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Satisfying Audiences

If you think Big Data investment is optional, your news media company is in trouble

25 June 2015 · By John Newby

It is no secret the onset of the Internet and digital ages truly transformed and continues to transform the way news media companies conduct their business. In fact, most news media companies are still trying to gather their sea legs during the current storm of digital progress as they continue to figure that model out.

The saying “there is no rest for the weary” is certainly appropriate for the violent transformation storm that rages on. Even as news media companies are trying to stand back up from the storm, along comes the next wave of stormy change.

The storm of Big Data. Big Data will not only transform the way we think about our businesses just as the Internet and digital has, but, more importantly, it will change the way we view and think about our customers forever.

It will once again transform the entire landscape.

Big Data really isn’t the most appropriate term. It isn’t about Big Data at all, but rather many bits of small data with ...


From marijuana to Minecraft enthusiasts, news media audiences are in constant flux

10 June 2015 · By Dan Johnson

My family recently moved back to our hometown of Denver, Colorado, after having been gone for just over 12 years.

During the time we were away, the world changed a great deal. When we left in 2002, there was no such thing as Facebook or YouTube. Google was still privately held, and the word “google” hadn’t even been used as a verb yet! Cell phones did little more than make calls and no one had heard of “smartphones,” “apps,” or “tablets.”

Many things changed in Denver while we were gone, as well. The city had grown a great deal and infrastructure development projects that were just in the planning stages in 2002 (such as a highways and the light rail system) had become a reality and are still developing.

As I pondered these changes both locally and across the United States, it occurred to me that these developments also represented the potential for new audiences.

When we talk in terms of audience, we are talk about demographics, psychographics, etc., but we also focus on culture, interests, and trends. As the pace of global change increases, so do the audiences that are available to media companies.

In addition, because of the pace of change, many audiences haven’t even ...


5 steps for cultivating deeper consumer relationships

08 June 2015 · By Dan Schaub

Today’s publishers have the opportunity to celebrate the deepest and most enriching relationships they’ve ever had with their consumers. While it’s been known for years that newspaper publishers have rich pools of data on their users, the pot of gold has gotten even richer.

Publishers don’t report the size of their audience by using magical black boxes in a small sample of living rooms. They don’t use a survey to estimate how many users might be absorbing their product as they drive to work.

Most publishers have actual names and addresses for the majority of their users. In fact, publishers receive payments from their users each month and they drive by the homes of these users on a daily basis. While this is impressive, this is old news.

Many publishers are developing three-dimensional type relationships with consumers. The modern day “all-access subscriber” often has several connections to a publisher’s products throughout the course of a day.

This can start with the consumer receiving the daily print newspaper. A little later in the morning, the consumer may receive a morning sports update covering scores and highlights from across all time zones.

Later in the day, this same consumer might receive a digital evening edition or ...


Publishing companies can keep pace by hiring digital specialists, not generalists

04 June 2015 · By Claire Hawley

Staying up-to-date with your favourite brands and news sources is becoming ever easier. As technology evolves, the separation between platforms blurs and the communication stream steadily drones out messages regardless of whether you’re on a mobile device, tablet, connected television, or smartwatch, and whether you’re in your car … or on your lawnmower?

The downside to this seamless connection for readers is that, for publishers, connecting with our audience has become far more complicated.

In the past couple months alone, we’ve had several noteworthy launches from the big guys:

  • Facebook launched Instant Articles amid a flurry of questions around whether the company’s intentions are good or bad, but leaving us with the conclusion that Facebook is every publisher’s best frenemy.

  • The first car is now available with ...

6 ways employees can be marketing ambassadors for your news media company

25 May 2015 · By Dan Johnson

I was recalling recently how several years ago, when preparing to go to market with a new subscription model at a newspaper where I worked, we decided to put together focus groups to gauge reaction to the product offering, the pricing, and the marketing of our new model.

We did two focus groups: one with outside participants who signed up via our Web site, and a second focus group that included a cross-section of employees from different departments (and different demographics) throughout the company.

The feedback we received from both groups was valuable. Needless to say, it was nice to have an “outsider’s” perspective from the folks recruited from our Web site, although the group was not truly representative of our market, as the people who responded and signed up for the group were all over the age of 65 with one exception.

The comments and suggestions we received from the employees, though, were priceless for many reasons. Their working knowledge of our vision, our mission, and what we were trying to ...


Dallas Morning News changes reader comment strategy to satisfy silent audience

19 May 2015 · By Nicki Purcell

In my last blog post, I talked about why The Dallas Morning News participates in Matter, the only media-based accelerator. One of the reasons is to be continuously reminded that to really satisfy your audience members, you have to get out and meet them, talk with them, and listen.

