Several major media companies have reported their 2nd quarter figures, so what did we learn?
Nothing new at the New York Times, says Peter Kafka: print and digital ad revenue are declining; paywall-fueled subscription revenue is increasing. And Gannett reported that advertising demand has been "choppy."
Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Foursquare and others are embarking on an ad-funded trip for the first time, finding it to be laced with ever-growing returns. As new outfits, they have no memories of analogue ad boom days to recollect, only dreams of milking what, to them, looks like the onset of a new boom.
"You could call it community networking," [CEO Tim Armstrong] responded. As for the listings business, he was asked if Patch was trying to build a competitor to Craigslist. "Craigslist and other companies like that that sell used merchandise haven't really scaled into communities," he said. "They've been very metro-focused. One of the opportunities for Patch...is the ability for us on the commerce side to offer the people the ability to do listings and other things like that locally."
While some titles — Elle and InStyle — crowed this week of breaking their own records for the all-important September issues, other publishers are contending with advertising figures for the month that are much softer than expected — and certainly shy of their halcyon prerecession days. For publishers, it was another stark reminder to put a premium on digital sales — and also e-commerce, licensing and tablets.
The old model, where wire stories run 2-8 paragraphs with varying degrees of fresh reporting, doesn’t work when people are exposed to so much information on a continued basis, Smith said. “There’s no audience for ‘Here’s this thing you just heard and I’m going to say again,’” he said.
Journalism has always been about speed and precision, but as the place for that has shifted from stories to blog posts and now social media, Smith said journalists have to be more creative in the ways they deliver vital information. They also have to make better decisions. Living and writing in the current news environment means calculating the costs and benefits of working on a “second-rate aggregated version of what someone wrote 20 minutes ago,” versus pursuing an original story, Smith said.
As he describes the profession, reporting often means "making the same phone call over and over and over again until you're so irritating that the person you're calling makes the calculation that it's better to give you the time that you need rather than have to endure the constant assaults of your phone calls and emails."