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New York Times measures impact of digital audience development

06 October 2014 · By Shane Murray

The New York Times is using various forms of experimentation to optimise product features and marketing, and to improve content recommendations.

Experimentation in the form of A/Bmulti-variate, and bandit testing can provide the most actionable data to support business decisions, especially on digital platforms where we have the ability to vary the user experience systematically; that is, assign visitors to a randomly selected experience, and track subsequent behaviours after exposure to the experiment.

But what should we do in situations where the experience cannot be ...


Building blocks of a local-rich strategy

30 September 2014 · By Lynne Brennen

Advertisers seek our local audiences. Readers want local-rich content.

Our markets are really smaller communities of local interests. “Local” sounds simple and provincial, but it requires sophisticated segmentation and nuance.

Media companies need to understand and own their local markets with a local-rich strategy.

Does your newspaper own its local market?

Local markets are a collection of perspectives starting with the content itself ranging from hyper-local subjects to global topics viewed through a local lens. Of course, readers are a critical component of understanding what local means in your market, and they represent a Marimeko quilt of local interest groups and media engagement preferences.

Advertisers big and small are seeking these local audiences. All three – content, readers, and advertisers – need to be understood and viewed collectively to capitalise on ...


Circulation loss vs. cash flow gain: Let’s make a deal

23 September 2014 · By Jim Fleigner

Would you be willing to forego 8.8% of your circulation if it guaranteed your newspaper an annual improvement of nearly US$650,000 in annual cash flow?

While some newspapers might jump at this opportunity, others might be more cautious and turn down this chance.

What if the offer improved to a better savings of US$900,000 annually, but with a much more favourable circulation loss of only 3.5%? Many newspapers that hedged on the first offer might jump at the second offer, and those that accepted the first offer might kick themselves for having squandered the chance for even greater savings.

But what if the stakes were raised even higher, such as 12.7% circulation loss but for annual savings in excess of US$1.6 million? Perhaps that feels too risky. But perhaps your media company needs more savings upside than the first two options offer, which might make the circulation risk worthwhile.

When it comes to optimising a newspaper’s subscriber acquisition activities, the goal is to find the one scenario that optimises the trade-off between “top line” (i.e. circulation loss) and “bottom line” (cash flow gain). In other words, the newspaper should strive to maximise cash flow while minimising circulation loss.

Optimal targeting of starts limits the circulation impact yet improves “bottom line” metrics – not only from reduced acquisition expense, but also from reduced net margin losses and higher productivity through avoidance of the worst performing starts.

Many newspaper executives feel they have no choice but to ...


Do advertisers understand print’s faithful audience?

14 September 2014 · By Anne Crassweller

The word is out: Print is dead. Really?

Seven out of 10 Canadians read a printed newspaper each week. That does not sound very dead. In addition, 70% of newspaper readers only read printed editions. Newspapers clearly offer audiences valuable content.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, and digital development has aided the growth of many industries, newspapers included. The scoop has moved online.

Newspapers have a new voice. But it is not their only voice; 75% of Canadians read a newspaper each week in print or online.

But back to print … I am saddened and frustrated when I hear the words “print is dead.” I keep waiting for a funeral that never happens.

Yes, readership and readers are changing. Initially we thought ...


3 lessons media companies can learn from an airport

10 September 2014 · By Kathleen Coleman

The same day two charming United States flight mates engaged in a war between a seat blocking, illegal knee defender gadget, and a flung cup of water on a United Airlines flight, I myself lounged comfortably in Delta Air Lines’ glorious Concourse G at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Sippin’ a microbrew. Eatin’ salty French fries. Perusin’ the iPad menu for a second course, soft industrial light shining down.

Techno music pulsed lightly. A gleaming marketplace offered made-to-order hot food, cold salads, baked goods, and sparkling, interactive dispensers of soda pop.

Hundreds of iPads in every seating area invited travelers to log onto Facebook, Twitter, and personal e-mail accounts, surf the Internet, and order food and drinks delivered to their seats in 15 minutes or less.

The vibe was modern, prosperous, chill.

In other words, not like an airport.

What lessons, my friends, can we news media folk take away ...


Ours is an industry full of contradictory truths that must be met head-on for long-term survival

28 August 2014 · By John Newby

I had the opportunity to attend the Leap Media Solutions Vail Roundtable this past week. One of the highlights of this event is the few hours spent with Professor Paul Wang, associate professor in the Medill integrated marketing communications department at Northwestern University.

One of the key take-aways this year for me is the concept of “contradictory truths.”

What is a contradictory truth? Simply, it is a situation where both sides bring valid truth to their side of argument or dilemma. In other words, both sides can make a valid and truthful argument as to why their choice or course of action is the right way.

