It's a rare day indeed when I agree this much with Silicon Alley Insider's Henry Blodget. But his plan to fix the NY Times seems right on the money to me. In a nutshell, cut costs, raise print subscription prices, and charge for the online edition. That last one will raise eyebrows, but there's a way to do it that would likely only cut traffic in half, and still keep the Times' stories on the top of the news agenda. (Hint: copy the Wall Street Journal's syndication and navigation strategy.)
If you're a marketer or a media company thinking about mobile audiences, here's a little perspective. (See this report.) While there will be plenty of on-the-go laptops with broadband access in the US, they'll be dwarfed by the number of 3G mobile phones. Broadband phones will reach critical mass -- 15% to 20% of the population, 40 to 50 million users -- if not mass-market reach, by 2010.
Finishing up -- a little late, natch -- my Predictions 2009 report, so I'll tease the ideas here for comment. It's more about themes than outright predictions, so I'll add a few obligatory ones at the end.
These are the five catalysts for near-term change, the forces that are driving the online media business for the next 12 to 24 months:
Because I wear a music-industry analyst hat on occasion, I'm allowed to indulge in a top 10 list. It was a good year for new music - better than movies (and I'm not the only one who thought so) - so of course sales are down. I bought 40 albums, which is 10 less than last year. (I qualify as a high-spending, digitally active "aficionado," in Jupiter's music customer segmentation; which numbers me among 16% of online adults.)
A thoughtful post from the guys in Stamford. If marketers really figured out social media, wouldn't that be the death of traditional mass media? Probably not - at least not soon - says Gartner's Andrew Frank.
I had fun judging some mobile content yesterday. I'm sworn to secrecy, but trust me, the winners were cool. And some of them even integrated advertising gracefully.
However, I was a bit disappointed - as were several other judges - about how many of the apps missed out on applying some core values. Way too much "port over a Web app, and try real hard to accommodate the small screen and keyboard."
In the face of overall economic turmoil, advertising spending
appears to be holding up a little better online than in other
media. Jupiter forecasts that US spending on online display
advertising will end up growing 12 percent in 2008 to reach $8.3 billion, then
slow to an eight percent rate in 2009, when it will reach $8.9
billion. Financial services spending on display ads will decline for the
next two years, while auto and lead generation will remain essentially
flat. (See US Online Category Advertising Forecast, 2008 to 2013.)