Posts filed under 'Forbes'
By Molly Galler
This morning during my commute I was listening to @MattyShow (Kiss 108′s morning show, Matty in the Morning) and DJ Matt Siegel was asking his staff why all of these businesses are paying big bucks for Super Bowl ads and giving it all away the week before the broadcast?
Siegel makes a great point. Why are all of these corporate giants paying millions of dollars for a 30 or 60 second spot and not waiting for a big reveal during the game? Not only are they not waiting, they are actively promoting their commericals now, the week before.
This pre-game promotion was confirmed to me this morning when I saw an article in my Twitter feed from Elaine Wong at Forbes called “The Super Bowl Ads You Can’t Miss.” Really? Two full days in advance?
Stuart Elliot, the advertising critic for the New York Times also wrote a piece called “Some Super Bowl Ads Go Online Before the Game” in which he writes:
“For decades, most Super Bowl advertisers followed a simple rule: Keep commercials under wraps until the moment they go on the air. But social media like Faceboo, Twitter and YouTube have ushered in a new era, and marketers are doing what was once unthinkable. In addition to offering sneak peeks of their spots and revealing contents of the commercials, many, like the vacation rental company HomeAway, are going the full Monty and sharing the entire ads in advance.”
I was discussing this with my RaceTalk colleague, Ben Haber, who echoed Elliot’s analysis, “You aren’t paying millions for the air time during the game. You’re paying millions to drive people to your social media channels and engage with your brand.”
Personally, I have always liked the mystery of having to wait until the game to see the commercials that score these highly coveted spots. While I understand wanting to maximize the investment and heighten the curiosity, I find it disappointing that these companies aren’t honoring the sanctity of the Super Bowl element of surprise.
What do you think? If you worked for a company who paid for a Super Bowl ad would you reveal and market it before the game?
February 4th, 2011
By Kyle Austin
The iPhone-leak saga rolled on today as news broke that the home of Gizmodo editor Brian Chen was raided by California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT – couldn’t make this name up) last Friday night. According to Chen’s account of the story, the team broke down his front door without him present, seizing four computers and two servers, in serving a warrant issued by the Superior Court of San Mateo.
The warrant and the ensuing confiscation of Chen’s computers hinges around the investigation into if Chen, Gizmodo and its parent company Gawker Media committed a felony by paying $5,000 for a lost, iPhone prototype. Was picking up the lost iPhone in a bar, asking around a bit and then selling the iPhone to Gizmodo a felony? Was the subsequent purchase of lost goods a felony? John Gruber thinks so.
Meanwhile, Nick Denton and Gawker seem happy to see this saga continue (free marketing and publicity). In fact, they’ve taken the issued warrant and seizure to propose that the Shield Law protects Brian Chen from the search and seizure as a journalist (full Gawker memo below). Denton proposed via Twitter that this case may finally give us the answer to the age old question – Are Bloggers Really Journalists? He may be watching too many old newspaper movies.
The Shield Law was established to protect journalists from having to give up sources that may have committed a crime, which would likely not apply in this case. Especially, if prosecutors are basing the search and seizure on the premise that Chen has committed a crime himself in this case. Therefore, while the reality is that California has been clear in defining bloggers as journalists (especially those working at a media company such as Gawker), the statue may simply not apply.
To make matters even more interesting (for conspiracy theorists) — many bloggers are pointing out that Apple serves on the steering committee of REACT.
Just another day in Silicon Valley.
April 27th, 2010
By Kyle Austin
On Tuesday the Publishers Information Bureau released its 2009 year-end magazine advertising report. Not surprisingly the report revealed that ad pages during the Media Meltdown of 2009 were down 25.6 percent for the industry, while estimated revenues closed at $19.45 billion, a drop of 18.1 percent.
Compare this with the 11.7 percent in ad pages that dropped from 2007 – 2008 and the 17.5% percent drop in revenue during that time period.
Looking closer at key news and business magazines (the ones that still remain in print and open for business), it was a dreadful year in revenues and lost ad pages for their print businesses. BusinessWeek, which changed hands to Bloomberg’s control in 2009, was one of the biggest losers in-terms of ad pages for business magazines with a 33% drop-off. U.S News, which cut back on print to bi-weekly and then monthly in 2009, was the biggest loser in ad pages for “news magazines” with an 81% drop. Newsweek, which tried to become more like the Economist to push off its eventual death, dropped 25% in ad pages. This was worse than its 19% ad page drop as a true “news weekly” in 2008, but alas it was also during a far worse market.
Forbes more than doubled its ad page drop, increasing to 30% in 2009 from a 14% drop in 2008. Fortune had an even worse year as it prepares to shrink the number of issues it releases down from 25 to 18 in 2010. While its ad pages were nearly even between 2007 and 2008, it witnessed a 36% drop in ad pages for 2009.
The Economist, which somehow managed to actually grow ad pages by 4.4% in 2008, wasn’t immune this year either. Its ad pages dropped more than 20% as well in 2009.
All of this is very interesting, but the larger question is how long will these numbers even matter? 2010 will undoubtedly be the year that the pay-wall returns to Internet and larger revenue percentages shift from print to online. Soon the numbers here will only be a footnote, or perhaps non-existent, as print operations cease across the industry. So how will we calculate? Digital eReader ad pages anybody?
January 13th, 2010
By Kyle Austin
In his typical fashion, David Carr of the New York Times eloquently sums up in today’s Media Equation column why coverage of business isn’t following the business rebound. Or as he mixes words much better than I, “Business is a Beat Deflated.”
