ever Used Ever Used Never Used Newspaper Non- General Newspaper Blogs Newspaper a Blog Site Visitors Blogs Blogs Visitors Extremely/Very Likely Somewhat Likely 25
  • 27. Online Video and Photo Sharing Due in part to the exponential growth of YouTube, Photobucket and Flickr, the phrase “user- generated content” is perhaps most frequently associated with videos and photos. The increase in broadband penetration and improvements in video technology have allowed newspaper online video to flourish. According to the Newspaper Association of America’s “Newspapers’ Online Operations: Performance Report 2006,” survey, 80 percent of the 174 respondent newspapers reported having video on their newspaper’s Web site. Overall, user-generated videos tallied 22 billion views in 2007, a 70 percent increase over 2006, according to Accustream iMediaResearch. Online video views may hit 34 billion or more by the end of 2008. A late-2007 survey of 1,572 Internet users ages 18 and older by the Pew Internet & American Life Project revealed Web users ages 18 to 29 were the heaviest viewers of online video. Seventy percent said they had ever visited a video-sharing site and 30 percent said they did so “yesterday”. Photo sharing is also a very popular activity. Photobucket and Flickr are the two most popular photo-sharing sites on the Web. In late 2007, a Flickr user uploaded the 2 billionth photo to the site. Photobucket’s agreement with MySpace drives its popularity, and has at least 25 million users. Rapid developments and dropping costs of digital cameras and cell phone cameras have spurred this growth. Opportunities for Newspapers An ABI Research survey of 1,000 people in December 2007 found news is the most-viewed type of online video content, with 65 percent of respondents saying they watch news video online. Respondents to this survey who have used photo/video sharing features on a newspaper Web site in the past three months indicated they are interested in live-streaming video from the newsroom or from the scene. They are also interested in being able to search for photos or video, see which ones are the most popular and forwarding photos and videos onto others. 26
  • 28. Rated Interest in Newspaper Photo/Video Sharing Feature Among Top 3 Box Used Photo/Video Sharing Visited Newspaper in Past 3 Months Web site Past Month % Total Any Newspaper Yes No Live video feeds from the newsroom and on location 18 23 50 26 14 The ability to choose to view photos in either a thumbnail gallery or slideshow 15 21 51 26 11 Ability to search for photos by user, subject, date, etc 14 20 38 24 10 Forwarding photos on to other users 12 17 38 18 10 A ranked listing of the Most popular photos 9 12 37 14 7 The ability to comment on photos submitted by other users 7 10 26 11 5 Galleries where photos can be rated or scrolled by users 6 7 21 10 4 A comment feature on videos where comments can be inserted at specific places in the video 6 7 25 9 4 Adding enhancements to photo/video sharing on newspaper Web sites can increase the likelihood that site visitors will participate. Just 13 percent of respondents said they are at least somewhat likely to use photo/video sharing features on their local newspaper Web site in the next month. However, the number of respondents describing themselves this way increases to 23 percent if the newspaper immediately added enhancements. This is true among both those previously aware what their newspaper Web site offered (from 30 percent to 45 percent), as well as for those who did not (22 percent to 32 percent). The photo/video sharing features included in this survey were: • Live video feeds from the newsroom and on location; • Galleries where photos can be rated or scrolled by users; • The ability to comment on photos submitted by other users; • A ranked listing of the Most popular photos; • Forwarding of photos on to other users; • Ability to search for photos by user, subject, date, etc.; • The ability to choose to view photos in either a thumbnail gallery or slideshow; and • A comment feature on videos where comments can be inserted at specific places in the video. Morris Communications rolled out its “Spotted” product – a site featuring photographs taken by the newspaper and by citizens – in all its 25 newspaper markets. “It’s a page view machine,” says Ed Coyle, director of audience growth and development for Morris. In late 2007, it generated almost one-eighth of all page views on the company’s newspaper Web sites. Learn more about this audience building initiative on GrowingAudience.com. 27
  • 29. Participation Eighty-one percent of respondents to this NAA survey reported having used a photo or video sharing Web site at some point, with 54 percent having done so in the past month. Viewing someone else’s photos and videos and reading someone else’s comments on those photos or videos were the most popular activities. Despite high national figures, slightly less than 3 in 10 respondents to this survey believe they are likely to “use photo or video sharing features on any Web site in the next 30 days.” Those most likely to use a photo or video sharing site are those ages aged 18 to 34. Fifty-one percent of those who have ever used newspaper site photo/video sharing features said they are likely to use it in the next month. Photo and video sharing is extremely/very appealing or somewhat appealing to 80 percent of respondents who have used these features on their newspaper’s Web site in the past. This is significantly higher than the percentage of people (54 percent) who see photo and video sharing in general as appealing. Familiarity and Appeal Among all respondents, 35 percent are aware of photo or video sharing features on their local newspaper’s Web site. Forty-five percent of newspaper Web site visitors are aware of these features. But, those who do use photo/video sharing features on newspaper Web sites find this appealing. Appeal of Newspaper Photo/Video Sharing Features 48% 38% 44% 39% 42% 34% 31% 28% 32% 16% 14% 10% 13% 11% 9% 6% 2% 8% Photo/Video Total Aware of Not Aware Ever Used Ever Used Never Used Newspaper Non-Visitors Sharing Newspaper Photo/Video Newspaper Photo/Video Site Visitors Features in Photo/Video Sharing Photo/Video Sharing General Sharing Features Sharing Features Features Features Extremely/Very A ppealing Somewhat A ppealing 28
  • 30. Online Message Boards For many newspapers, message boards or discussion forums were the first foray into user- generated content. Message boards are an area of a Web site that allows visitors to read and post messages to each other. Many times, messages are posted in reverse chronological order, and conversations are threaded together. Big sites, such as Yahoo and AOL, host message boards that can have more than 100,000 new posts in a 24-hour period. Opportunities for Newspapers Perhaps tellingly, the most popular enhancements to online message boards are the ability to hide (or view) all posts on a particular article or blog entry, the ability to flag objectionable content and the ability to hide all comments from a particular poster. However, the ability to learn more about individual message board participants is also appealing. With these enhancements in place, the respondents who say they are at least somewhat likely to use their local newspaper’s message boards in the next month increases just 3 percent for those who knew about the message boards. Likelihood increases 8 percent for those who were not aware of the newspaper’s message boards. Rating Interest in Possible Message Board Features Top 3 Box Used Message Board Visited Newspaper Past 3 Months Web site Past Month Any Message Newspaper % Total Board Message Board Yes No Ability to flag objectionable posts 19 30 34 26 17 Ability to filter out the posts of particular board members 14 21 28 21 10 Ability to hide or view all posts on a given article or blog 12 20 29 20 9 Ability to send private messages/comments to other posters who choose to accept them 11 19 26 17 9 The ability to read a short profile of each contributor 9 17 28 14 8 Participation Almost 60 percent of survey respondents said they have read someone else's messages or posts at some point in the past. However, usage of newspaper Web site message boards is much lower. Only 11 percent of respondents said they have every read or posted on a newspaper online message board. Even among those who reported they are aware the newspaper site has message boards, only 27 percent have ever used them. 29
  • 31. Last Time Used Message Boards Past Month Newspaper Message Board Usage Those Aware Among Demographic Groups Total 8% Online Message Boards in General Among Male 9% 10%14% 9% 26% 41% Total Fem ale 7% 18-34 9% 35-54 12% Newspaper Online Message Boards Among 8% 2% 89% 5% those in Market Offered 55+ 1% Under $50K 7% $50K- <$75K 16% Newspaper Online Message Boards Among 5% 2% 19% 73% $75K+ 7% those Aware* 1% HS or less 5% Som e college 10% College grad+ 7% Today Past 7 days Past month 1 month+ Never Newspaper site 17% visitors Newspaper site non- 3% visitors Past week readers 8% Thirty-eight percent reported posting their own messages on any message board. The past month participation rate for online message boards is higher than it is for those who have posted comments on other people’s blogs (26 percent) and for those who have posted a user- comment or review (28 percent). Familiarity and Appeal In general, online message boards are somewhat familiar and appealing to people. Many survey respondents (55 percent) said they are familiar with online message boards in general. Even more newspaper Web site visitors are familiar with online message boards (66 percent). Online message boards in general are only appealing to 45 percent of survey respondents and 52 percent of newspaper Web site visitors. However, newspaper-based online message boards are only appealing to 31 percent of survey respondents. Appeal is higher among newspaper Web site visitors, though the appeal is just equal to the appeal of online message boards in general, at 45 percent. The appeal of newspaper-based online message boards is highest among those who have already used them. Appeal of Newspaper Online Message Boards* 43% 31% 36% 37% 28% 25% 22% 20% 14% 14% 11% 6% 7% 5% 9% 8% 5% 1% Online Total Aware of Not AwareEver Used Ever Used Newspaper Non- Never Used Message Newspaper Message Newspaper Message Site Visitors Boards in Online Boards Message Boards Visitors General Message Boards Boards Extremely/Very A ppealing Somewhat A ppealing *Base: Total Tampa/Milwaukee 30
  • 32. Social Networking There is no doubt social networking is one of the hottest UGC areas in Web 2.0. Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and newer services such as Ning and Bebo continue to draw new members, though they do so at a slower rate than in 2007. Despite the slowdown, major social networking sites are a significant online draw. News Corp.