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Panpa Bulletin : May 2011
www.panpa.org.au Bundles, and bundles of coupons HOW much are we missing by not bundling channels together and giv- ing customers choice and flexibility? As a lapsed newspaper subscriber, I reckon I’d be fairly representative of the sort of customer who could be enticed back to a subscription with the right kind of offer. I’m not talking about offers of CDs, or the first three months free on a year’s print subscription. I don’t want the paper every day. But I do want it on the weekend. Most weekends. The rest of the week I’ll read online. That makes me one of the mass of promiscuous online news consumers who mostly have little or no brand loyalty apart from, perhaps, to Google. And then there are mobile and tablet apps. As we add new chan- nels, and start charging for some of them separately, we’re contributing to brand disaggregation. So, why not have our brands eve- rywhere bundled for flexibility and consumer choice? One subs price for all access. I can choose to get a paper deliv- ered on Friday and Saturday, I can have access to the app on tablet and mobile, and when the paywall goes up on the web site I’ll have access to that too. (In the meantime, free web- sites will continue to be a problem for subscription models.) By emphasising brand and pre- senting consumers with a package that is flexible enough to be custom- ised for individual preferences we’ll be putting the customer first and will reap the benefits. The digital trend of the last six months is group buying, a-la Groupon.com. There are more than a dozen siza- ble group-buying sites in the Austral- ian market. They have grown from virtually nothing to a sector likely to generate more than A$100m per year, according to a report in The Australian. As far as diversifying revenue away from reliance on display advertising, this one is a doozy. With audiences to distribute to and sales teams to deliver deals, low overheads and high margins, it sounds like a great business model for publishers. It’s also a great deal for advertis- ers. It works as a powerful customer acquisition tool, for some businesses much more so than display advertis- ing. And there’s the rub. It’s a disrup- tor to traditional ad sales businesses. But a lucrative one. Cudo has seen the most dramatic growth over the last five months. Spreets and Living Social have seen steadier growth over a longer period of time. Publishers have been a bit slow off the mark. APN has had some success with GrabOne in New Zealand and is making inroads in Australia. The momentum is with pure plays, Yahoo!7 and Nine Entertainment. In January, Yahoo!7 acquired Spreets for A$40m. Cudo is backed by Nine Entertainment. Publishers have the infrastructure and resources to take advantage of this opportunity. Despite the challenge it presents to traditional media business models, it would be a mistake to leave this new market to others. A Nielsen chart showing the growth of coupon business on the internet hugh Martin is a media consultant based in Australia Hugh Martin why not have our brands everywhere bundled for flexibility and consumer choice?” “ The PANPA Bulletin | MAY 2011 | New type of challenge ANYONE got A$100,000 lying around? It’s just that I could do with it to resolve one of the most compelling problems facing our industry: to un- derstand how we get our online read- ers to hang around on our websites. Most of us are aware of the prob- lem. Newspapers are read for around 30 minutes a day, around 20 days a month. Newspaper websites are read for 4.4 minutes only 8.4 times a month. Personally I find navigating newspa- per websites a painful, non-conducive or satisfying experience. And I have plenty of experience, and a need to read. So let me draw on some experience from the past. Some 15 years ago, as colour print- ing was being adopted, I was asked to measure the benefit that colour would have over mono (black and white) advertising. Myself and col- leagues adopted a dual measurement approach. We utilised eye-movement cameras, to track the differences in what people read in colour and mono; and we interviewed the re- search participants to determine what they recalled. To our initial horror, the results did not specifically correlate. I feared that I had wasted my cli- ent’s investment. But further analysis revealed participants were recalling ads that they had seen in their periph- eral vision but had not been picked up the highly precise eye-movement camera. The lesson is important in terms of understanding reading navigation. The eye absorbs the headlines of a newspaper page in a fraction of a sec- ond, before the brain decides what to focus on. An advertisement has to work in about 0.35 of a second. But once en- gaged, readers are prepared to spend time with content – stories or adver- tising – if the message is compelling. Here is a strange thing that I learned during this project. The eye instinctively looks down, not up. Why? Because over thousands of years, we have been programmed to look at where we are walking before we look to the sky. Another thing I recall is the im- portance of typography. A study that I undertook in the ’80’s showed that a difference in standard type faces could affect readability, read- ing fatigue, and advertising recall by around 200 percent. Hence the emergence of Verdana and Georgia as screen type faces. They pixelate better, but require more space. An old friend of mine, Donald Grant, once said, “the newspaper is a formatted set of surprises”. It’s a great description of the beauty of the newspaper medium. Unfortunately, it does not currently translate into the digital form. We may have realised the scientific implications of viewing behaviour but have not yet translated this into a meaningful navigation system for online content. The problem is compounded by the fact that search remains linear rather than intuitive. I can search a subject, but then have difficulty sub-searching. I can personalise but I cannot scan my content needs, in the way that the eye, and the subcon- scious can. A solution to these conundrums is the route to solving newspapers’ problems with high levels of traffic and no levels of audience intensity. As eReaders evolve, we need to be far more scientific in our understand- ing of reading behaviour. Sadly there is very little research on this, but three initiatives will drive our future: First is a clearer understanding of how online users navigate their media, visually. We have lost the print experience, and it has not been replicated in the digital space. Secondly, content consumption requires a Search 2.0, which is a com- bination of serendipity and personal experience. I have been predicting for a while that Google Search is at the peak of its product life cycle. We are awaiting the next generation of intuition. Third is a greater understand- ing of the wider level of newspaper consumption. In the US, newspaper online users may account for 57 percent of all internet users, but they account for only 1.6 percent of pages per visitor and 0.9 percent of total pages visited. So much for being the content medium! Such research is essential for our industry. Analysis suggests that while pat- terns vary from title to title and country-to-country, the lessons are the same. We do not have the same understanding of screen reader expe- rience as we have of print. But if newspapers are to make the strides in the digital world, that we originally anticipated, but are not achieving, investment into under- standing why our digital sites are not delivering the levels we deserve is a small price to pay. Cheque books out, my friends. Readers don’t hang out on our digital street corners for very long . . . 57 percent of US web users visit our sites but only look at an average 1.6 pages Opinion Jim chisholm is an independent media consultant based in France. he can be contacted at email@example.com 57%Userswholookatanaverage1.6pages The APN website GrabOne, which has launched in Australia and New Zealand to compete in the emerging coupon market crowdmass.com.au cudo.com.au dailybonanza.com.au dealMe! dealsinthecity.com.au grabone.com.au Jump On It LivingSocial Ouffer.com Our deal Scoopon Spreets Stardeals.com.au vowcha.com.au yellowpagesoffers.com.au zizzle.com.au Zoupon 1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 Jan-10Feb-10Mar-10Apr-10May-10Jun-10Jul-10Aug-10Sep-10Oct-10Nov-10dec-10Jan-11 Group buying site growth Jim Chisholm