More Business Bytes entries

Pay for Content? Whaddya, Nuts? The Irish Times started charging for breaking news, is charging for streaming video — all while a new study finds that 70 percent of Internet-using adults “can’t understand why anyone would pay for content.” Get the low-down on cutbacks and charging for content in’s new Digital Media Business News Round-Up archives.

Why Information Will No Longer Be Free
With more readers and classified ad dollars moving online, newspaper
executives are increasingly looking to the Web to make money, leading to new
subscription models, writes
Michael Scherer in the Columbia Journalism Review
. "The free ride that
proved so costly for newspapers is coming to an end," he says. "Online news
junkies will increasingly have to give up money or personal information to get
their previously free fix." [3/5]

New High-Tech Magazine
These are tough times for high-tech magazines. Popular ones such as Yahoo!
Internet Life, The Industry Standard, On Magazine, Red Herring and Upside
recently closed down, and other established ones like Wired and Business 2.0
have struggled. So it takes a lot of guts to launch a new technology magazine —
and Fred Davis, the former editor of PC Week and PC Magazine, has guts. He’s
launched a new magazine, DigiT, aimed at
the consumer masses. It’s meant to be a "digital lifestyle" magazine, which
features such as

Dean Kamen’s Segway Killed My Puppy!
The pilot issue is on the newstands
now. With its consumer approach and its timing — as the ad market slowly picks
up — it might just succeed, if it’s smart and avoids the excesses of the
dot-com era failures. [3/5]

Salon’s Costly, Controversial Content
In addition to the troubling financial news, Salon’s recent quarterly report
including some disconcerting statements claiming that advocacy groups that
disagreed with content on Salon had targeted Salon’s advertisers to persuade
them to pull their ads. In a section titled, "THE CONTROVERSIAL CONTENT OF
SALON’S WEBSITES MAY LIMIT ITS REVENUES," the company wrote: "Many of our
websites contain, and will continue to contain, content that is politically and
culturally controversial. As a result of this content, current and potential
advertisers and Salon Premium subscribers may refuse to do business with Salon.
Salon’s outspoken stance on political issues has and may continue to result in
negative reactions from some users, commentators and other media outlets. From
time to time, certain advocacy groups have successfully targeted Salon’s
advertisers in a attempt to persuade such advertisers to cease doing business
with Salon. These efforts may be a material impediment to Salon’s ability to
grow and maintain advertising revenue." If true, this means that groups unhappy
with Salon’s content may have contributed to the company’s cutbacks and possible
demise, stanching its freedom of speech.  [3/4]

Subscription Success
While the verdict is still out on charging for online content as a
business strategy, a promising signs comes from the Financial Times Web site.
Previously known for cash guzzling, has made a profit for the first time.
Despite introducing subscriptions last May, the  the overall number of
people using the site has continued to increase. In January, had a record 3.5 million users
, a 30 percent increase from a year
earlier considering the new charges of between ?59 and ?99 a year. [3/3]

Red Herring Dies
Technology magazine Red Herring has folded after 10 years. It’s the
latest in a string of deaths of technology publications, including Yahoo!
Internet Life, Forbes ASAP, The Industry Standard, Upside, Smart Business and
Silicon Alley. But Tony Perkins is already onto his next venture, the
AlwaysOn Network, a
collection of commentary by "celebrity bloggers." "AlwaysOn?s business model is
even more significant than its approach to technology and business content.
Perkins started the site with nothing more than a $150 blogging software package
called pMachine, and put only about $50,000 into the site?s development,"
told Fortune
. "He has a tiny staff?only three full-time and three part-time
employees. But from day one, he claims, his costs have been more than covered by
his four paying sponsors." [3/3]

Online Registration Turns Profits
Newspapers are increasinly requiring online users to register before accessing
their sites — and it’s proving profitable. The Dallas Morning News generated
more than $1 million with targeted e-mail products based on registration data,
Eric Christensen, vice president and general manager of Belo Interactive, told
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And Digby Solomon at the Chicago Tribune said
the paper expects to generate $250,000 in additional revenue this year because
of registration. Cox Enterprises and Morris Communications both plan to add
registration on their sites this year. [2/20]

Google Buys Blogger
The news that Google has bought Pyra, the company whose Blogger
software helped fuel the Weblog movement, was fittingly broken online

in San Jose Mecury News columnist Dan Gilmor’s eJournal Weblog
. The deal is
further proof that blogging has hit the big-time; the way it was broken
demonstrates the impact Weblogs are having on journalism. [2/17]

Salon: The End is Near
Salon says it might not survive past February if it cannot raise more money.
Things are so bad that the company lost $1.2 million during the final three
months of 2002 and couldn’t pay its rent in December. In a last-ditch effort,
the company
started requiring users to click through multiple screens of ads or pay for its
content last month
. As of Dec. 31, Salon’s site had 47,300 subscribers.

