Benchmarking Online Newspaper Revenues

I’m in Paris where later this week I’ll be representing my friend Gordon Borrell‘s firm at the World Association of Newspapers’ Advertising Conference and be one of the conference’s speakers about online revenues.

That’s one reason why I’ll be missing the Newspaper Association of America’s Connections conference about online newspapers, which is underway in Orlando (where a section of of a theme park resembles a dwarf Paris but the food isn’t anywhere as good). I haven’t heard any news arise from the Connections conference — except that the NAA itself has launched a $50 million advertising campaign to “‘surprise advertisers with the truth’ about how engaged consumers are with newspaper advertising and to remind them of the reach of newspaper media in all its forms – print, online, niche publications, wireless, kiosks and even podcasts.” I bet that really will surprise advertisers who are armed with tons of research showing that consumer actually are becoming less and less engaged with newspapers in print and only modestly more so online.

Meanwhile, 5,000 kilometers northeast of Orlando, the departing editor in chief of The Economist weekly news magazine in London, which has doubled its circulation worldwide, said that newspapers had played their part in his magazine’s success by preferring ‘entertainment’ journalism to serious analysis. “I think we have been left a bit of space,” Bill Emmott told the Guardian. “They [newspapers] have had a hard task of how to deal with and preserve a mass market in an age when their market has been eroded by television on the one hand and the internet on the other…. But I think they have left us some space by continuing to play in the mass, almost entertainment market. Very few have come in our direction of analysis. There’s a choice – more entertainment or more information, and the numbers that have taken the more information route are very few.”

Perhaps unrelated to that dichotomy, Associates New Media, the digital publishers of the Daily Mail‘s website, is launching an ad-funded video news service online. Every London weekday lunchtime, ANM will broadcast celebrity, music and film-related news clips online. ANM COO Mark Milner told Netimperative that “Integrating advertising with our video broadcast provides an excellent opportunity to reach and communicate with the Mail’s unique audience in a content rich environment whilst ensuring stand-out.”

A thousand kilometers south of ANM, the chief creative officer of British TV show (Big Brother) producer Endemol told the 3GSM conference in Barcelona that the mobile network operators have failed to discover a ‘killer application’ for mobile phone (presumably besides voice calls and SMS?). Peter Bazalgette said a ‘killer app’ for mobile content would need to harness viceo, consumer participation, and the mentality of the ‘user generation,’ the Guardian reported.

Speaking of the 3GSM conference and the Guardian, that newspaper let Magic Lantern Production’s Anthony Lilley boldface all the buzzwords he heard there, although you’ve probably heard most before.

I’m pleased to read that Times Newspapers of London has hired former COO Zack Leonard as its new digital media publisher. Savvy move. Leonard, like former Wall Street Journal Online Edition publisher Neil Budde, who’s now general manager of Yahoo’s news operations, is a pioneer in online publishing.

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