2008 Print Ad Revenues Quantified, Tally is Bad

newspaper revenue numbersYou don’t need a crystal ball or a keen sense of current events to know the newspaper business is a mess.  Regular bankruptcy and layoff headlines, or even just the reduced quality of many local papers (which are relying on less original reporting, fewer pages etc), make it immediately apparent to even the most passive watcher.  But now there’s even more evidence: new numbers from the Newspaper Association of America out yesterday.

2007 had been the market’s worst year, that is… until 2008 wrapped up.  

According to the NAA’s figures, total ad revenues dropped off another 16.6% to $37.8b for the 2008 year.     The print segment was off 17.7% to $34.7b while online revenue, a bright spot in the past four years, slipped 1.7% to $3.1b.

Click to Read More

Sony and Google Partner to Expand Digital Book Offering

sony google reader dealThe battle for e-book reader dominance isn’t the kind of consumer product war that’s likely to raise a big audience.  Despite Amazon’s high profile Kindle, the market for e-book devices is, for now, relatively small.  Still, that’s not stopping companies from asserting claims or taking shots.  Earlier this week Discovery Communications reached for its piece with a patent infringement suit levied at Amazon.  Today, Sony and Google took a subtle jab of their own at Kindle.

In a press release this morning, the companies announced they were partnering to make more than five hundred thousand public domain titles Google has digitally archived available to Sony reader owners at no charge.

These books, which include works ranging from Mark Twain to Leo Tolstoy and Jane Austen, are all clear of copyright restrictions.   Google’s digitized them as part of its book search program.

Making them available for Sony’s reader will expand Sony’s library catalog of available content to near 600k titles.  That will put the company well ahead of Amazon’s approximately 250k titles.

Indirectly emphasizing what’s been positioned as a major difference between Sony’s product and Amazon’s, Click to Read More

Legal Briefs: Discovery hits Amazon Kindle with Infringement Suit.

The teeth associated with Discovery Communications (“Discovery”) are usually those flashed on Animal Planet, during the company’s “Shark Week” TV programming on the Discovery Channel, or when host Bear Grylls eats something disgusting, but it turns out the company’s legal department has plenty of bite of its own.

Today, Discovery filed a suit against Amazon in Delaware US District Court claiming Amazon’s popular Kindle e-book platform willfully infringes on a patent granted Discovery on Nov. 20th, 2007.

Discovery is seeking damages, repayment of legal fees, and in lieu of an injunction blocking Kindle sales, an ongoing royalty.  Discovery has also requested “treble damages,” the legal term for punitive damages up to triple the compensatory finding if Amazon is found in the wrong.

Click to Read More

News Evolution: Seattle P-I Goes Digital and New Data from Pew

digital-news2-sm.jpgThe occasional journalist Mark Twain famously told a newspaper reporter that the report of his death was an exaggeration.  For the staff at Seattle’s daily Post-Intelligencer, reports of the paper’s death were anything but.  After weeks of rumor, failed efforts to sell the paper, and a last tortuous week of expectation, Hearst finally pulled the band aid off the wound and confirmed today that it’s stopping the presses at its Seattle property.

In place of the P-I, Hearst is set to launch a reworked, digital-only news service.  Hearst representatives explicitly avoided calling the new incarnation a newspaper, however.  The goal, Hearst CEO Frank Bennack, Jr., said in a statement, is to turn Seattlepi.com into “the leading news and information portal in the region.”

“Seattlepi.com isn’t a newspaper online – it’s an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information website at its core,” explained Hearst president Steven Swartz.

Click to Read More

Amazon Debuts Kindle 2.0

kindle 2When Amazon launched its Kindle eBook reader in late 2007, opinions on the device ran the spectrum.  Some analysts and pundits criticized it.  To them, the execution was bad. The device was unwieldy and immature.  The market opportunity for eBooks was narrow at best.   With Kindle, they thought, Amazon was chasing rainbows.   Others looked at the vision and thought the opposite.  They projected the Kindle would be transformational.  Even with its warts, they lauded the first generation device and proclaimed it the publishing industry’s equivalent to the iPod.     

After more than a year of sales, the verdict is still out but the Kindle has proven one thing: it’s no joke.  The device has been in short supply since launch.  Customers have raved about it and thanks to Kindle, eBook sales have climbed to ten percent of Amazon’s total book sales.

This morning, Amazon rolled out the second generation. 

Click to Read More

Corbis Migrating Microstock Photos from Snap Village to Veer

cash photos sale smallIn the past few years, the advent, and rapid growth, of low cost royalty-free photo licensing services like iStockphoto (dubbed “microstock” agencies) gave amateur photographers an entrance into the previously exclusive world of image sales and caused a sea change in how some large licensing businesses operate.  Undercutting pricing and pinching sales, the upstarts arguably even forced the privatization of image licensing giant, Getty Images.

Bill Gates owned Corbis came late to the game but planned to capitalize with the launch of its own microstock service, Snap Village. A beta opened to the public in June of 2007 and the site launched commercially a year later.  The idea at the start was to differentiate by offering image owners the luxury of setting their own pricing schedules (in set stops between $1 to $50).  Two years later, Snap Village has found chasing down the market leader with this approach was harder than anticipated.  

Rather than revise, Corbis will of start over – sort of.  Click to Read More

Earnings: News Corp Comes In Low, Takes Huge Charge

earnings wrap metueAnalysts expected 19 cents per share in earnings.  They got 12 cents, and that’s not taking into account an $8.4b writedown.   So much for expectations.

Like other major media companies (Time Warner (PDF), and Disney (article) to name a pair), it’s currently a struggle to balance ad inventory against reduced spending.  In the face of this, News Corporation reported weak earnings Thursday.

In a statement Rupert Murdoch explained saying the “downturn is more severe and likely longer lasting than previously thought.”

Revenue for the company’s fiscal second quarter came in at $7.87b, down 8.4% and below Wall Street’s expected draw of $8.35 to $8.38b.  Factoring in the pre-tax onetime charge related to goodwill and intangible assets, the net loss was $6.4b, or $2.45 a share compared to net income of $832m (27 cents a share) for the same period last year.

The result was News Corps. First loss in more than three years.

Click to Read More

Page 3 of 141234510...Last »