- owned MySpace had more than 72 million unique visitors in April 2008, according to comScore. Facebook had more than 35 million. The amount of time social network members spend on these sites is impressive and is evidence that these sites are very engaging. The average visit time for on soial networking sites (as of early 2008) was more than 20 minutes, according to Hitwise. Opportunities for Newspapers This report noted earlier that user comments and reviews are a strong opportunity area for newspaper Web sites because reviews are a factor in many consumers’ purchasing decisions. Placing these in the context of social networking on the newspaper site is also a good idea. Interest in newspaper-based social networking features was high among respondents who have used social networking in the past month. Forty-five percent of these people indicated interest in reading or posting “reviews of local restaurants, services, handymen, etc.” In addition, at least 40 percent of respondents who are newspaper-based social networkers indicated interest in reading other people’s profiles, posting or viewing personal video galleries, associating with other social networks, and instant messaging other newspaper social network members. Likelihood of Using Newspaper Social Networking Features* 1% Used Newspaper 51% Social Networking in 24% 22% 5% 11% 6% 9% 10% 6% 27% 5% 17% 5% 2% 5% 5% 3% 3% 6% 2% 3% 4% 3% 2% 5% 3% Social Total Aware of Not Aware Ever Used Ever Used Never UsedNewspaper Non-Visitors Networking in Newspaper Social Newspaper Social Site Visitors General Social Networking Social Networking Networking Networking** Extremely/Very Likely Somewhat Likely *Base: Total Atlanta/Denver/Norfolk ** Note: Very small base 31
  • 33. The number of respondents describing themselves as at least somewhat likely to use their newspaper’s social networking features in the next month doubles (from 6 percent to 12 percent) if the enhancements they are interested in are added. Participation The hurdle for newspapers seems to be in getting people to participate in social networking on the newspaper’s site for the first time. Once site visitors try the social networking features of a newspaper site, they seem to be likely to return. More than half of respondents who have used newspaper social networking in the past are likely to do so again in the next month. Likelihood of Using Newspaper Social Networking Features* 1% Used Newspaper Social Networking in 24% 5% 27% 17% 5% 5% 5% 3% 3% 6% 2% 3% 4% 3% 2% 5% 3% Social Total A ware of Not A ware Ever Used Ever Used Never Used Newspaper Non-Visitors Networking in Newspaper Social Newspaper Social Site Visitors General Social Networking Social Networking Networking Networking** Extremely/Very Likely Somewhat Likely *Base: Total Atlanta/Denver/Norfolk ** Note: Very small base Only 6 percent of all respondents consider themselves at least somewhat likely to use social networking features on a newspaper Web site in the next month. In general, many people are members of social networking sites, but not all of those members are particularly active. Only 17 percent of respondents to this survey said they are likely to visit a social networking site in the next month. (Close to half of respondents ages 18 to 34 said they were likely to do so.) Familiarity and Appeal For all the hype surrounding social networking and the high number of social network members, less than half (45 percent) of respondents to this survey said they are familiar with the area. However, younger users are significantly more familiar with social networking than older adults. More than three-quarters of respondents ages 18 to 34 and 55 percent of respondents ages 35 to 54 are familiar with social networking. More than half (55 percent) of newspaper Web site visitors are familiar with social networking. Thirty-four percent find it appealing. Like familiarity, appeal is higher among younger people. Social networking in general is appealing to 27 percent of survey respondents. Newspaper- based social networking is appealing to an about equal percentage of respondents who were 32
  • 34. already aware of newspaper Web site social networking, newspaper Web site visitors and those who have ever used social networking in general. Thirty-seven percent of those who have ever used newspaper social networking find it appealing. Appeal of Newspaper Social Networking 31% 17% 23% 20% 22% 17% 15% 14% 12% 10% 8% 4% 4% 3% 5% 4% 3% 1% Social Total Aware of Not AwareEver Used Ever Used Never Used Newspaper Non-Visitors Networking in Newspaper Social Newspaper Social Site Visitors General Social Networking Social Networking Networking Networking** Extremely/Very A ppealing Somewhat A ppealing *Base: Total Atlanta/Denver/Norfolk ** Note: Very small base 33
  • 35. Podcasts Podcasting as a term came into the modern lexicon with the 2001 debut of the Apple iPod. Increases in broadband access and the popularity of Apple’s small audio device led thousands of people to start their own podcasts (or online radio-style talk or music shows). In addition to podcasts from Web sites, Apple’s own iTunes store offers tens of thousands of podcasts. Many newspaper Web sites and other media outlets – especially radio stations – have podcast interviews with their reporters or guests that site visitors can download and listen to. The podcast audience as a whole is large. A study from Universal McCann estimated 14 percent of frequent Web users in the United States downloaded a podcast in 2007, and that could grow to nearly 30 percent in 2008. The most common podcasts to listen to (among Apple iPod owners) are music, however topical podcasts can also be popular. Opportunities for Newspapers There are very few podcasts that can boast audiences greater than 100,000, eMarketer reported, and “most podcasts have far smaller audiences, highly-focused on niche interests,” eMarketer reported. Newspaper podcast listeners seem particularly interested in local information. Among newspaper podcast users, breaking news and traffic information and anything related to arts and entertainment are the most interesting podcast types, with at least 65 percent of newspaper podcasts users indicting interest. More than half of newspaper podcast listeners indicated interested in local music, local politics, local arts and cultural events and health and fitness. Rated Interest in Possible Newspaper Social Networking Features Among Top 3 Box Used Podcast Past 3 Visited Newspaper Months Web site Past Month Any Newspaper % Total Podcast Podcast* Yes No Local breaking news 13 24 79 20 10 Local traffic conditions 10 19 65 16 8 Reviews of local events or restaurants 9 16 67 14 7 Best bets for things to do this weekend 9 20 67 13 7 Local entertainment events 8 15 70 12 6 Local professional sports teams 7 14 47 10 6 Local arts and cultural events 7 16 59 13 5 Local politics 7 16 53 12 4 Local music 7 14 51 10 5 Health/fitness 6 12 59 10 5 Local education 5 11 45 7 4 Local college sports teams 5 9 38 8 4 Local businesses 5 10 42 8 3 Prep/high school sports 4 7 33 6 3 Real estate 4 6 30 6 3 Autos 3 7 34 6 2 *Note: Small base 34
