Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Biggest Threat to Newspapers Is ... MySpace?

"Tilford Moots wuz over t' the' Henryville poor farm th' other day t' see an ole friend o' his thet used t' publish a newspaper thet pleased ever'buddy"
Kin Hubbard (American Humorist and Writer, 1868-1930)

Biggest Threat to Newspapers Is ... MySpace?
by Erik Sass
IN ADDITION TO NEWS AGGREGATORS like Google and Yahoo, newspapers need to watch out for online competition from a less obvious source--social networks.
That's according to a global study of youth media behaviors commissioned by the World Association of Newspapers and performed by research firm D-Code. The study "Youth Media DNA" presented a decidedly mixed picture of newspapers' future prospects, based on young people's current usage patterns.

Many of the findings weren't particularly surprising--young participants said that new media (i.e., computers, mobile phones, the Internet, and MP3 players) takes up time that participants would have spent with traditional media. In a correlated finding, many participants said their interest in passive media is in decline.

More novel, however, was the finding that "the importance of the social network as a disseminator of news and information is on the rise." The survey elaborated: "Many participants in this phase listed 'discussion with friends' as a top source for news and information, sometimes ranking higher than TV or newspapers."

In this context, the best strategy for newspapers may be inserting themselves into the social networks, so their content will appear alongside--and perhaps become absorbed into--the online discussion and debate. The opportunities are there. Indeed, in mid-April, MySpace launched a news aggregator that draws on content from newspapers as well as other sources, and allows MySpace users to vote for the best stories.

But that arrangement brings up another problematic finding from the WAN global survey. Often, young people "do not realize they are reading online versions of newspapers." The culprits, according to WAN, are the very aggregators that might initially get newspaper content in front of young people.

Newspapers are struggling to remedy the problem--seeking ways to brand content so it can be both recognized by the reader and monetized by the newspaper.

Men Online More, But Still Influenced By Traditional Media
by Tameka Kee, Monday
SOME 71% OF MEN AGES 18-34 spend more time online now than a year ago, according to Maxim's latest annual Man Study--but a resounding 74% still felt that putting an ad on TV would be the "most effective" way to get it seen by guys.
To commemorate its 10th anniversary, the men's magazine commissioned research agency Hall & Partners to do an in-depth study of U.S. men's media usage habits. The findings confirm that although men ages 18-34 have been characterized as "advertising averse," marketers can still target them with entertaining, multi-channel messages.

While 83% of men surveyed said they watch less than 5 hours of television per day, a clear majority (74%) would use TV as their primary distribution channel if they had to create an ad themselves. A little over half would target their demo with ads in magazines (56%) or on the Web (55%), and only 17% would choose radio.

For ad content, 48% of Maxim readers said they would use female models to target men, and 35% would strive to make their ads funny. But while sex appeal and humor were key, so was clearly defined product information--with almost 40% saying they'd "focus on the product."

"If advertising is cool and relevant, this demo will give it the same amount of attention that they give to any other form of content, and they'll even send it to their friends," said Rob Gregory, group publisher, Maxim.

For example, 30% of men surveyed said they "enjoyed using social networking sites," and 26% said they regularly "forwarded content to [their] friends online." The two factors combined illustrate the growing importance of community-based online activity among 18- to-34-year-old males, a bright spot for marketers seeking to leverage viral advertising.

"Advertisers are dealing with the most plugged-in generation in history," said Gregory, "but this shows that the traditional methods are still as viable as emerging media at reaching 18- to-34-year-old-men."

Still, the most successful brands have leveraged media companies like Maxim to target men using a mix of print, online, and even mobile content--highlighting "the increased viability of a 360-degree approach," said Gregory.

No comments: