Has The Times paywall been a disaster?

Media_httpwwwwallblog_gjdeb

It is very early days to be writing the paywall off, but according to a site called Newser http://www.newser.com/off-the-grid/post/502/whats-really-going-on-behind-murd… which has been reported on Wallblog http://www.wallblog.co.uk/2010/07/14/no-one-is-subscribing-to-the-times-paywa… The Times website is tumbleweed.

In a post on the Newser website Wolff writes “My sources say that not only is nobody subscribing to the website, but subscribers to the paper itself—who have free access to the site—are not going beyond the registration page. It’s an empty world.”

Of course someone was always going to write this story, but it does bring to mind two questions.

I is anyone commenting on The Times? If you have subscribed can you see if people are having a debate there. That would be a good gague as to how successful the move has been.

2 Has the Mandelson story done The Times any favours? In a glimpse of what might happen in the future The Times got a great exclusive with Mandelson’s book extract but I am guessing that it hasn’t won them any new subscribers. That was because the last time I looked 687 different news sources had been picking at the carcass of the story. Basically unless you want to read every word, you really don’t need to go behind The Times paywall.

Getting back to the paywall Wallblog says that NI execs are apparently encouraged by the numbers. Only time will tell, but I think this is one experiment that is doomed.

Is content king again? The International Content Summit opens for business

Media_httpwwwcontent2_xistl

Over the past few months I have been doing some work for the APA – who are the industry body for customer publishers in the UK.

I am really excited by what the group has lined up for November.

On the 24th it will be hosting the first ever International Content Summit where a range of exceptional speakers will be discussing the key issues surrounding content at the moment.

Among the topics lined up for dicsussions are…

1. Future of content for brands
2. What consumers want and how they want it
3. The future of advertising
4. Content and distribution
5. Cross media content and driving brand sales

The list of speakers includes Ben Hammersley of Wired UK, Julie Meyer, the CEO of Ariande Capital, David Seers of the COI and Julia Hobsbawn, CEO Editorial Intelligence.

You can find out more about the conference here http://www.content2010.co.uk/

Is Facebook harming online media/blog advertising?

Media_httppaidcontent_kndgc

Interesting stuff from Paid Content http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-social-nets-pulled-cpms-down-by-18-perce… on how social networks (well Facebook with a bit of MySpace) have pulled down the CPMs (amount advertisers pay per 1000 views) to new record low levels.

At the same time the blog points out that ad spend has dropped in the first part of this year and media is already experiencing a double dip recession.

For me this underlines a few things

1 Social media is seriously harming online media. If social media didn’t exist then online media would command much higher CPMs.

2 That you can’t put the genie back in the bottle – Media companies have just got to work with this and accept that Facebook et al will keep CPMs down over the next few years.

3 However there may be an upside one day – If brands begin to start valuing online media once again. I don’t really think this will happen until we see new a new media properly emerge with many print titles dying or shifting completely online and brands recognising that the new wave of blogs and websites that have grown in the last few years have influential and important audiences.

Still as David puts it on PC

But there’s still hope for web publishers looking to blunt Facebook’s impact on CPMs. The social net doesn’t want to challenge major publishers directly on premium display and has in fact avoided deploying any of the larger display ads that have captured sites’ attention since the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Online Publishers Association began promoting new standard formats last year. Publishers insist that offering a larger, uniform display format for advertisers will inspire greater creativity.

The thinking goes that in turn, more creativity will spur greater ad spend. That may actually be happening right now. But overall, it will have a limited affect against the never-ending flow of inventory from social nets and the laws of supply and demand that sites like Facebook will continue to exert on advertisers’ finite ad budgets.

Finally I should add that Anorak.co.uk and whoateallthepies.tv did a record breaking one million page impressions over the weekend. If the ad sales CPM was $3 that would be $3000 (or rather $9000 as there are three ad positions). The reality is that the real figure will be an awful lot less than that