Money & the Web: Profit vs. Innovation
& News

How can we balance commercial demands vs. the need for inventiveness in defining
journalism on the Web? How can journalism in this medium move forward in
defining itself as it’s hit not only by sweeping technological change, but also
crushing financial needs? How do financial pressures affect journalism on the
Web? The Online News Association will be hosting a panel discussion on Feb. 18
at Baruch College in Manhattan. You can find more information about this and
other ONA programs on this page at

CNN Rebrands as
The CNN online network rebranded,
the online version of AOL Time Warner’s Sports Illustrated magazine, as
on Thursday. " The change to is our way of making clear to our longtime
friends and to our new visitors that we are Sports Illustrated’s home on the
Web, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Managing Editor Steve Robinson said.
The site, with roughly 3 million unique users a month, trails well behind
category leader in traffic, which regularly surpasses 7 million. [2/6]

Romenesko’s MediaNews Renamed Romenesko

Romenesko’s MediaNews has
been renamed Romenesko due to the threat of a lawsuit.
MediaNews Group CEO Dean
Singleton’s lawyers told Poynter: "The Jim Romenesko column entitled ‘MediaNews’
has just come to our client’s attention." (On what planet has this media company
been living?) The attorneys asked Poynter to "immediately cease from any further
use of ‘MediaNews’ as a trademark." Poynter President Jim Naughton says the
Weblog will be renamed Romenesko to recognize "Romenesko?s singular contribution
to journalists and the ways in which his name has become its own brand."
Read the
back-and-forth legal letters here
. [2/5]

Big Day for MarketWatch
Online financial news provider Inc. achieved its first
quarterly profit, raking in net fourth quarter income of $854,000 after the
company slashed operating expenses. CEO said the company expects to be
profitable for the current year. This is a pretty significant landmark. Web
properties of old-media companies such as have made profits, but
this is the biggest online journalism start-up to do so well. [1/29] Names New Editor in Chief has hired Dean Wright
, one of’s original producers, to
succeed Merrill Brown as editor in chief. Wright helped launch the site in 1996,
starting as a producer and becoming managing editor for news before leaving in
2000. Wright most recently worked for AOL Time Warner, leading efforts to
repackage content from Time Inc. to appeal to AOL customers. He told The
Associated Press he wants to make "a bit more populist" with more
coverage of lifestyle and entertainment. [1/27]

Newspaper Sites Showing Profits
Newspaper publishers, both large and small, are beginning to show increased
revenues from their online units. The Washington Post Co., Knight-Ridder, the
Wall Street Journal and Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises are
among those
reporting promising returns of late
. Lee, which publishes 38 newspapers,
reported last week that its online revenues increased 43 percent in its latest
quarter. [1/27]

Cox TV Joins IBS
Internet Broadcasting Systems continues expanding, adding all 15 Cox-owned
television stations in 11 markets to the roster of local news Web sites it
manages. With the addition of the 15 Cox stations, the IBS Network now includes
64 TV station sites and covers 93 percent of households in the largest TV
markets. [1/22]

Last-Ditch Business Plan for Struggling Salon
The struggling Salon, in a last-ditch effort to stay alive, is
expected to announce this week that it will require all readers to either buy a
subscription for full access to stories or agree to click through several
screens of advertising to gain limited access,

the Los Angeles Times reports
. "There’s no free lunch on the Web anymore,"
Salon founder David Talbot says. "There’s no viable media without developing a
base of revenue." Sad to say, it’s unlikely the new strategy will save Salon.
The publication has already become a watered-down version of the independent
journal it once was, while free competitor Slate has grown in audience and
quality. Paul Grabowicz, the director of the new media program at the UC
Berkeley school of journalism, says Salon’s only hope is to be subsidized,
considering how many other general interest publications exist online and in
print. "It’s just very hard to see how a publication like that can have revenue
that exceeds expenses." [1/21]

Digital City San Jose Shuts Down
AOL free-lancer Jill E. Vaile write in that the company has shut down
its Digital City San Jose office and site and merged it with its San Francisco
site, creating one San
Francisco Bay area site
. [1/20]

Netscape News Makes Top 20 News Sites
Netscape News, which primarily sucks
in content from, joined Nielsen//Netratings Top 20 Current Events &
Global News Sites rankings for December, bumping off Cox Newspapers.
Here are the ratings for
December 2002
. [1/15]

New Interactive Yellow Pages Models
Internet Yellow Pages offer a great opportunity for pulling in revenue and
driving consumers to Web sites, but many newspaper sites are missing out —
research by digital-media consultant
Borrell Associates
shows that 43 of the top 100 newspapers have no Yellow Pages offerings.
In an analysis for The Digital Edge, Borrell’s Peter Krasilovsky outlines some
of the ways newspaper sites are employing interactive yellow pages online and
some new technologies that show even more promise for the near future. "One
aspect in which newspapers enjoy a clear advantage over rivals is in placing
Yellow Pages ads in context with relevant content," he says. "Just as
well-placed groceries (peanut butter and jelly) lead to greater grocery sales,
well-placed links and buttons (‘Obits and flowers,’ ‘Travel and vacation homes’)
have been shown to increase yellow-pages traffic exponentially." [1/15]

