Independent Journalism: Doing good and doing well.

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In this presentation for the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, Kevin Anderson, of the Media Development Loan Fund, looks at the challenges faces independent journalism and ways that independent news organisations are building sustainable financially viable businesses to support the valuable mission they do.

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Independent Journalism: Doing good and doing well.

  1. 1. Independent Journalism: Doing good and doing well 1
  2. 2. Are you suffering from IOS? 2
  3. 3. Are you suffering from IOS? 2
  4. 4. Eric Schmidt of Google “Between the birth of theworld and 2003, there were fiveexabytes of information created.We [now] create five exabytesevery two days. See why it’s sopainful to operate in informationmarkets?” from an interview at Atmosphere 2010 conference Photo by Charles Haynes, Some Rights Reserved 3
  5. 5. 1 exabyte = 1 million terrabytes photo by Ray Tsang 4An exabyte is 1 million terabytesThe entire printed collection of the US Library of Congress is 10 terabytesSo an exabyte is 100,000 Libraries of Congress
  6. 6. Library of Congress = 10 terrabytes photo by Ray Tsang 4An exabyte is 1 million terabytesThe entire printed collection of the US Library of Congress is 10 terabytesSo an exabyte is 100,000 Libraries of Congress
  7. 7. 1 exabyte = 100,000 Libraries of Congress photo by Ray Tsang 4An exabyte is 1 million terabytesThe entire printed collection of the US Library of Congress is 10 terabytesSo an exabyte is 100,000 Libraries of Congress
  8. 8. Photo: Joi Ito, quote from News.me 5Mohamed Nanabhay, former head of Al Jazeera Online, on the competitive challenges thatnews organisations face in an age of almost limitless content.
  9. 9. We’re competing with everybody who puts up a webpage on the internet. And everybody who tweets, or posts on Facebook, or anything. Photo: Joi Ito, quote from News.me 5Mohamed Nanabhay, former head of Al Jazeera Online, on the competitive challenges thatnews organisations face in an age of almost limitless content.
  10. 10. The battle for attention Average Local US Newspaper New York Times Facebook Source: The Newsonomics of time-on-site, Jan 2010 by Ken Doctor 6The average news reader spends little time on newspaper-owned sites, from a 20 minutes amonth or so on the New York Times site to eight to 12 minutes on most local newspapersites. That’s minutes per month. Those numbers, as tracked by Nielsen and reported monthlyby Editor and Publisher, are steady at best, showing, in fact, some recent decline. They are,literally, stuck in time.Then, take the number of minutes Internet users spend on social sites. Nielsen’s January tallyshowed seven hours of usage a month on Facebook alone, in the U.S., blowing away allcompetition.And of course, that doesn’t even come close to the four hours a day(!) that Americans spendwatching television.
  11. 11. The battle for attention Average Local US Newspaper New York Times Facebook Source: The Newsonomics of time-on-site, Jan 2010 by Ken Doctor 6The average news reader spends little time on newspaper-owned sites, from a 20 minutes amonth or so on the New York Times site to eight to 12 minutes on most local newspapersites. That’s minutes per month. Those numbers, as tracked by Nielsen and reported monthlyby Editor and Publisher, are steady at best, showing, in fact, some recent decline. They are,literally, stuck in time.Then, take the number of minutes Internet users spend on social sites. Nielsen’s January tallyshowed seven hours of usage a month on Facebook alone, in the U.S., blowing away allcompetition.And of course, that doesn’t even come close to the four hours a day(!) that Americans spendwatching television.
  12. 12. The battle for attention Average Local US Newspaper New York Times Facebook Source: The Newsonomics of time-on-site, Jan 2010 by Ken Doctor 6The average news reader spends little time on newspaper-owned sites, from a 20 minutes amonth or so on the New York Times site to eight to 12 minutes on most local newspapersites. That’s minutes per month. Those numbers, as tracked by Nielsen and reported monthlyby Editor and Publisher, are steady at best, showing, in fact, some recent decline. They are,literally, stuck in time.Then, take the number of minutes Internet users spend on social sites. Nielsen’s January tallyshowed seven hours of usage a month on Facebook alone, in the U.S., blowing away allcompetition.And of course, that doesn’t even come close to the four hours a day(!) that Americans spendwatching television.
