Every week we round up industry news you may have missed while you were busy winning.
"When the word came down that The Times-Picayune would no longer be a daily newspaper, it wasn’t from the paper's owners, Advance Publications. Nor was it from senior management or newsroom officials. It came as a brief item on The New York Times' "Media Decoder" blog, written by David Carr, and sent out over Twitter at 10:33 p.m., when the newsroom was largely empty." - Gambit editor Kevin Allman. For coverage and commentary on the Times-Picayune situation, we defer to our friends at the Gambit, who are doing a heckuva job covering the story.
[Content director Ray] Wert was quite open about wanting to ape Reddit's AMA ("ask me anything") feature for his new advertorial conversations.
The idea is for these things to be more a PR/marketing product than a brand-advertising product. The idea is to get challenger brands, in particular, to take part: they tend to be very open and transparent about what they’re up to, and they love the idea of engaging with the public as much as possible, if they can do so in a reasonably controlled environment. When that kind of a brand has some kind of news they want to share, doing so through a Gawker Media sponsored post will be a pretty effective way of getting the news out to a large number of people while at the same time sending the message that they're trying to be as transparent as possible and are happy to answer lots of questions in a friendly and conversational and open manner. The metric for success, says Wert, isn’t going to be the number of pageviews they get; rather, it will be the amount of earned media they get — the degree to which other media outlets pick up on the initial announcement and the rest of the information that the company reveals in the comments section.
From a revenue perspective, it's an ad-sales business, not a technology company. To meet expectations—the expectations that took it public at $100 billion, the ever-more-vigilant expectations needed to sustain it at that price—it has to sell at near hyperspeed.
The growth of its user base and its ever-expanding page views means an almost infinite inventory to sell. But the expanding supply, together with an equivocal demand, means ever-lowering costs. The math is sickeningly inevitable. Absent an earth-shaking idea, Facebook will look forward to slowing or declining growth in a tapped-out market, and ever-falling ad rates, both on the Web and (especially) in mobile. Facebook isn't Google; it's Yahoo or AOL.
Buffett loves newspapers, but he doesn’t love them all equally. What he loves best are smallish papers in smallish markets where civic feeling runs high and competition is at a minimum. Those are the papers whose readers are most likely to be willing to pay for them once they erect paywalls, as Buffett intends them to.
It’s the grandest caper there ever was. Really, if you can find work to be, sort of, professionally curious. I’ve always liked it, no matter how much I was working or not working. If you can find a way to make the economics work, it’s a pretty good way to go.