What Sites Would You Pay For?
Suppose one morning the sites you
visit regularly — whether for work or for fun — started charging $52 a year
for unlimited access. Would you pay up? columnists Jason Fry and Tim
Hanrahan came up with a list — a short — list of the ones they’d ante up for:
Jim Romenesko’s Medianews
, eBay,,,, and AOL
Instant Messenger
. [1/14]

Tough Times for Tech Companies
Four the fourth time in two years, Cnet Networks has reduced its
staff, this time firing 80 more employees ? about 5 percent of its work force.
The latest purge will leave Cnet with slightly more than 1,500 employees, down
from 1,900 workers at the end of 2000. [1/14]

Remembrance of Dot-Com Idiocy Past
As James Ledbetter’s "Starving to Death on $200 Million a Year"
reveals, "the Industry Standard pissed away a fortune out of mere carelessness," 

writes Andrew Leonard in Salon
. [1/12]

The Seven Deadly Sins of Free Content
What can the Seven Deadly Sins teach us about the online news
industry’s historical proclivity for all things free? These sins are not just
applicable to individual properties, but to an entire interdependent
dysfunctional industry,
writes Robert Spears for
. [1/12]

Does it Pay to Charge for Online News?
"If I were to look in a crystal ball, I don’t foresee a day when you
have to pay for on-line news,"

says Michael Zimbalist
, executive director of the New York-based Online
Publishers Association. "There will always be resources out there that are
free." [1/8]

News Surfers’ Changing Habits
A new study finds that news site surfers’ habits change throughout
the day, with profound implications for the online news industry. "By morning,
our users are almost as interested in news ? breaking, local, national, business
and sports ? as they are in e-mail,"
says Rusty Coats,
whose MORI Research conducted the

2002 Online Consumer Study
for the Newspaper Association of America. "By
afternoon, with the importance of news waning, entertainment-category features
such as movie times, maps and directions, and offbeat news are on the rise. In
the evening, our ability to connect users with jobs, cars and homes becomes
central, along with our ability to facilitate their online-shopping needs ? from
researching products to actually purchasing products." Coats points out that the
findings could help online news sites become as important to nighttime, at-home
users as they currently are for daytime, at-work users, and reports that many
companies already have begun to redesign their Web sites based on these
findings. [1/8]

WSJ Online Not Laughing Anymore thought it was pretty clever when it launched an ad camapign called
Biz-O-Rama mocking its free
counterparts. But The New York Times reports that the Journal appeared to have
lost its sense of humor when MarketWatch tried to place an ad on The Journal
Online that asked, in a preliminary version, "Where does The Wall Street Journal
advertise ? when they need to reach the online business audience?" The ad’s
answer: CBS MarketWatch. Dow Jones not only rejected the ad, but then pulled its
Biz-O-Rama ad from The curious will be able to find the ad next
week in the online and print editions of Advertising Age. [1/6]  

Yahoo Sells AP Content
Yahoo has launched a
pay-for-use archive of Associated Press news stories.
The search engine on Yahoo News will be able to search the AP Archives going
back to Jan. 1, 1998, and display a list of results. Articles listed will cost
$1.50 to access. [12/18]

Pathfinder, Deja Vu
AOL Time Warner’s decision to move Time, Inc. content behind its subscription
wall continues to raise eyebrows. "This service, which started in the autumn of
1994 and closed in the spring of 1999, was called Pathfinder and proved two
things: Selling Time Warner content on the Internet was pretty much a
nonstarter, and the people at Time Warner lacked a certain flair for the

writes Michael Wolff in New York Magazine
. "We just don’t get it, they said.
Which was the essential reason for merging with AOL. Now, in a fascinating and
comic turn of events, AOL has come full circle to an idea that eerily resembles

Newspapers Bank on Web Sites
Here’s a switch: Newspaper

are now predicting
the Web will produce more revenue next year even as ad
spending in papers picks up — and are starting to view their Web sites as money
makers. At The New York Times, online ad sales were up 33 percent this year,
compared with single-digit growth in print ads. [12/16]

BBC online faces inquiry

The British government is launching an investigation into the BBC’s online
services in January to determine if the ?100m it spends annually on its Web
sites is justified. [12/11] is Profitable, to be in 2003 will be profitable this year,

the company says
will be profitable in 2003. [12/11] vs. ‘Biz-o-rama’
As more companies move toward charging for
online content, The Wall Street Journal Online is going all out in promoting the
concept. It’s launched a new television, print and online advertising campaign
aimed at demonstrating the benefits of subscription content over free online
content. The creative campaign pits the Online Journal against a fictitious free
site called ‘‘, to
reinforce the message that if people want quality business news they can really
trust, they should not rely on free sites but should subscribe to the Online
Journal. The campaign launched on television stations such as ESPN, Fox News and
CNBC this week, as well as on sites such as Motley Fool  and
"There’s no denying the quantity of freely available business information on the
Web, but it can’t compete with the quality, breadth and depth of the Journal’s
business reporting," Scott Schulman, president, Dow Jones Consumer Electronic
Publishing, said. "For a small annual subscription, users can access
Journal-quality insight, news and analysis that they can’t see anywhere else."