  • 36. If a newspaper adds content of interest, survey respondents are more than twice as likely to listen to a newspaper podcast in the next month. This surpasses interest in listening to podcasts generally. Likelihood of Viewing Podcasts in Next Month Newspaper Podcasts 13% 13% 5% 8% 5% 8% 3% 5% 2% Rating Likelihood of Pre-Measure* If Content of Interest is Viewing Podcasts in Added General Extremely/Very Likely Somewhat Likely *Base: Total Milwaukee/Norfolk, Rated interest in any podcast type Top 6 box Participation Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents have listened to a podcast at some point. Of those, more than 70 percent have done so in the past month, indicating loyalty. Overall, just 11 percent of survey respondents said they are likely to listen to a podcast in the next month. Those who plan to listen to a podcast in the next month are most likely Web users ages 18 to 34. Newspaper Web site visitors are about twice more likely to listen to a podcast in the next month than non- visitors. Familiarity and Appeal At least 40 percent of survey respondents who are younger than 55 or are newspaper Web site visitors are familiar with podcasts. Less than 30 percent of non-newspaper Web site visitors are familiar with podcasts. Appeal is about equal to familiarity are about equal among survey respondents ages 18 to 34 (42 percent indicated podcasts are appealing) and among newspaper Web site visitors (39 percent). 35
  • 37. However, among newspaper and non-newspaper podcast listeners, podcasts from the newspaper’s Web site are very appealing. Appeal of Newspaper Podcasts* 41% 34% 20% 21% 31% 34% 14% 14% 17% 10% 12% 9% 3% 5% 2% 3% 3% 2% Podcasts in Total Aware of Not Aware Ever Used Ever Used Never Used Newspaper Non-Visitors General Newspaper Podcasts Newspaper Podcasts Site Visitors Podcasts Podcasts** Extremely/Very A ppealing Somewhat A ppealing *Base: Total Milwaukee/Norfolk respondents **Note: small base 36
  • 38. RSS RSS, or “Really Simple Syndication” is a way to send articles out to reading. Readers can sign up for newspaper RSS feeds, which will appear in a separate RSS reader (a Web site that collects feeds for a person). Recent, nationwide statistics on the number of people who subscribe to RSS feeds are hard to come by, but there is some consensus that many people may use RSS feeds without using it through their Yahoo or Google start page. Either way, the number of RSS feed users is in the tens of millions. Opportunities for Newspapers RSS feeds seem to be another area where newspapers can leverage their command of local news and information. Local, national and world news are the three topics of the most interest to survey respondents. Local news is the most interesting to those who have visited the newspaper’s Web site in the past month. Rated Interest in Possible Newspaper Social Networking Features: Top Tier Among Top 3 Box Visited Newspaper Used RSS Past 3 Months Web site Past Month % Total Any RSS Newspaper RSS Yes No World news 14 38 72 19 12 Local news 13 33 74 21 9 National news 12 36 73 18 10 Technology 9 26 47 12 7 RSS Feeds from sources other than newspapers 9 30 53 13 6 Travel 8 20 42 13 6 Local entertainment events 8 20 49 12 7 Science 8 27 42 10 7 Movie news and reviews 8 20 42 11 7 Sports 8 20 42 11 6 Health and fitness 8 13 41 10 7 Arts and entertainments 7 19 51 11 5 Early research in this area indicated that people who use RSS feeds visit newspaper Web sites more often. http://www.nielsen-netratings.com/pr/pr_050920.pdf By providing RSS feeds on a variety of topics to newspaper Web site visitors, newspapers can drive repeat visits. Those who see an article of potential interest in their personal RSS reader are likely to click on the headline, bringing that person to the newspaper’s Web site. Participation RSS users are a small but dedicated group – if appeal (next page) is any indicator. Seventeen percent of all respondents said they have used newspaper RSS feeds at some point in the past. 37
  • 39. Only 14 percent say they are likely to use RSS feeds in the next month (12 percent of newspaper Web site visitors). Familiarity and Appeal About 1 in 5 respondents report they are familiar with RSS feeds in general. Those most likely to be familiar with RSS feeds are men and newspaper Web site visitors. In addition, almost one- third of respondents are aware of whether their local newspaper’s Web offers RSS feeds. Newspaper Web site visitors are also most likely to find RSS feeds appealing (45 percent). In fact, those who have used newspaper RSS feeds in the past seem quite satisfied with them. More than 90 percent of newspaper Web site RSS feed users rated this feature appealing. Rating Appeal of RSS Rated RSS Extremely/Very Appealing Among Total Respondents Among UGC Groups Total 33% Extremely/ Male 37% Very Female 30% appealing 18-34 34% 9% 35-54 37% 55+ 29% Somewhat Under $50K 35% appealing Not at all 24% $50K- <$75K 31% 51% $75K+ 39% HS or less 20% Not too Some college 34% 16% College grad+ 38% Newspaper site visitors 45% Newspaper site non-visitors 28% Past week readers 38% This group is almost the most likely to use newspaper RSS feeds in the next month. Likelihood of Using RSS 17% 13% 37% 8% 8% 7% 5% 16% 7% 9% 3% 3% 10% 4% 5% 3% 3% 3% RSS in Total Aware of Not Aware Ever Used Ever UsedNever Used Newspaper Non- General Newspaper RSS Newspaper RSS Site Visitors RSS RSS Visitors Extremely/Very Likely Somewhat Likely 38
