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Friday, December 02, 2005

Advanstar Deal Soon? 

Source: Blockbuster Advanstar Deal May Break Within a Week


Folio:'s Tony Silber is reporting (see link, above) that a deal for Advanstar is probably likely within a week. Nice work on the scoop, Tony!

Interestingly, over the past week, there have been a number of people hitting my blog coming in via Google and Yahoo searches for "Advanstar," "Advanstar deal," "Advanstar valuation" and similar Advanstar-oriented phrases. I had been wondering whether things were coming to a head--and perhaps now they are.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lessons for Newspapers...and B2B 

A Recipe for Newspaper Survival in the Internet Age

Slashdot's Robin Miller posts a very interesting meditation on how newspapers can succeed in the present and future. It's a long piece, but worth your time to read, since its lessons are appropriate for b2b publishers. (I have a few key grabs from the piece at the bottom of this post).

I don't think print is dead, but its primacy as a text- and still-image delivery vehicle certainly is. And I think all the talk about whether print is dead is pointless--the distribution and format of communications will certainly change (as it is doing now), and will continue to change forever. We no longer paint on cave walls, or etch into stone tablets, or use monks to hand-copy texts. So what if newspapers as physical objects eventually pass away?

The idea of newspapers (as a compendium of news, analysis, opinion, comics pages and stock and sports box scores) will continue.

I think the same goes for magazines, regardless of whether they're printed or not.

The worst thing we can do is spend time trying to defend ink-on-paper. It's a worthless battle, and it's the wrong battle. There will be ink-on-paper for a long time, consumed by (and created by) old fogies like me. But we're reaching a generational cliff. We're reaching a time, within the next decade, when the next group of b2b decisionmakers makes the jump from the cubicle to the office without all the old tech baggage that my generation has.

This new generation isn't invested in print (or broadcast TV, or movies, or CDs, or any of the "old media" I'm so happy with) as a way to consume information. That doesn't mean that they'll be stupid, or non-readers. They'll just be reading things in different ways.

Our challenge will be to reach them how they want to be reached, and interact with them in the way they want. They'll be making buying decisions, with or without us in the loop.

Some key grabs from Miller's piece:

Circulation figures can also be misleading because they only measure the total number of newspapers distributed, not the kind of people who read them. And readership quality can often be more important, in a business sense, than quantity. This is especially true for those newspapers (namely, just about all of them) that rely on advertising for the bulk of their income.

Instead of treating their Web sites like unwelcome stepchildren, newspapers should turn them into their primary method of news delivery -- and teach their reporters, editors, and ad sales people how to work effectively with this new -- to them -- medium.

He's also got some good things to say about community journalism:

1. No matter how much I or any other reporter or editor may know about a subject, some of the readers know more. What's more, if you give those readers an easy way to contribute their knowledge to a story, they will.
2. Not all readers know what they're talking about.
3. No matter what you do, some readers will post malicious and/or obscene comments

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E-Paper Investment 

Plastic Logic adds $16 million to VC round

UK-based Plastic Logic Ltd., which is working on the technology to print polymer semiconductors--an important part of powering an e-paper application--has a new round of $16 million in VC funding. New funders include Intel and BASF.

I think we'll see the first magazine application sooner, rather than later. Consider Rolling Stone's upcoming investment in a 3-D lenticular cover to celebrate its 1,000th issue. Imagine, then, a few years out, a multimedia magazine cover with video and audio, powered by an e-paper application. (Imagine further, a newsstand filled with magazines making noise and showing off flashy, conflicting videos--hmm, that would be very annoying.)

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

From the Dept. of Unfortunate Headlines Dept. 

Mobile media set to explode: execs

I've always worried about those mobile media sets, especially if you consider the following grab from the unfortunately headlined Reuters story, linked above:

"People are spending time with their mobile device. If you look at teenagers these damn things are surgically attached to their bodies," [Charles Rutman, media buying agency MPG's chief executive for North America] added.

Making the explosion even more painful, I'd guess.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Business Lessons of U2 

Media Age Business Tips From U2 - New York Times

The New York Times' David Carr finds a way to write off his tickets to a U2 concert. Among the business lessons he derives from the world's most successful rock band:

1) Meet consumers where they live
2) Don't embarrass your fans
3) Be careful how you sell out

There are more, and it's worth a read.

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Using Search Without Getting Used 

The Jordan, Edmiston Group's monthly e-newsletter features an interview with Gordon Crovitz, president, Electronic Publishing, Dow Jones & Company, conducted by ContentNext's Rafat Ali. It's worth a read in its entirety, but here are a few clips I found especially interesting:

Search engines are great drivers of traffic to our sites, but the question for us is how do business publishers use search engines without getting “used”? In other words, how do we take advantage of search as a way for consumers to find our news and information, while maintaining business models that permit us to continue to publish high-quality content, as we share ad revenue with the search engines?

Many business publishers have found search engines to be their greatest ally, since they help consumers find their information online. Other business publishers have lost what had been a unique ability to reach a particular audience. This has created great challenges, especially in terms of advertising revenue.

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