Coping With a Web That’s No Longer Free
The increasing amount of subscription content online is bound to impact
our lives in many ways. "We may be looking at a holiday season where a
grandmother buys her grandson a season pass to Fantasy Football Insider,"

writes James Kiernan in Media Life Magazine
. "There is even the scary
possibility of a day where teenagers peddle yearly subscriptions to Web sites to
raise money for their school." [12/10]

Behind the Scenes: Media Unspun’s Demise
As Media Unspun prepares to shut down on
Friday, publisher Jimmy Guterman
says in a Q&A with’s Jonathan Dube
that the only way for
independent Web publishers to survive is
by banding together as a network
to "preserve our idiosyncratic voices, but share a business back end." He also
says, "Journalistic Weblogs have to be
two-way to work, otherwise they’re either vanity publishing ventures or
traditional columns pretending to be hip."

Media Unspun, an online and e-mail
publication analyzing media coverage of technology business news, will suspend
publication on Friday Dec. 13, unless a major sponsor or investors is found
before then. [12/9]

Publishers Divided on Free Content Online
Extra-fee premium services are the fastest-growing revenue source for
many publishers. But despite AOL Time Warner’s move to limit much of its
magazine content to subscribers,

publishers still say
free, advertising-supported services will be around for
a long time. [12/9]

Media Unspun to Die

Media Unspun, a
publication analyzing media coverage of technology business news, will suspend
publication on Friday Dec. 13, unless a major sponsor or investors is found
before then. The publication was launched in January by the same team that
produced the Media Grok for the Industry Standard, after it folded. "We launched
a subscription- and advertising-supported email newsletter about the technology
business during an economic slowdown that is having a particularly violent
effect on the publishing, technology, and advertising industries," publisher
Jimmy Guterman wrote to subscribers. "Despite the high quality of the
newsletter, as evidenced by the feedback we receive every day, we can’t fight a
hurricane." [12/4]

Influential Online Media Sites
Jim Romenesko (the man behind
) and Patrick Phillips (publisher of are arguably two of the
most influential figures in the publishing industry,
writes Folio.
"These two Web sites are the virtual hubs for media news, gossip, speculation,
and general industry-related hullabaloo. You ignore them at your professional
peril." [12/3]

Electronic News Dies in Print, Lives Online
Reed Business Information has
shut down
the print edition of the 45-year-old weekly Electronic News, which had
46,000 subscribers and claimed to have coined the phrase "Silicon Valley." But
Reed will continue running the Electronic News Web site, which provides daily
news updates and an e-mail newsletter with 65,000 subscribers.
[11/26] Founding Publisher Leaves
As The Wall Street Journal Online moves
toward profitability, its founding publisher, Neil Budde, announced he is
leaving. Interestingly, Dow Jones is not going to replace him. "We have quite a
strong team of executives who are in place,"

said Scott Schulman
, president of Dow Jones’s Consumer Electronic Publishing
unit, which was cash-flow positive in the third quarter. [11/25]

Reuters Targeting Consumer Audience
The re-launch of in the U.S., as mentioned here
earlier this week
, marks the beginning of the company’s first
"direct-to-consumer publishing," meaning it will now compete with sites like CBS
MarketWatch for eyeballs. The company is beginning this new initiative with
ad-supported e-mail newsletters such as a pre-market opening report and a weekly
funds review. But the site plans on adding "other new content, tools and
functionality" regularly throughout 2003, including premium subscriptions and
other paid-content products. The new site, the company said, also marks the
first phase of a global expansion that will include companion sites targeted at
other key markets in Asia and Europe within the next 12 months. [11/21]

Salon Delisted
Salon has been
delisted from
the Nasdaq. [11/21]

Salon in Trouble
The site could run out of money as soon as the end of November, the
Associated Press reports. [11/20] Loses Subscribers to Technical Glitch says in its
10-Q filing
that its subscription system is causing it to lose annual
subscribers. "For the three months ended September 30, 2002, approximately 57
percent of the Company’s net subscription revenue was derived from annual
subscriptions, as compared to approximately 71 percent for the three months
ended September 30, 2001. This decrease in the percent of annual subscriptions
is partially due to the Company’s need to outsource fulfillment of new email
subscription products initially to a third party and that third party’s
technological inability to provide annual subscriptions." [11/20]

