DOW JONES: WINNERS AND LOSERS

Files under General | Jul 31st

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Yes, Murdoch is the big winner.

But the Bancrofts are not losers.

They got a lot of money.

The real loser is the American newspaper industry.

They don’t believe in the future of newspapers.

Including one of the most unique companies.

Because nobody, nobody, nobody in the U.S. had the guts to bid for Dow Jones.

So… who is going to buy any serious newspaper company in the future?

Not U.S. publishers.

But other Murdochs.

The message is clear to me:

The U.S. newspaper industry is on sale.

The problem is that nobody will offer $5 billion for a newspaper group again.

The DJ sale is the last big one.

The rest will be cheaper.

These are very sad days for the American press.

And great days for anybody that believes in the future of newspapers.

Like Murdoch.

Like INNOVATION.



YOUNG READERS AND THE “GUANTANAMO MENTALITY”

Files under General | Jul 30th

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The Associated Press is killing its “asap” service in October.

About 200 newspapers subscribed to this service.

It was launched in 2005 as a response to the growth of blogs and youth tabs.

ASAP has 24 staff members.

It offers a variety of packages and reports (including a lot of video and photo galleries) targeting a younger and/or quirkier audience than the standard AP report.

A good service, but in our Young Readers Global Report for the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), one of our main recommendations was not to develop ghetto sections for young readers.

They hate this kind of Guantanamo mentality.

As we said:

Over the last several months, INNOVATION has conducted a global search for the most creative ways to capture young readers.

We have also carried out intense internal discussions among our consultants and clients, and have come to this radical conclusion:

Special sections, tailored supplements, clever Web sites and multimedia projects will not by themselves attract new readers to newspapers.

Millions have been spent on such projects over the past few years, and almost nothing is working.

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ONLINE NEWSPAPER AUDIENCES IN THE USA

Files under NAA, Online newspapers, internet | Jul 25th

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Good news:

More than 59 million people (37.3 percent of all active Internet users) visited newspaper Web sites on average during the second quarter of 2007, a record number that represents a 7.7 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to custom analysis provided by Nielsen/NetRatings for the Newspaper Association of America.

In addition, newspaper Web site visitors generated nearly 2.7 billion page views per month throughout the quarter, compared to slightly more than 2.5 billion during the same period last year.

The second quarter figures are the highest for any quarter since NAA began tracking these numbers in 2004.



IS WATER NEXT?

Files under Barcelona, EL PERIODICO, THE NEW YORKER | Jul 25th

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Today, EL PERIODICO has this interesting front page.

Quotes from angry readers screaming against the power failure.

A good front page.

But no one has been better than the cover of the New Yorker after a similar situation in Manhattan a few years ago:

Is Water Next?

A perfect headline for the much needed what’s-next journalism.

I am from Barcelona.

So, I can’t understand why almost all the city has been with no electricity for two days.

Catalans are seen in many parts of Spain as prone to separatism.

Well… here are some ways to prevent it:

One: Privatize the state-controlled, third-world Barcelona airport.

Now, you have to connect in Madrid for too many international flights.

In my whole life, Barcelona airport is the only one to have lost one of my suitcases!

Two: Speed up the arrival of fast trains – coming to Barcelona later than to any other big city in Spain.

A shame when the first train line in Spain was the Barcelona-Mataro one.

Third: Invest in the orbital highways around Barcelona.

See the differences with Madrid in this graphic chart posted in an excellent Catalan blog.

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SELLING BUILDINGS

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Forbes magazine is trying to sell its building in Manhattan for $140 million.

The New York Times not only sold the old headquarters in Times Square for $525 million, but also its former printing plant for $11.5 million.

Is this a trend?

Yes.

Sell all your non-core business assets.

Including printing presses.

And invest all this money in the digital transition.

As soon as possible.

Period.



GOOD HEADLINES

Files under General | Jul 24th

The New York Daily News shows today how to write a good headline.

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CLONE JOURNALISM IN CHILE: SAME HEADLINES, DIFFERENT NEWSPAPERS

El Mercurio and La Tercera in Chile are very good newspapers.

They want to be different.

But last Monday their sport supplements came up with the same headlines for the same story.

(Thanks to Juan Pablo Garnham Oyarzún)

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SOFT SELF-COVERAGE ABOUT THE SULZBERGER FAMILY

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Clark Hoyt, the new public editor of The New York Times, is right:

The New York Times has been very soft covering the Sulzberger family, and very agressive covering the Bancrofts.

The lead of his great column:

HERE’S a story I’d like to read — and I’ll bet you would too.

One of America’s leading companies, a world-famous brand, has hit a rough patch.

Its revenues and profits are declining, its debt rating has been downgraded, and a leading Wall Street house has advised investors to dump their shares.

With sales of its core product falling, the company is raising the price and investing heavily in new technology that is slow to pay off.

A major outside shareholder has been agitating to end the stock structure that has allowed one storied and powerful family to run the company for four generations. Another family in the same troubled industry appears ready to throw in the towel, will this family be able to stick together and find new success?

This is dramatic and important stuff.