  • 40. Article Sharing and Saving Article sharing allows newspaper Web site users to not only “e-mail this article to a friend,” but also to post links to stories on sites such as Digg, del.icio.us and Reddit. The amount of traffic such social bookmarking sites can drive to newspaper Web sites should not be underestimated. Digg.com, for example, has more than 2 million registered users, and more than 6 million unique visitors go to digg.com every month, according to comScore data. This massive traffic can provide the “Digg effect,” where a top ranking story on Digg.com can drive thousands of users to a Web site. www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/29/digg-nearly-triples-registered-users-in-a-year- says-sleuth-programmer/ However, despite high numbers of unique visitors and registered users, usage of article sharing features and sites is generally low. Article saving refers to programs that allow registered users to save, file away or bookmark articles of particular interest to them. Several large market newspapers have launched these features, and they are often connected to a newspaper site user’s registration or some sort of profile page. Opportunities for Newspapers Article sharing can drive traffic to the newspaper’s Web site as well as increase brand-awareness and loyalty. However, relatively awareness of this feature (or of how it works) is hindering widespread adoption by newspaper Web site visitors. Participation Article Sharing Participation in article sharing on newspaper sites is low, but it can grow. On newspaper Web sites, fewer than 1 in 10 respondents (8 percent) said they have ever used article sharing features on their newspaper’s Web site. But, among those aware that their newspaper’s site offers article sharing features (33 percent of respondents), about 3 in 10 have actually used them. This suggests increased awareness can lead to more usage. Nine percent of respondents said they would likely use article sharing on the newspaper’s Web site in the next month. It is higher among those who have used article sharing before. 39
  • 41. Likelihood of Article Sharing 2% Used Newspaper Article Sharing in Past Month 23% 18% 10% 10% 6% 16% 6% 10% 6% 6% 3% 2% 6% 4% 3% 2% 2% 2% A rticle Total A ware of Not A ware Ever Used Ever Used Never Used Newspaper Non-Visitors Sharing in Newspaper A rticle Newspaper A rticle Site Visitors General A rticle Sharing A rticle Sharing Sharing Sharing Extremely/Very Likely Somewhat Likely Article Saving Participation in article saving on newspaper sites is even lower. Four percent of respondents said they have ever used article saving features on the newspaper’s Web site. But, like with article sharing, awareness of article saving features seems to build usage. Fourteen percent of respondents who are aware of article saving features have used those features at some point. About ten percent consider themselves likely to use article saving in the next month. Likelihood of Article Saving 2% Used Newspaper Article Saving in Past Month 28% 16% 25% 9% 6% 8% 6% 5% 11% 4% 6% 4% 6% 7% 4% 3% 3% 2% Article Total Aware ofNot AwareEver UsedEver Used Newspaper Non- Never Used Saving in Newspaper Article Newspaper Article Site Visitors General Article Saving Article Sharing Visitors Saving Sharing Extremely/Very Likely Somewhat Likely 40
  • 42. Familiarity and Appeal Article Sharing Twenty percent of respondents said they are familiar with article sharing, and 15 percent of respondents said they are familiar with article saving. As noted above, newspaper Web site visitors are more familiar with these features. Familiarity with Article Sharing Familiarity with Article Sharing Among Total Respondents Among Demographic Groups Total 20% Extrem ely/ Very fam iliar Male 23% 6% 18% Fem ale 18-34 27% Fam iliar 35-54 23% 14% 55+ 15% Under $50K 16% Not at all Not too fam iliar fam iliar $50K- <$75K 19% 60% 20% $75K+ 25% HS or less 8% Som e college 16% College grad+ 30% Newspaper site visitors 29% Newspaper site non-visitors 17% Past week readers 24% Familiarity with Article Saving Familiarity with Article Saving Among Total Respondents Among Demographic Groups Extrem ely / Total 15 % Very fam iliar Male 17 % 5% Fem ale 1 4% 18-34 23 % Fam iliar 10% 35-54 19 % Not too 55+ 9% fam iliar Under $50K 1 4% Not at all 17% fam iliar $50K- <$75K 15 % 68% $75K+ 1 8% HS or less 1 1% Som e college 1 4% College grad+ 19 % Newspaper site visitors 20% Newspaper site non-visitors 1 4% Past week readers 1 8% 41