Newspapers Win Back Online Recruitment Share
Newspapers have taken a small but significant slice of
help-wanted advertising market share from online players in the past year,

according to a Goldman, Sachs & Co. research report

Who Needs a Pretty Website Anyway?
"Galling as it may be to Internet aesthetes,"
writes Ian
Mount in Business 2.0
, Knight Ridder Digital "is proving that Web design
that’s unfriendly to users may be just fine, as long as it’s friendly to
advertisers and cheap to operate. [11/16]

El Pais Goes Subscription
The Spanish daily El Pais

has begun charging
for access to all parts of its Web site,,
making it the first big general-interest paper in Europe to put its entire
interactive newspaper behind a paid subscription wall. A few European
general-interest papers — notably El Mundo in Spain and Le Monde in France —
charge for access to some content. [11/18]

The’s Serious Business
The continues its move into subscription content,
announcing plans to start offering equity research as a product.
intends to bring in between six and 12 analysts during the next 12 to 18 months,

The Wall Street Journal reports
. [11/15]

News Sites Fail to Attract Big Advertisers
Online news sites are not getting their fair share of national advertisers
because the metrics that have been used haven’t been very understandable,

reports Editor & Publisher’s Carl Sulli

Web Publishers’ Ad Revenues Up
Internet publishers saw advertising revenue jump 36% in the third quarter versus
the same period last year, reports
. An Online Publishers Association survey of
18 Internet publications also found that year-to-date advertising revenue
increased 24% from the same period a year ago. [11/13]

This Column Brought to You
Borrowing a technique from broadcasters, here’s a new
twist on Web sponsorships: On

this CBS Marketwatch story about Reuters facing mounting challenges
, a 3M
logo not only moves across the screen, but audio automatically fires when the
page is loaded, announcing, "This column is brought to you by 3M." [11/13]

Slow Growth of E-Editions
Electronic magazine editions are still more of
a novelty than anything, but they got a boost last week with the unveiling of
the Tablet PC, which is ideal for reading such publications and actually came
preloaded with digital editions of four machines: BusinessWeek, Harvard Business
Review, Technology Review and PC Magazine. Six other publishers
say they will provide
issues available for download sometime in 2003: The New Yorker, Forbes, Slate
(owned by Microsoft), the Financial Times, and two international economic
magazines — France’s Les Echoes and Germany’s Wirtschafts Woche. PC Magazine,
for its part, says its electronic edition had 6,700 subscribers as of June —
out of a total circulation of 1.2 million readers. Publisher Tim Castelli

tells AdWeek
the number is growing rapidly and should reach around 100,000
by the end of the year. [11/12]

MarketWatch on the Prowl?
After failed efforts to aquire
and 10K, CBS MarketWatch is reportedly in talks to acquire Edgar Online, a
provider of Securities and Exchange Commission filings, sources told
The New York Post.
[10/11] to Add Video Subscriptions plans to add

a video subscription service
that will offer viewers higher quality video.
The site will continue offering free video.  [11/6]

Broadcasting & Cable Starts Charging
Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News
having begun

charging for their Web sites
.  [11/6]

Weather Channel Begins Subscription Alerts
The Weather Channel has begun charging for
subscription service
that delivers weather alerts via home telephones, cell
phones, pagers or directly to their e-mail address.  [11/5]

Electronic Edition Helps New York Times Post Gains
The New York Times electronic edition helped
the newspaper report a  circulation increase for the six months ending
Sept. 30, since newspapers are allowed to count them in the figures reported to
the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Times Co. spokesman Toby Usnik told

E&P Online
that about 3,600 consumers have purchased The New York Times
Electronic Edition since the product was first offered. For the latest ABC
reporting period, about 2,200 Monday-Friday Electronic Editions were counted as
paid circ, and about 1,700 for Sundays. [11/5]

Wash. Post Co. Reports Online Revenue Gains
The Washington Post Co. joined the list of newspaper publishers reporting

in their new-media divisions during the third quarter.

Is the End in Sight for ‘Free’ News
on the Web?

An increasing number of news outlets across Europe are charging readers for
online features like online horoscopes, crossword
puzzles, advanced peaks at magazine articles and for full-fledged subscriptions

Reuters reports

Better Than Losing Money… is
expected to break even
by the end of the year.

Consumer Reports’ Web Site Reaches 1 Million
Subscribers, the subscription-only Web site for Consumer Reports

has reached 1 million subscribers
, a first for a major Web publication.
Subscriptions, which cost $24 a year, have grown sharply, rising from 690,000
subscribers last November.

The Economics of Electronic Editions

Poynter examines
the economics of electronic editions of newspapers. "They
might be most useful for small papers with a competent design desk but a small
(or nonexistent) web staff. As long as the paper is creating digital pages at
some point in the production process, it’s no great leap for those to become PDF
files on the web." Launches “NewsDirect”
Subscription Service, the online Web site of the Los Angeles Times, has launched
NewsDirect, a
personalized subscription service delivering news alerts, full-text articles and
other information directly to users’ desktops, e-mail boxes or
mobile devices.

NY Times Digital’s Revenues Up
New York Times Digital has achieved

an operating profit
for the fifth-consecutive quarter, with revenues
increasing 26.8% to $18.2 million in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the number of surfers have surpassed the number of print subscribers.

Wall Street Journal’s Online Health Edition
The Wall Street Journal Online’s health
industry edition, the company’s first electronic industry vertical, may well
show how a publisher can profitably repurpose content,
Ad Age reports.

Like E-mail Newsletters

E-mail newsletters are a powerful tool to push content to readers who might not
visit a site regularly, and now there’s a new study backing that up. People
connect more to content sources through e-mail newsletters than through Web
sites, according to a new study. "Newsletters feel personal because they arrive
in your e-mail inbox, and you have an ongoing relationship with them. In
contrast, Web sites are things you glance at when you need to find an answer to
a specific question,"

said Jakob Nielsen
, principal of Nielsen Norman Group, a Freemont, Calif.,
research group that conducted the study. The study also found that 23% of the
newsletters were read thoroughly, 50% were skimmed or partly read, and the
remaining 27% were never opened.  [10/10]

How Much Would You Pay for Your Onion?
The infamous and hilarious humor site The Onion is
considering adding premium content that it would charge users to read. No joke.
But the site says it would still give readers the content they read now for
free. The Onion has a loyal readership that might be willing to pay, though
online content is always a difficult sell. "The majority of internet users still
don’t want to pay for content,"

says David Strassel
, managing editor of the Intermarket Group.  "For
just about any type of content there are multiple alternatives." [10/10]

More Tech Magazines Fold
Forbes ASAP was one of the first print magazines to
exclusively cover the Internet and its rapid growth, but after 10 years, it’s
folding. "There is no market for a dedicated new-economy publication," Monie
Begley, spokeswoman for Forbes,
told The
New York Times
. Meanwhile, Upside magazine announced it is also shutting
down, and Red Herring said it is selling itself to a majority investor in an
effort to restructure financially. [10/9]

Losing Out
There are only a handful of cities–including Madison, Wisconsin, and Raleigh,
North Carolina–in which local TV sites meet or beat newspaper sites.
AJR’s Barb Palser looks at how
this imbalance evolved and why it continues. And she says local TV management
needs to get get serious about the Web. "If broadcast managers don’t relate to
their online efforts as key components of their news, promotion and profit
strategies, they’ll continue to lag in local markets." [10/7]

More Electronic Newspaper Editions
Two more newspapers have launched electronic editions:
The Akron Beacon Journal
and The Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Content Sales Lessons From
looks at’s experiments in charging for specialized online content
and what the site has learned from them. Since had been pulling in
$1 million a year from subscriptions to its archives and crosswords, the site
decided to launch several new subscription products:
Editor’s Picks;
Topics in Depth;  and
TimesTalks Online. Deputy
General Manager & Director of Operations Stephen Newman says Premium Products
have not been "the easy home run" he and the rest of the business team had
initially hoped for.  Sales for 2001 were $1.4 million, but this income was
mainly due to Crosswords and Archives sales, which had accounted for just over
$1 million the year before. "Repurposing archived content is not as easy as it
sounds, especially when the content is not digitized. It takes time to go
through original and offline archives. Those repackaging costs can start to add
up pretty quickly if you’re not careful." But here’s a number that will wow you:
When The Times raised the price of the two Editor’s Picks products from $9.95 to
$24.95 in June, sales didn’t drop at all.

At-Work Users Consume More Online Than on TV
More evidence on the importance of the at-work online
media consumer: Digital ad
firm Avenue A
reports that  Internet media consumption is 22% higher
among at-work users than for home-only users. Even more interesting, the time
at-work users spend consuming online media exceeded their TV-watching time by
1.4 hours per day, or 46%, according to Avenue A. This should make companies
that advertise on TV but not online think twice.