  13. 13. The battle for attention Average Local US Newspaper New York Times Facebook Source: The Newsonomics of time-on-site, Jan 2010 by Ken Doctor 6The average news reader spends little time on newspaper-owned sites, from a 20 minutes amonth or so on the New York Times site to eight to 12 minutes on most local newspapersites. That’s minutes per month. Those numbers, as tracked by Nielsen and reported monthlyby Editor and Publisher, are steady at best, showing, in fact, some recent decline. They are,literally, stuck in time.Then, take the number of minutes Internet users spend on social sites. Nielsen’s January tallyshowed seven hours of usage a month on Facebook alone, in the U.S., blowing away allcompetition.And of course, that doesn’t even come close to the four hours a day(!) that Americans spendwatching television.
  14. 14. From mass to relevance The evolution from numbers to relevance by Mahendra Palsule 7
  15. 15. 8Advertising overload. Online there is simply too much ad inventory. CPMs not just in the USbut in markets around the world are declining.During recession, online ad rates plummeted due to oversupply of content Source:PaidContent
  16. 16. Society knows how to react to scarcity.” We know how to ration, save, and preserve when weneed to do so. It’s much harder to set priorities and find our path when informationabounds. We may drown. We may get side-tracked. We may shut down. But, in any case,abundance confuses and distracts us more than scarcity does.
  17. 17. Abundance breaks more things than scarcity does Photo: Clay making a point by Joi Ito Source: Shirky at NFAIS: How Abundance Breaks Everything by Ann MichaelSociety knows how to react to scarcity.” We know how to ration, save, and preserve when weneed to do so. It’s much harder to set priorities and find our path when informationabounds. We may drown. We may get side-tracked. We may shut down. But, in any case,abundance confuses and distracts us more than scarcity does.
  18. 18. US papers failing to capture dollars Digital ad revenues increased by more than four times from 2003-2011 to $31.7 bn. Digital newspaper ad sales increased from only $1.2 bn to $3.2 bn during the same period. Newspapers capture lower percentage of digital ads now than in 2003 10It is not that there isn’t money to be made from digital advertising, the problem is rather thatnewspapers aren’t the ones capturing that value.From Alan Mutter, Reflections of a Newsosaur.
  19. 19. Photo from Dan O’Brien 11 Real-time bidding. This is already putting further downward pressure on CPM rates. From Lewis Dvorkin at Forbes: Programmatic buying: Welcome to the newest zone of concern for publishers. Think of a Wall Street trading desk manned by advertising agencies or their representatives. Those display ads I talked about above can now be bought at auction on computer exchanges — and all it takes is milliseconds. Real-time bidding, as it’s often called, is fast, efficient — and cheap. The biggest challenge for publishers: display ads that are sold by sales people for, say, a $15 CPM (cost per thousand impressions), often trade on the exchanges for a few bucks.
  20. 20. Lloyd Dobler: The patron saint of journalists 12Just like Lloyd, we don’t went to sell anything.
  21. 21. Lloyd Dobler: The patron saint of journalists 12Just like Lloyd, we don’t went to sell anything.
  22. 22. The business of journalism is often seen in opposition to the mission 13The business of journalism is often seen in opposition to the mission of journalism. It doesn’tneed to be so, and the belief often holds us back from legitimate, ethical ways to support themission of independent journalism.
  23. 23. The business of journalism is often seen in opposition to the mission 13The business of journalism is often seen in opposition to the mission of journalism. It doesn’tneed to be so, and the belief often holds us back from legitimate, ethical ways to support themission of independent journalism.
  24. 24. 14 Photo by SourcefabricEntrepreneurial sustainability. MDLF is passionate about the mission of journalism andcommitted to helping support robust independent media in emerging democracies. That’swhy I say that I help news organisations not only do good but also do well. Its why I love myjob at MDLF.
  25. 25. Media cannot be truly independent unless it is financially viable. 14 Photo by SourcefabricEntrepreneurial sustainability. MDLF is passionate about the mission of journalism andcommitted to helping support robust independent media in emerging democracies. That’swhy I say that I help news organisations not only do good but also do well. Its why I love myjob at MDLF.
