Tag Archives: reed business information

Print's advertising problem – tying one hand behind its back

Last week Karl Schneider, Reed Business Information’s Editorial Director, spent an hour chatting with students in my Online Journalism class. Most of it is available on video here, but of particular interest to me was a point Karl made about how Reed separated its online advertising into a separate company very early on, and are now reaping the benefits (embedded above).

“Because we had print businesses to protect we spent at least as much time worrying about not doing something on the web that would undercut the money coming in in print as worrying about ‘How do we make this new stuff grow’ … One of the big revenue streams for us was recruitment ads … So when we started to do online jobs one of the big challenges was ‘How can we do this without damaging all of the money tied up in print?’ And very quickly we realised that if we worry about that, we’re going to be rubbish at online job ads, because we’re always going to be operating with one hand tied behind our backs. And we’ll be competing against pure-play onlines who won’t have that worry.

“So what we ended up doing was setting up our online jobs advertising operation as a separate business and allowed it to compete head-to-head with our print business, and it caused all sorts of internal arguments – but it was absolutely the right thing to do because we’re making more money now out of online jobs than we ever did from print jobs. Less per job – there’s a lot more job ads – but it took separating it off [as a separate business] to do it.”

I’ve written about this problem before. Although on paper there are economies to be made by combining print and web ad sales, that’s not a strategy for future growth.

Instead, it appears to result in a prolonged addiction to the dying cash cow of print ads (and, anecdotally, a frustrating experience for advertisers wishing to move money from print to online). Judging by the recent research into magazine ad sales (PDF) in the US (image below), the magazine industry may need to listen to Karl’s experiences.

87% of ad staff work across both print and web

Image taken from CJR research into magazine websites (link above). 'To' should say 'Two'

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2 videos: How social media changed the journalist’s day; and making money from content

Here are 2 very interesting videos from a recent talk by Karl Schneider, Head of editorial development at B2B publisher Reed Business Information, at UCA Farnham. In the first Schneider takes a look at how the typical journalist’s day has changed – I particularly like the concept of previously only ‘20%’ of a journalist’s activity being visible, and 80% invisible, but that equation being reversed with the arrival of collaborative social media.

The journalist’s day from Stop.Frame on Vimeo.

In the second video Schneider likens online publishing to exhibitions and events, rather than traditional print and broadcasting models:

Can we make money from web content? from Stop.Frame on Vimeo.

Lessons in community from community editors #3: Andrew Rogers, RBI

After the first two of my interviews with news organisations’ community editors , Reed Business Information’s Andrew Rogers blogged his own ‘3 lessons‘ he’s learned from his time as Head of User Content Development. Reproduced by kind permission, here it is in full:

1. A community is only really a community if it builds (or builds on) genuine relationships between the members.

Otherwise it is merely interactivity. A corollary of this is that an online community needs to be focused around a common interest, need or passion (or simply “something in common”)

2. The most important tool for dealing with problems is your Terms of Use / Ts&Cs.

If you are to deal effectively with problems of misbehaviour you need to be able to point to the rule which says the user can’t do that.

You will still be accused of suppressing free speech/being a Nazi of course, but at least you can justify your actions in removing posts, banning users etc.

Spend a lot of time on developing the rules and lay them out in simple language

3. Find ways to reward the best or most prolific contributors

This might be through a reputation system, increased rights, or simply highlighting their contributions in some way.

Many users are driven to upload their photographs to the Farmers Weekly website in the hope that they will make it into the magazine.

It’s also true, of course, that one should aim to reward all contributors by ensuring that someone pays attention to them.