Send in the SMS
More than 45 million people use text messaging, also known as SMS, or Short
Messaging Service. But media companies are only just

waking up to its potential
. And it has a lot. Response rates for SMS
advertising are as good or better than television and radio advertising. [9/24]

Top 20 Current Events & Global News Sites
Nielsen//NetRatings has released its list of
the Top 20 Current Events &
Global News Sites for  August
. August is usually a slow month, but this
one was unusually busy, thanks to the West Nile Virus, the ongoing drought, wild
fires and the run-up to Sept. 11 coverage. As a result, traffic to most sites
increased.  [9/20/02]

Sept. 11 Traffic Boost
For those who wondered whether readers really were
interested in the saturation coverage of the Sept. 11 anniversary, a new
analysis from

comScore Media Metrix shows that they were, in droves. Compared
to the average traffic on Wednesdays this summer, Media Metrix reported
significant increases: "  drew
3,400,000 U.S. visitors, up 49 percent from the average Wednesday; followed close behind with
2,596,000 visitors, up 43 percent;
climbed throughout the week to reach 1,563,000 visitors, up 148 percent; reached 954,000 visitors, up 54
percent; and drew 630,000
visitors, up 37 percent." Large numbers of surfers also visited other sites
dedicated to memorializing the day, the report found: drew 49,000
visitors and
reached 34,000 visitors. [9/20/02]

Columbus Dispatch to Charge for Site Access
The Columbus Dispatch will join the growing
trend of charging for online content Oct. 1, when it will start charging $4.95 a
month to people who don’t subscribe to the newspaper and want access to its Web
site. The newspaper’s editors make

a compelling argument
that doing so is only fair: "We can’t continue to ask
our print subscribers to subsidize the cost of the Web site for those who do not

Dispatch Editor Benjamin J. Marrison adds
, in a column, that continuous
improvements cost money, and "if you want to milk for information,
you’re going to have to help feed the cow." He also says what many experts have
been saying recently: "We expect more and more newspapers to adopt a pay model
for their Web sites as their investments grow." [9/17/02]

Thousands Want Chicago Tribune’s 9/11
The Chicago Tribune has been getting thousands of
orders from all over the country for its

Sept. 11 commemorative CD-ROM
containing stories related to the attacks;
streaming-video interviews with 25 Tribune reporters who covered the story; an
interactive that tracks the flight path and chronology of each hijacked plane;
and video and more than 300 photographs of related images, including many never
published before, according to a customer service representative. The
representative told that daily call volume has nearly
tripled, from about 6,500 to 18,000 a day.  "It’s mind-blowing," she said.
The CD-ROM was designed simply as a give-away to subscribers, but those who
buy the CD-ROM here.

Ad or Article? Can You Make the Call?
Sony’s $10 million online ad campaign is distributing

advertisements that look like editorial content
. Advertising Age has
reported that The New York Times turned down the ads, and now Consumer WebWatch
reports that CBS MarketWatch has as well. Good for those sites, but what’s
disturbing is that 75 other sites have agree to publish 60 of these "article"
ads, according
to Consumer WebWatch
. The story looks at the problem of there being no
"clear" Web site guidelines to label and separate advertising from editorial.
"It’s unfortunate," Consumer WebWatch Director Beau Brendler tells

MarketWatch Deal
CBS MarketWatch has begun licensing its content
the professional and institutional market, making its news available on the
Thomson One platform, FactSet Research Systems Inc., LexisNexis Information
Services, NewsWare and Track Data Corporation. Individuals who utilize these
systems in their daily business responsibilities will now have access to CBS
MarketWatch news as part of their overall service, or as an opt-in service. This
is a big deal for the company, as its licensing business has increasingly become
a dominant revenue stream for, representing 52% of total net
revenues in the quarter ended June 30, 2002.

A Time To Compare Numbers
Advertising measurement experts seek to standardize online traffic,
print circulation and broadcast audiences,
Martha Stone reports. guarantees ad effectiveness, the Web site for Forbes magazine, now says it will
to marketers
some measure of ad effectiveness after 60 days of advertising
or their money back.

Oxygen Layoffs
Oxygen Media is laying off nearly two-thirds of the
staff at its Web site and is scaling back the site’s content because
of difficult business conditions,

the Associated Press reported

Nando Times Adds Registration
Requiring users to register continues to become more common among news sites. just began asking readers for information, and now the
The Nando Times began asking
users to complete a registration form Aug. 26
. Interactive news director Tom
Rouillard says in a note to readers that registering will enable readers to
"personalize certain aspects of the site, continue to search our free 30-day
archive and receive our information-packed e-mail newsletters." The announcement
makes no mention of whether the site plans to use the information to better
target ads and thus increase value to advertisers. But to those who hesitate to
enter personal information online, he promises, "you have our word that the
information you share with us will not be sold or given to other companies."
It’s a comforting policy and one all other sites that move toward registration
should adopt. Partners With API has formed a publishing
alliance with The Media Center at the American Press Institute to jointly
encourage better online and multi-platform convergence journalism. The site will
remain much the same, but you’ll notice a few changes: a new banner, and a new
resources section that now combines the jobs, books, education and other
resources pages. will become a service of The Media Center,
incorporated with its other information and training services. 
Read the

Web Pays Well
The average starting salary for 2001 journalism graduates with bachelor’s
degrees dropped to  $26,000 from $27,000 a year earlier, and for graduates
with master’s degrees dropped to $30,120 from $31,304,
according to the University of
Georgia’s annual survey
. But there was one exception: those going into
online publishing. Fewer graduates found work in the field, but those who did
find jobs got considerably higher salaries than did 2000 graduates: $33,500,
versus $30,004 a year earlier.