  26. 26. Source: thinkpublic from FlickrRaju Narisetti, the managing of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, said on Nieman Lab atthe end of last year, “Advertising innovation from media companies should become as criticalas content innovation”.During the first phase of the digital transition, we focused almost entirely on editorialinnovation. Now, commercial innovation is just as critical if not more critical to a sustainablefuture.
  27. 27. Multi-platform sustainability Source: Dan Taylor from Flickr 16We need to move towards multi-platform sustainability - Many of MDLFs clients still havestrong traditional businesses. I realised that when we were talking about the digitaltransition, they thought we were not only calling on them to be digital first but to be digitalonly. In many places where MDLF works, print still has a powerful business model. Werealised that the shift was really about multi-platform sustainability.
  28. 28. El Faro: A digital brand does print Case study on Kbridge.org 17The power of AND - Multiple platforms enhance reach, impact and commercial opportunities.El Faro - the power of multiple platforms. El Faro is an independent digital news service in ElSalvador that focuses more on long-form investigations than a daily digital news service. In2011, an El Salvadoran ad agency came to them wanting to explore the relationship of the thepeople and the media and government through the lens of social media. This helped launcheda novel social-media digital campaign to generate ideas to improve El Salvador and giveSalvadorans a voice. They leveraged the power of their political cartoonist and created not justcartoons on their site but a book. They sold out the first print run, and then they took thatbook to El Salvador’s leaders as representatives of the people. The ad agency helped deliver asophisticated multi-channel marketing campaign.
  29. 29. El Faro: A digital brand does print Case study on Kbridge.org 17The power of AND - Multiple platforms enhance reach, impact and commercial opportunities.El Faro - the power of multiple platforms. El Faro is an independent digital news service in ElSalvador that focuses more on long-form investigations than a daily digital news service. In2011, an El Salvadoran ad agency came to them wanting to explore the relationship of the thepeople and the media and government through the lens of social media. This helped launcheda novel social-media digital campaign to generate ideas to improve El Salvador and giveSalvadorans a voice. They leveraged the power of their political cartoonist and created not justcartoons on their site but a book. They sold out the first print run, and then they took thatbook to El Salvador’s leaders as representatives of the people. The ad agency helped deliver asophisticated multi-channel marketing campaign.
  30. 30. .týždeň: Charging, yes. But what for? Kbridge.org: More about Piano and Tyzden 18Paid content, yes, but what to charge for? .týždeň - Slovakian news magazine with areputation for cutting edge photography. Wanted to create a web presence that wasconsistent with their brand of high impact visual journalism. Rebuilt their website, added ablogging network and translated their visual stills style into a video style. They now produce aprogramme in partnership with Slovakian public TV. They have refined their approach toblogging by having staff and select members of the public blog, and they have become part ofSlovakias national paid content platform Piano. With paid content 2.0, were seeing muchmore sophistication and nuance than paid versus ad-supported (It was never free. Someonepaid. It was just advertisers not consumers.) Youre probably all familiar with meteredpaywalls due to the New York Times and now Andrew Sullivan. Piano works with clients toanalyse their audience behaviour and helps answer: What should news groups charge for?
  31. 31. Malaysiakini: Partnering on paid content Kbridge.org: An interview with M-kini CEO Premesh Chandran on his strategy 19One of the news organisations that we work with is Malaysiakini. Just as with Dijonscope, theyused their independent journalism as a selling point to readers, but a challenge to attractingadvertisers in the years immediately after the site launched. Early online advertisers weregovernment-linked companies and would hardly be willing to support an independent newssite like Malaysiakini.In 2002, the company realised that it needed to explore other forms of income. “Subscribers,they are the ones who want this independent news so let’s start charging a fee,” he said. Staffwere initially sceptical, and the site faced unique challenges, including having to provide ananonymous payment system because the site was seen as “politically sensitive”. Theydeveloped their own pre-paid card and were able to convince a convenience store chain tosell it.
  32. 32. Dijonscope - selling independent journalism Source: Sustainable Business Models for Journalism 20Piano Media, the New York Times will all tell you how important marketing is. Dijonscope,whose tag line is “the price of freedom” moved from advertising to subscription only charging(90 euros for two years, 50 for a year or 5 a month.
  33. 33. Kevin Anderson, kevin.anderson@mdlf.orgKnowledge Bridge editor and digital strategistKnowledge Bridge http://kbridge.orgTwitter: kevglobal (my account) and kbridgeorg 21

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