When I think about a future when we are great at satisfying the audiences that will engage with us, it gets me thinking: How do we satisfy the silent audience?

You know who I’m talking about. They read content and read the comments at the bottom of the story but don’t participate. Are they satisfied? Could it be that while they prefer not to publicise their thoughts, they are actually quite dissatisfied?

Sure, we can track click behaviour and frequency of visit metrics among our millions of ...


3 creative thinking tactics to satisfy audiences

07 May 2015 · By Kathleen Coleman

A very (very) close woman friend (OK, a relative) of mine last summer declined my offer of an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga in concert. Luxury hotel, presidential suite, all meals, VIP seating at the show. Ughhh … nope. Why not? “I’d feel guilty going somewhere myself because the kids haven’t been on a vacation in two years.”

When I shared this story with a colleague, he instantly piped up, “I’ll go with ya!” expressing no guilt in imagining his explanation of the getaway: “Kids, I gave you life. My work is done here.”

His flexible and creative mental work-around cracked me up.

But when a “my work is done here” mentality comes out at work – especially in the creative work of media product development – it’s not nearly as amusing.

Agency creatives are used to a “turn-and-burn” work pace, often focusing on problem solving instead of true breakthrough concepts. Need a Web site? Boom, here you go. A brochure? Sure, we know how to do that.

Newspaper and media company staff in particular can get caught in this trap; our deadline-driven culture and a “good enough” rule often result in ...


When outsourcing Big Data makes sense

04 May 2015 · By Jim Fleigner

The advent of Big Data has brought with it a number of accelerating trends that have been almost too quick to comprehend.

One of these has been the increasing belief that newspapers need to “own their data,” which is to say that data (or at least the right data) is so valuable (when used properly) that it should never be allowed to leave the confines of a newspaper’s data system, since handing off that data to a third party somehow transfers power and influence to that third party and undermines a newspaper’s long-term health and power.

However, this conclusion is misguided. In fact, there are several compelling reasons why newspapers should strongly favour turning to third-party vendors that manage their Big Data. (Or, more accurately, the right third-party vendors.)

Let’s begin with one obvious truth that existed long before Big Data became a catchphrase: Time is money. For every day, week, or month that goes by, improvement opportunities are available that, if left uncaptured, are like seeing a 20 dollar bill on the ground and not ...


What newspapers can learn from alternative weeklies

16 April 2015 · By Dan Johnson

In my spare time, when I’m not thinking or writing about the newspaper industry, my main hobby is music. In my house, we either listen to music or play it live pretty much whenever we have free time. (My wife and I are in an acoustic quartet that plays around town.) In addition, we love concerts! Big or small, national or local, we make a point of trying to see music in any town we visit.

Now, I hate to admit this, but the local daily newspaper is often not the first place I go first to find out about these shows.

Let’s talk about alternative weekly newspapers. You know the ones. Every city has them. They are the irreverent, sensational magazines distributed at the entrance to the local head shop.

Editors I have worked with shunned the idea of being compared in any way to these local freebies. I agree that we should distance ourselves editorially from these publications as much as possible. But these publications do bring value to consumers, and there are some areas in which newspapers ...


New York Times research finds young news readers seek reliable news sources

13 April 2015 · By Sonia Yamada

Media Insight Project’s study “How Millennials Get News” reported that 85% of Millennials say keeping up with the news is at least somewhat important to them, giving news providers reasons to be optimistic about our chances of attracting this important audience.

You might be wondering why we are all so interested in this generation. People entering adulthood have always been different from older generations. So what’s new? Can’t we just wait for them to grow up?

We care because Millennials are ...


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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Kathleen Coleman
Sales & Marketing
S-R Media
Spokane, Washington, USA
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Kevin Curnock
Executive Director
Business Improvement
Brunswick News
St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
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Jim Fleigner
Managing Partner
Impact Consultancy
Santa Monica, California, United States
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Claire Hawley
Vice President of Audience Development
Tribune Publishing
Los Angeles, California, USA
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Dan Johnson
Vice President,
Business Development
Gilbert, Arizona, USA
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Sandy MacLeod
Chief Operating Officer, Print
The Toronto Star/Metro English
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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John Newby
The Times
Ottawa, Illinois, USA
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Nicki Purcell
Chief Digital Officer and Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales
The Dallas Morning News
Dallas, Texas, USA
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Dan Schaub
Corporate Director of Audience Development
The McClatchy Company
Sacramento, California, United States
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Maria Terrell
Director of Content
Dallas, Texas, USA
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New York City, New York, USA


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