Review the highlights of this week’s Mad Men episode in my Mad Men live blog! Episode 611 moves Don Draper one step lower on the downward spiral. Let’s celebrate his debauchery together!
MAD MEN Live Blog: Season 6, Episode 9 — “The Better Half” (AwfulAdvertisements.com)
Relive your favorite memories of 1968 through my Mad Men live blog! Join me from beginning to end for Mad Men Episode 609: “The Better Half.”
I am here at Internet Week NY for a panel on “Lean Content.” How appropriate that I’m writing this promo on a WordPress blog! It’s the world’s best CMS and it’s extremely affordable. Moral of the content wars: tech is a commodity. Lease it cheaply.
I’ve moved my Mad Men Season 6 live blogs over to Awful Advertising, part of Ben Koo‘s Bloguin network. Follow this link to my live blog for Episode 8 — “The Crash.” Join me as we watch Don Draper trip down the downward spiral.
Google Analytics is a robust, dependable, and intuitive web analytics solution. It’s the right analytics product for publishers of any size and with any web analytics budget. Its e-commerce and AdWords integrations are seamless and thorough. We’ve used Google Analytics at NESN as we’ve grown NESN.com’s monthly user count from 30,000 in 2008 to over 2.5 million in 2013. Google Analytics has been the right product at every stage of our growth. I’ve run multivariate testing through it, used it to determine correlations between referral growth and unique user growth, and turn to it more and more for its real-time site analytics.
If your company uses Google Analytics, I encourage you to visit Google’s Conversion University for classes in Google Analytics. It’s a great way to reinforce your working knowledge of Google Analytics and to learn advanced techniques, including virtual pageviews and event tracking. If you’re ready for a challenge, head to the Google Testing Center and take the Google Analytics IQ certification exam. It’s a insightful way to spend an afternoon.
I believe that media is more of a product than a mission. Each new piece of content produced by a media outlet is a product extension, offering a new concept while expanding the outlet’s brand. If the new piece of content makes the media outlet’s brand better, whether through its own quality or through its promotion of the outlet’s other products, it is successful. If the new content detracts from the media outlet’s other product, it is not successful.
For anyone looking to build a career in digital media, I’d recommend focusing on building your outlet’s brand through your content. The successful content creators at all career stages combing quality content creation with support for their companies’ bigger goals. It’s necessary to have an awareness of where your company stands on important issues, to make sure that your content adds to the bigger battle.
That’s why CNET’s decision to celebrate Dish Network seemed so clearly unproductive. CNET’s parent company, CBS, had filed a lawsuit against Dish Network in May 2012 over the Dish Hopper, a new DVR service that automatically skips commercial breaks on playback. The lawsuit was big news, especially since CBS’ lawsuit was accompanied by suits from other broadcast networks against Dish Network. Nevertheless, CNET’s editorial team chose the Hopper for CNET’s “Best of CES” award at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. CBS rightly asked CNET to pull its support for a product at the center of a lawsuit, leading media pundits to criticize CBS’ decision as “a journalistic disaster.” The fault here rests with CNET’s editorial staff, however, for not considering their company’s greater interest. If they had considered the their parent company’s interests, they would have been able to publish without undue oversight.
If you’re entering digital media, learn as much as you can about their outlets’ points of view. It’s OK to operate from a point of view, and even better to build your outlet’s overall brand through your content. The CNET editorial team would have preserved CNET’s reputation if it had operated with understanding of and respect for its parent company’s interests.
One hidden storyline in the Journal Register Company’s bankruptcy filing is the role paywalls will play in the company’s next turnaround attempt. John Paton, the CEO of Digital First Media (JRC’s parent company), stated in 2011 his belief that the market value of journalism is “about zero.” Paradoxically, Paton is in the paywall business, controlling “more newspaper paywalls than just about any other executive,” according to the Columbia Journalism Review.
Paywalls guarding valuable content can work, provided that the content is (a) exclusive and time-sensitive, dampening the value of aggregation; (b) expensive to deliver, as in the case of live video content; or (c) easy to track in the event of theft. Most local media content falls into categories (a) and (c), as it’s easy enough to track infringers of reporting from a single local source.
Is there enough demand for local content, however, to justify a media company’s expense in creating a paywall? Digital advertising can sustain companies with national content coverage, but almost certainly cannot sustain a siloed local media outlet as it transitions from publishing in a tradition format (print, TV, radio) to digital publication. So, local can’t make money on display ads alone. The only way local media can make a profit is either by: (a) going national in coverage and making money on nationally-based digital ad sales; or (b) using a shared technology solution for paywalls. The JRC’s effort at approach (b) hasn’t worked because the demand didn’t exist for exclusive, timely local content. Despite its bankruptcy, the JRC (and its parent, Digital First Media) is in the lead in technological innovation for local media companies, so their effort is likely the best of what a paywall will bring.
The inevitable conclusion? Paywalls only work with either: (a) truly exclusive, coveted, time-sensitive content of a national demand (WSJ, Financial Times); or (b) live content that’s difficult to deliver (video streams of like sports games). Otherwise, the winning approach is display ads, free content, and when the chips are down, a national content approach.