As I was listening to Professor Wong, it occurred to me that the news media industry is full of many contradictory truths. Should we eliminate a day of distribution? Should we construct a meter or a paywall or remain free? Should we stress digital over print at all cost? Will either digital or print really ...


Research shows readers lose trust with native advertising. Is the revenue worth it?

24 August 2014 · By Elisabeth Clark

Recently HBO’s John Oliver described native advertising on his “Last Week Tonight” show. If you haven’t seen this, watch it now (video below). It may be the most important thing you do today.

Oliver provided a comic narrative about the long-standing separation of church and state — i.e. advertising and news — in the newspaper industry, and how that line is now blurred with native advertising.

He showed a clip of New York Times executive vice president of advertising, Meredith Levien, defending native advertising at a conference: “Let me start by vigorously refuting the notion that native advertising has to erode consumer trust or compromise the wall that exists between editorial and advertising. Good native advertising is just not meant to be trickery. It’s meant to be publishers sharing storytelling tools with marketers.”

But Oliver called native advertising out for what it really is: “Exactly, it’s not trickery. It’s sharing storytelling tools. And that’s not bullshit. It’s ...


Media companies must work harder, smarter to attract college-age readers

14 August 2014 · By Dan Johnson

We’re fast approaching my favourite time of year. I love autumn – the smells, the colours, football, a feeling of togetherness.  

As a circulation sales manager, I look forward to the excitement of increased sales, both in home delivery and single copy, as the vacation season winds down and consumers settle in and prepare for the winter months ahead.

For most media companies, the fall also represents the start of a new school year and an opportunity to reach arguably the industry’s most important audience: young readers.

The idea for this blog post came to me when a potential client asked if the company I work for had ever done any Newspapers-in-Education funding programmes. I was somewhat surprised to hear this request, simply because most newspapers have cut back on investment in student readership programmes such as NIE.

This gave me pause to reflect on the importance of student readership and the fact that many newspaper companies have ...


3 tips for employing outside help for direct marketing campaigns

05 August 2014 · By Nadine Chevolleau

At the Toronto Star, we create most of our direct marketing subscription offers in-house. From messaging to creative design, we do it all – and I think we do it well. But as well as we do it, we are always looking to improve. 

This is why I decided to work with an agency last month to develop some new concepts for our direct marketing campaign for subscription sales.

Don’t get me wrong: I am constantly testing new creative, messaging, and data against our best performer. But I felt perhaps it was time to draw some inspiration from elsewhere.

The agency we hired had experience developing direct marketing campaigns for the newspaper industry, so I felt comfortable giving them control over the creative design and messaging used for our direct mail and e-mail campaign.

I told the agency I did not want them to ...


The tablet vs. the smartphone: What is the device of the future?

20 July 2014 · By Sandy MacLeod

At the INMA World Congress event in San Francisco in May, there was considerable buzz after the presentation by Montreal’s La Presse regarding La Presse Plus, a tablet-only offering that has generated considerable local interest and a consumer stickiness that is surprising many.

La Presse’s results so far are impressive, with more than 400,000 downloads of the app, daily personal usage of more than 120,000, and time-spent levels that make most news Web sites or tablet offerings pale by comparison.

When the tablet first emerged, there was great fanfare that this new platform could be just what newspapers needed to find a path into the digital future. While it has taken longer than one might have expected to embrace the tablet, perhaps ...


About this blog

The Satisfying Audiences Blog aims to reflect print and digital content not just across platforms but extending into consumer events, non-news-related subscriptions and other audience vehicles for newsmedia companies. This blog written by INMA members is dedicated to identifying the emerging linkages between content, audiences, and platforms. The blog is an initiative by the INMA North America Division Board of Directors.

Meet the bloggers

Lynne Brennen
New Leaf Media Consulting
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
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Nadine Chevolleau
Consumer Marketing
The Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Elisabeth Clark
Vice President
Audience & Engagement
South Bend Tribune
Indiana, USA
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Kathleen Coleman
Sales & Marketing
S-R Media
Spokane, Washington, USA
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Anne Crassweller
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Jim Fleigner
Managing Partner
Impact Consultancy
Santa Monica, California, United States
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Claire Hawley
Audience Acquisition
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, USA
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Dan Johnson
Vice President,
Business Development
Spokane, Washington, USA
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Sandy MacLeod
Vice President
Consumer Marketing and Strategy
The Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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John Newby
The Times
Ottawa, Illinois, USA
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Siobhan Vinish
Senior Vice President
Marketing & Audience Development
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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New York City, New York, USA

Shane Murray
Executive Director, Analytics in the Consumer Insight Group
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