AP Buys

The Associated Press has bought
a subscription-based Web site that covers state capitals in Pennsylvania, New
York, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia.

Tribune Launches Print-Online Job Ads
Chicago’s Tribune Co. introduced
integrated print
and online job listings called CareerBuilder FlexAds
at the Orlando (Fla.)
Sentinel and The Hartford (Conn.) Courant. Later this year the Tribune’s nine
other newspapers will roll out the new print ads, which include a Web ID code
that, when entered in a Web browser, link to the online job posting including a
full job description on CareerBuilder. It will be interesting to see if many
people go to the trouble, when simply searching the ads online could save them
time anyway.

Net Surfers are Getting the Message: Pay up
"As dot-coms continue to bomb, a plethora of
sites have decided it’s time to start wringing money out of us freeloaders,"
the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer reports
. "And they’re doing it by slapping a price tag on
the content and services we’ve grown to love and depend on."

‘The Model for Great
Quality Content’

Christopher M. Schroeder, CEO and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek
he thinks advertising — not subscriptions — "
the model for great quality content." Why? In part because Internet
advertising reaches people in a way TV and print ads don’t. "
truly think that next year the Internet story people will be talking about is
the efficacy of online advertising. There are times of

day when you can reach people with your ad
information on a regular basis, i.e., at the desktop, which you couldn’t do
before. People are on-task when they’re looking at their screens. They’re not
getting up and making a sandwich when the ads come on."

Merrill Brown Joins Rival
Merrill Brown, who left Microsoft Corp.’s in June after six years as
editor-in-chief, will become a senior vice president at cross-town rival
RealNetworks. He’ll oversee RealNetworks’ impressive consumer subscription
businesses, which offers exclusive news, sports, music and video games to
customers paying a monthly fee — including content from CNN, ABCNEWS and Major
League Baseball.

Firm Awarded Newspaper Web Ad Patent
Global Network Inc., a New York-based ad-placement firm, says it holds a new
patent that gives it exclusive rights to serve national advertising to newspaper
Web site networks, but some newspaper-industry executives

tell E&P’s Carl Sullivan
they’re skeptical.

Content is Everywhere
Corporate America lost billions on the
Internet, but hat doesn’t mean the medium has no value, just that the moguls
remain clueless about where it lies,

writes Salon’s Scott Rosenberg
. "How does the tradition of professionally
created journalism and entertainment fit into the dynamics of a wide-open Web?
No one has a definitive answer to that question, and that includes us here at

The End of Free?
"Sure, the era of free stuff
on the Internet was grand fun while it lasted; it also was a four-alarm
disaster–something that many entrepreneurs, silly enough to have gone along for
that ride, can testify to,"
writes Cnet’s Charles Cooper
. "There’s no way this free content smorgasbord
can last."

‘Phone Sex’
Playboy has agreed to
a three-year
licensing deal
that could put images, games and editorial content involving
Playboy’s nude Playmates on mobile phones and handheld computers.

Financial Video News to Go

WebFN will now deliver
4 "channels" of financial news segments across the
Mazingo network to PDA’s, 802.11 and next generation mobile devices and cell

Red Herring Layoffs
The technology magazine industry is still
hurting from the dot-com collapse.

Red Herring has laid off 35
percent of its staff

Digital Replica
s Spread
More than 60 newspapers now offer digital replicas of their print editions that
users can download and read for a fee. The Washington Post, with its

"Electronic Edition
," now adds its
name to that growing list,  which
includes The Globe
and Mail, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. The Times,
one of the first to roll out such a service last fall, now has roughly 3,000
digital delivery subscribers, who pay $26.80 a month,
The Times
. Only a handful of magazines offer digital downloads,
including PC Magazine and The Harvard Business Review, but others are starting
to do so.
Technology Review magazine launched one Monday
, after a month of
testing that attracted 3,000 subscribers.

Freedom Papers Start Charging
Four Freedom
Communications Inc. newspapers have

started charging for online access
: two dailies, the Northwest Florida Daily
News of Fort Walton Beach and The News-Herald of Panama City; the twice-weekly
Destin Log and the weekly Walton Sun.

Online subscription services attract customers

Infogate CEO CliffBoro
discusses the
San Diego-based company’s business providing subscription-based online services
for media companies like CNN and USA Today in this video interview. The company
is getting a large business audience, he says: more than 50 percent of customers
are getting reimbursed by their companies.

Survey: Web Doesn’t Affect Print Readership

Newspaper Web sites do not cannibalize print subscriptions,

according to a survey by Belden Associates
. This is the sixth such study
Belden has done, and all have found that Web sites rarely affect how often
people read the newspaper, while a

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