And it’s the kind of story you often read on the front page or the Sunday Business front of The New York Times.

But you haven’t read this one in full, sweeping style because the company is The New York Times, and the family is the close-knit and extraordinarily private Ochs-Sulzbergers, descendants of Adolph Ochs, who came up from Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1896, bought the failing New-York Times and put it on the path to greatness.

Hoyt is a former Knight-Ridder editor.

I met him several times in the past and I’m sure he is going to be a good public editor.

Newspaper ombudsmen are always controversial figures.

Clark Hoyt is going to be one of the most controversial ones.



FACEBOOK?

Files under Christian Oliver, Facebook, Google, John Naughton | Jul 23rd

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Facebook is not another Google is a great column by John Naughton.

I was very impressed by the news about Facebook and then I asked our expert, Christian Oliver, and he responded like John Naughton:

Nothing beats meeting people…

I am glad to be in agreement with our British colleague.

And against the current opinion trend.



THE APPLE iPHONE AND A LESSON FROM WILLIAM SHAWN

Files under General | Jul 23rd

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This little picture stands in my office, next to my desk.

It is very small and not very good, but it’s the only one that I have from one of my two meetings with the legendary editor of The New Yorker, Mr. William Shawn.

And I say “Mr. Shawn” because that’s what everybody called him.

Mr. Shawn had a very small corner office in the old headquarters of the magazine founded by Harold Ross.

On his desk there was a pencil holder, full of sharpened lead pencils.

And dozens of article proofs waiting for his fierce editing.

Facts, facts, facts, he insisted. We are a factual magazine.

And to explain the idea, Mr. Shawn told me a great, great story in his office that afternoon.

One day, Harold Ross comes to the newsroom (separate elevators for journalists and managers) and grabs a young reporter in the hall and says:

Oh boy, parking in Manhattan is worse than ever.

We need to do something!

Go to the streets around the building and check how many cars are parked, how many spaces are available, and how much time the cars stay parked.

Marching orders.

Of course, the young reporter went to the streets and nobody knows how, but he delivered what he was asked to do.

Mr. Shawn smiled to me and said:

Well, Mr. Giner, this is the tradition in this house: first the facts, at any cost.

I remembered this lesson today reading recent stories about iPhone sales.

It’s amazing that so many “financial analysts” and other “experts” are giving numbers with no explanation about the sources.

Just a few examples:

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster released a report Sunday night estimating that the iPhone sales would reach 500,000 through the close of business Sunday. He had previously forecast first weekend sales of 200,000

Despite a wide range of claims from analysts about the iPhone’s sales on opening weekend, the most official word comes from AT&T’s spokesman Mark Siegel who indicates that the iPhone sales on opening weekend were more than they’d sold in the first month of any other wireless device in AT&T’s history.

Shaw Wu claims that 250,000 units sold over two days, while Gene Munster estimates 500,000 and Trip Chowdhry says 525,000 for the weekend.

Analyst estimates for iPhone sales in its first weekend run as high as 700,000 units, beating many investors’ expectations, and some now expect the momentum to continue. The device went on sale last Friday.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster recently raised his target price for Apple’s stock from US$160 up to $205. 24/7 Wall St.’s Douglas A. McIntyre, however, thinks he’s way off base, and even went so far as to call the prediction “nutty.”

Mr. Munster’s model for Apple assumes the company will sell 45 million iPhones in 2009.

David Bailey said in a research note earlier this week the he expected iPhone sales during its first weekend would be around 350,000 units, but thinks actual sales may have been double that.

Shoppers may have bought as many as 700,000 iPhones over the weekend, Goldman Sachs Inc. analyst David Bailey said, twice his projection of 350,000. Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster pegged sales at 500,000, more than twice his original 200,000 estimate. On the lower end of the estimates, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.’s Bill Shope said sales may have reached 312,000 in the days after the device’s Friday debut. American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu, who called his initial 50,000 estimate conservative, wrote in a note Monday that Apple may have sold five times as many.

The problem with all these figures, as Reuters says today, is that Apple is expected to show a 35-percent surge in quarterly profit this Wednesday, but the focus will be on just two days: the last 48 hours of June when its highly anticipated iPhone went on sale.

The iPhone contributed virtually none of the $637 million Apple is forecast to have earned, but investors are eager for the first official word on how many of the combination phone, Web browser, media player devices were sold at launch.

And this explains why Apple selected that date for the launch: the last two days of the quarter, in order to show big numbers and impress these second-class, fly-by-night, hole-in-the-wall reporters who are so-called “financial analysts” and “experts.”

During my vacation, I read a very good piece from The New York Times about the sophisticated Apple spin.

Joe Nocera is right.

There is only spin!

I have my own iPhone.

It works better than any other cellular phone in the world.

I am very happy with that.

But I am really worried about Apple’s media manipulation.

And about these miserable “financial analysts” and “experts.”

So… The New York Times’s of the world need editors like Harold Ross and William Shawn.

Sending the troops to the Apple and AT&T stores to get the facts.

If needed, doing exit polls, like in the elections.

Remember:

First the facts, at any cost.