  • 43. Article sharing is appealing, especially to newspaper Web site visitors. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they find article sharing appealing, and 42 percent of newspaper Web site visitors said this. One-third of respondents said they are aware of article sharing features on the newspaper’s Web site. Among newspaper Web site visitors, awareness increases to 44 percent. Further, 26 percent of respondents said article sharing features on the newspaper’s Web site are appealing. The strong majority of those who have used article sharing in the past (on or off of the newspaper’s Web site) find article sharing appealing. Appeal of Newspaper Article Sharing 90% 75% 47% 64% 39% 29% 56% 26% 21% 36% 16% 14% 30% 23% 21% 26% 17% 13% 19% 12% 6% 5% 11% 9% 3% 2% 4% Article Total Aware of Not Aware Ever Used Ever UsedNever UsedNewspaper Non- Sharing in Newspaper Newspaper Newspaper Article Site Visitors General Article Article Article Sharing Visitors Sharing Sharing Sharing Extremely/Very A ppealing Somewhat A ppealing The intent to use article sharing features on the newspaper’s Web site in the next month is low among all respondents (12 percent). However, those who have used article sharing features before (on or off of the newspaper’s Web site) are much more likely to use it. Article Saving Familiarity with article saving in general, like article sharing, is fairly low. Just 15 percent of survey respondents said they are familiar with article saving. However, appeal for this is higher: One-third of all respondents find article saving features to be at least somewhat appealing. Newspaper Web site visitors are especially likely to find this feature appealing. Just less than 3 in 10 respondents are aware that their local newspaper Web site offers article saving features. Newspaper Web site visitors are more likely to be aware of this. But awareness does not seem to breed high levels of usage. Even among those aware that their newspaper Web site offers article saving features, only14 percent have ever used them. 42
  • 44. - Last Time Used Newspaper Article Saving Features - - Ever Used Newspaper Article Saving Features - Those Aware Among Demographic Groups Total 14% 8% Male Article Saving in General 3% 15% 1% 87% Among T otal Female 14% 1% 18-34 11% 35-54 17% New spaper Article Saving 2% 96% 2% 55+ 13% Among T otal Under $50K 15% $50K- <$75K 15% 9% New spaper Article Saving 3% 86% $75K+ 16% A mong T hose A w are* 1% HS or less 9% 1% Some college 15% College grad+ 15% Today Past 7 days Past m onth 1 month+ Newspaper site visitors 23% Newspaper site non- 9% visitors Past week readers 18% About 3 in 10 respondents find article saving features on their local newspaper’s Web site to be at least somewhat appealing. This increases significantly for those who have ever used article saving in general and for those who have used article saving through the newspaper’s Web site. Appeal of Newspaper Article Saving 88% 71% 48% 52% 32% 51% 41% 29% 36% 22% 23% 30% 24% 22% 22% 36% 17% 18% 19% 20% 10% 7% 12% 5% 5% 11% 5% A rticle T otal A ware of Not A ware Ever Used Ever Used Never UsedNewspaper Non- Saving in Newspaper NewspaperNewspaper A rticle Site Visitors General A rticle A rticle A rticle Sharing Visitors Saving Saving Sharing Extremely/Very A ppealing Somewhat A ppealing 43
  • 45. Section 3. OPINION PIECES Generations of Users, Generating Content, Affecting News, You be the Judge by Jay Horton First, “user-generated content” is a little character heavy for me to keep typing as we run though this. And as anyone who is familiar with Gannett knows, you’ll know that we are very fond of acronyms. So we’ll break this down to UGC. We’ve actually been using UGC from the beginning of the newspaper industry. Show me a newspaper that doesn’t publish letters to the editor, or publish a reader photo every now and then. There are five types of content on many of our Web sites that we already depend on users for – community news, photos, video, forums and reactions, and reviews. Oh wait, SIX, I almost forget – advertising! More specifically, classified advertising – or, should we say, soon-to-be-free categorical listings of stuff you want to sell. Our research has shown that this is one of the top reasons people read our papers and visit our sites. So what role does UGC play in our businesses and our products? Let me explain by asking you to think about what you think news judgment is and what it means. Once, I had a managing editor tell me I had the second best news judgment of any online director he had worked with. It was the closest thing he could come to a compliment before he went back to trashing my ideas and telling me I didn’t know Jack, and I don’t think he was referring to singer Jack Williams. (And no, I don’t know Jack, but I hear he’s a smart guy). Back to news judgment: I know about the seven tenants; in fact I keep them written on the white board in my office. Years of education lead to a deep understanding, but I’m going to try to paraphrase that… News judgment is the ability to determine what information will have the most value to the most people. UGC is the opposite. As we have been for many generations, we are very good at determining what will do the most good for the most people. UGC fills the gaps of what will help small groups of people, even individuals. In case you didn’t realize already, the game has changed. The masses don’t buy media anymore. The audiences are more fragmented than ever, and this trend will continue. In this user-generated, opt-in world, you have to provide for the needs of the few and, at the same time, scale these small groups up to marketable audiences that advertisers want to reach. Advertisers still need that reach because they are trying to build communities around the products and services they sell. The same challenges we face are going to make or break our advertisers’ ability to do business with this generation. The opportunity for newspapers is to use the incredible platform they have built with the broadsheet, their newspaper/city site, and the whole host of special sections and products they publish and challenge themselves to determine if they truly build community. Are they built around passions of the people who read them? If so, the next challenge is to create the opportunities for them to contribute. Make it easy. Give them the tools to share with their friends and family. The most important thing for our businesses is to track our UGC contributors and their audiences and aggregate them, so our advertisers have an opportunity to reach the critical mass they need to deliver successful ad campaigns. You can do this. Jay Horton is digital media director at the Tallahassee Democrat. 44