Despite, positive news on the economic front, those that cover business continue to be hit with painful developments, which Carr references:
- Last week the Wall Street Journal closed down its Boston office, which had been a long-time staple of deep-dive reporting and investigative journalism. Although they noted that some investigative function will remain, the closing ended Bill Bulkeley’s multi-decade run at the Journal. Bulkeley had been with the Journal for 37 years, covering technology since 1979. He was, up until his exit, the main beat reporter of IBM and EMC, two Fortune 500 staples. (Update: Bill noted to me earlier this week that he was “blindsided” by the closing and was still trying to figure out what was next after 3 decades there).
- BusinessWeek, was sold after 80 year’s of ownership by McGraw-Hill for as little as $2 million a few weeks ago.
- Fortune announced last week that it will cut back from 25 issues to 18 issues a year. In addition, insiders believe that additional cuts will occur across TIME Inc. magazine properties by the end of the year.
- Forbes already announced last week that it will cut a quarter of its staff.
- Carr doesn’t mention that his own paper will shed 100 news room jobs by the end of the year.
Carr uses the data to outline his theory that: “While the business of business may be back, the business of covering it with heroic narratives and upbeat glossy spreads most certainly is not. And probably never will be.”
Its hard to argue against and even tougher to explain to clients (especially CEO’s) that have grown accustomed to associating PR success with their appearances on glossy covers. Peter Himler touched on this last week, when looking at Michael Bush’s piece for Ad Age:
“There remains a vast swath of corporate communicators and their bosses in the C-suite for which a Twitterfeed, company blog, YouTube or Facebook page takes a distant backseat to a prominent piece in Business Week or The Journal or an appearance on ‘Today’ or ‘Squawk Box.’ Believe it or not, even a client’s by-line in the world’s most popular (and conversation catalyzing) blog Huffington Post isn’t viewed by many as having the same value as a piece in The New York Times or the New Yorker.”
It’s not going to get any better. As we know, the business of business journalism is broken in the digital age. With business updates by the second, readership for past-tense features are rapidly dwindling. Therefore, ad dollars that still exist, are moving away from the magazines and into new digital channels. However, Carr hits on something much deeper than just the business being broken. He attributes part of the collapse to consumer resentment and being out of date / touch:
“It’s not that the public has lost its appetite for stories about handsome men in three-piece suits who clink whiskey glasses at the end of a long, not-so-hard day while talking smack about their female co-workers. But “Mad Men” pretty much sates that need. The businessman as Colossus is by now a nostalgic impulse.”
It’s a valid argument. Heck, TIME is trying to leverage the resentment as a way to make money on its business coverage (cover above). Unfortunately, that isn’t a good story for TIME’s colleagues at Fortune, the Bill Bulkeley’s of the world or CEO’s looking to get their name in print – or even Google searches. Those that consume business media consume, as Carr notes “hope and aspiration.”
The issue of Fortune on newsstands now, adorned with a digital image of Obama and Google glasses will probably be one of the best-selling issues of the year. Just like this Economist cover probably was. Therefore, when I look back a few weeks ago to Bulkeley telling me in advance of a briefing that he and the WSJ Boston office were kept away from Obama’s cleantech discussion at MIT “because DC owns all Obama coverage,” it was probably a bad sign on a variety of fronts.
There just isn’t much hope in business journalism these days, unless you’re working on cable TV.
November 2nd, 2009
By Kyle Austin
As I’ve mentioned before: despite the digital evolution of media, a positive story in one of the incumbent business outlets (Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, etc.) can still provide major value to companies (at least for now).
However, over the last six months these magazines have seen their ad pages vanish quicker than Alex Rodriguez in October. They’re also seeing massive turnover. Talking Biz News reported over the weekend that 250 business journalism jobs have been lost in 2009 to date (A lot of those coming with the folding of Portfolio). Short story: business outlets and business journalism are being transformed by the “media meltdown.”
The latest findings, from the Magazine Publishers of America, noted that ad pages were down across the board for business magazines Jan – March 2009:
- BusinessWeek - Down 39%
- Fortune - Down 26%
- Forbes - Down 15%
What does this mean to companies looking to get in the editorial pages? Less ad pages means less editorial pages for writers and editors to fill up. It also means (although no one would ever admit it) that large companies with advertising budgets are getting even more of the ear of writers and editors. Yes, there is still a wall between church and state (advertising vs. editorial), but there’s no doubt parts of it are crumbling down.
While their pages vanish, so does some of their readership. Not one of the aforementioned publications reaches over 1 million print subscribers (End of 2008 data) and their online sites compete with established online outlets and new up-and-comers.
- BusinessWeek: 898, 546 print circulation; 3.3 million unique views per month according to ComScore (Compete.com reports 5 million UV’s)
- Fortune: 831, 485 print circulation; 5.9 million UV’s per month through CNNMoney.com according to ComScore
- Forbes 890, 882 print circulation; 4.6 million UV’s per month according to ComScore
How does that compare with online competitors? While ComScore actually has thestreet.com tallying more unique views than Businessweek.com per month, Compete.com has businessweek.com still outpacing thestreet.com (embedded above). Other up-and-coming sites like thebigmoney.com and businessinsider.com tally 260, 295 and 911,373 respectively in UV’s per month according to Compete.
While the disconnect in the numbers from ComScore and Compete makes it hard to validate any of this, no one will argue that free-based, online business outlets are growing in readership, while print business outlets are being forced to shift their content online to a similar-sized audience.
So what does this mean to PR folk pitching client business stories? Do your research and educate your clients on today’s business media landscape. While the big name publications from the early 1900′s still carry clout, they don’t necessarily have the impact / reach that they used to have. The biggest upside in landing a story there may be that other journalists (excluding generation Y’ers) still look up to them; and may be inclined to follow their lead with future stories / follow-ups.
June 29th, 2009