  • 46. The Wide-Open Possibilities for User-Generated Content by Kyle Leonard The possibilities for user-generated copy are as wide open as the editors and newspaper executives contemplating its use allow. While it must be acknowledged that there are stories, photos and reporting that only a professional can perform, it should also be recognized there are countless stories and photos out there a seasoned professional would ignore or choose not to report, but the consumer of a newspaper would find interesting and relevant to their daily lives. The early experience we at Triblocal.com have is with not-for-profits, event organizers and under-served constituencies that produce copy on a regular basis. Large dailies do not cover small, local fundraisers, but these events can sometimes represent the heart and soul of a community – events that encompass only one or two small towns are too small to be placed in larger newspapers but are sought out by residents. Even small community newspapers ignore lower profile sports teams (lacrosse, swimming, volleyball) and teams below the high school varsity level. It will take time and hard work to create UGC that more traditional journalists call “news.” However, already we see the Internet creating the environment for significant user-generated content being used in major media. The bridge collapse in Minnesota is a good example: The first photos from the scene were not from photo journalists but people who were there using camera phones and small digital cameras. We have all seen storm chasers’ video on the news. In countries where the media is strictly controlled, user-generated copy can be the only source of information to the outside world. The obvious, near-term use for user-generated copy for mainstream media will be to produce copy easily and at low cost that is relevant to their readers. It is important to note that user- generated copy must be treated just as any other copy in the newspaper environment, which means it may not be the staff-cutting tool accountants envision. Editors still need to fact check and copy edit, and indeed need to be more diligent with copy coming from people they do not know and trust. There can be cost savings, but more importantly, by making readers part of the news gathering community there will be more feet on the ground finding significant stories as well as heart warming community features. At Triblocal.com we have weekly pet adoption features as well as reports from local soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan produced by regular people. There will be challenges to come and changes in how news is presented. An open mind and a focus on what readers want will determine how this new way of gathering news evolves. Kyle Leonard is managing editor of Triblocal.com, a Chicago Tribune subsidiary, which currently has 27 web sites and published 5 weekly newspapers in the suburbs of Chicago. 45
  • 47. Citizen Media Makers: Seeking to Build Community, Not Just Cover It by Jan Schaffer Many news organizations are launching their own citizen media initiatives to try to entice residents of inner city neighborhoods or suburban communities to contribute photos, videos and even full-blown stories. Plus, there is a need to add some more feet on the street to do hyperlocal reporting. J-Lab’s advice is to proceed with caution. There is much value to be gained. But there is no free lunch. Citizen media sites are high-touch ventures, as news organizations that have pioneered in this area will attest. They require attention and stroking from editors willing to be both cheerleaders as well as content wranglers. Without such investment of energy and commitment to the community, you will not likely see the successes of the Denver Newspaper Agency’s YourHub.com or the Bakersfield Californian’s NorthwestVoice.com and SouthwestVoice.com. Still, there are several other opportunities for user-generated content on newspaper Web sites, and they go beyond individual blogs or postings on forums or bulletin boards. Some have met with success and some are as yet untapped. Here are some things to consider: • Eyewitness Accounts. By all means, create a place on your Web site for your readers to upload photos or videos of breaking news, not just school and sports photos or event shots. Note it on your home page and don’t forget to thank your contributors. • Eyesores, Fix-its. Help your community improve itself. Create a place on your site for citizens to nominate potholes that need to be filled, eyesores that need attention. Make sure this information gets passed onto the responsible local official. Better yet, be sure to close the loop and let your readers know if the problems have been addressed. • Crowdsourcing. Open up that federal or state database and invite your community to tell you about the stories they find in it, much like the Fort Myers News-Press did with FEMA records of Hurricane Katrina. If you’re working an enterprise story, ask your readers to contribute what they know about the subject. Collect incoming e-mails and field them by topic, geographic area, gender, age. Use them to query your readers for enterprise stories or breaking news, like Minnesota’s Public Radio does with its highly successful Public Insight Journalism project. Remember to tell your community when they have helped to make a story better. • Game the news. One way for readers to contribute to a public issue, such as balancing a state budget or working out competing redevelopment interests, is to give them a game to play that requires them to make the choices their public officials must make. Give their input a megaphone in the newspaper. • Micro-grants for local community news sites. “Say what?” you ask. “Support the competition?” This is one of the biggest untapped opportunities for newspapers. While many media collaborations are launching around the country, we don’t yet see many partnerships 46
  • 48. involving local newspapers and good hyperlocal community news sites. Instead news organizations are trying to launch parallel sites to compete with local sites that are already responsible and robust. I urge news organizations to scout out the best of these and invite them to join a Networked News Hub, centered at the paper. You won’t be editing their content, just linking to them and maybe even promoting the best of their stories on a Networked News portal page. Since most of these sites rely on volunteers who are paying attention because they care deeply about their communities, consider contributing $5,000 or $10,000 a year to help them pay their server and phone bills or mileage costs to cover community meetings. But remember: The goal of most of these sites is to build community not just cover them. You’ll need to let them report on the community they know from inside-out, not outside-in. From what the founders of these sites tell us, that is the extra value they can add. Their neighbors know they have been active in local issues and they want coverage that reflects that expertise. Jan Schaffer is executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism. J-Lab is a center of American University’s School of Communication. Read more at J-Lab.org and at our Knight Citizen News Network, www.kcnn.org. 47
  • 49. User-Generated Content Gives Opportunities to Reconnect with the Community by Ray Marcano Don’t worry. That’s, generally, the advice I give when I’m asked about user-generated content. Some sites still shy away from information contributed by its readers, citing legal worries, inappropriate postings and even the sanctity of journalism as their reasons. Don’t worry. User-generated content gives e-paper sites a tremendous opportunity to reconnect with its users, foster a sense of community and provide community connections in unparalleled ways. These opportunities go well beyond story-level commenting, maybe the most basic and easiest form of UGC. It’s true that some users may say things in a way that we don’t like and, on occasion, might post comments that need to come down. But it’s also true that users sometimes leave tips that could help advance a story, and these comments often start a community discourse helpful to a particular debate. For example, after a tragic crash at the Dayton Air Show in August 2007, users who witnessed the crash raised questions about the emergency medical services’ response time, which helped shaped the next day’s coverage of the story in the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. These users often create a community of interest around a specific topic. They debate amongst themselves, often vigorously, and delight in telling us when they think we’re wrong. They give themselves voice in a way that, without UGC, they would not have. They take pride in posting photos of their children, pets, moms and more, and they get a feeling of purpose when they take the time to review a local merchant. By allowing our users access in this manner, we help them stay connected to each other while providing an indispensable source of trusted news and information. They want to tell us about events happening in their community – events that matter to them – and post what they consider news videos, photos, blogs, stories and commentaries on our sites. As someone who grew up in the newsroom, it took a while to come to the realization that traditional journalists are not the only ones producing information nowadays. Information is the key word. Our users can give us all sorts of tidbits that help us give our communities a more detailed look into what’s important to them. These are the opportunities we have. If we allow our users in, we can provide a rich and deep experience that will keep them coming back. (And please don’t forget: Let them in through an easy-to-use submission process that encourages them to participate.) What about the worries? In the last few years, as we’ve aggressively ramped up user generated material, there have been precious few problems overall. True, our message boards have been challenging at times, and there are some that we spend more time on than others. But otherwise, we generally don’t have to worry about inappropriate information because our users tend to be responsible and respectful. They understand that one user can ruin an experience for all, so they often police themselves. If someone gets out of line, our users let us – and them – know. 48
  • 50. Users want community. Giving them these opportunities helps our e-paper sites build that community, makes us stronger and helps make us an even more indispensable part of their daily lives. Ray Marcano is the Internet General Manager for Cox Ohio Publishing, which produces eight Web sites, including the award-winning DaytonDailyNews.com. 49
  • 51. ABOUT THIS STUDY Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo, Inc. is a market research consultancy. They consult directly with senior marketing executives to unlock growth potential, and translate research findings into marketing roadmaps. They have more than 20 years of experience in building long-term client relationships. Advertising Age has rated CM&B a Top 100 market research company. 50