Monday, March 11, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N10): Grey House, Student Data, Amazon, Newspapers +More

There's still a lot of money in print. Grey House is taking over print titles from EBSCO (PW) and has made a business of taking over legacy print titles from a range of publishers including EBSCO, Bowker and Proquest.
Grey House Publishing will become the publisher of the print editions of the H.W. Wilson product line under a new exclusive license between EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) and Grey House. Wilson publishes a range of reference work for the library markets and is best known for Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, first published in 1901. The deal with Wilson comes shortly after Grey House and EBSCO announced that Grey House would become the publisher of the print editions of the Salem Press product line. First titles to be published under that agreement are currently at the printer.
Big data pool of student achievement information is being created. Where's the concern? Reuters
The database is a joint project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states. Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, built the infrastructure over the past 18 months. When it was ready, the Gates Foundation turned the database over to a newly created nonprofit, inBloom Inc, which will run it. States and school districts can choose whether they want to input their student records into the system; the service is free for now, though inBloom officials say they will likely start to charge fees in 2015. So far, seven states - Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts - have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide. "We look at personalized learning as the next big leap forward in education," said Brandon Williams, a director at the Illinois State Board of Education.
Why do we trust Amazon - from New York Magazine:
Amazon is good at sorting and ranking things—we understand that. It knows exactly how many boxes of diapers my kids have ever used. It knows every book I’ve considered. It’s also clear that Amazon doesn’t care about what it sells; it just cares about the selling. To Amazon, a book isn’t really a book. It’s the result of a database query that Amazon will seamlessly transmit over its Whispernet or via USPS to your doorstep, if that’s still your thing. To the shopper, Amazon, with its records of browsing and buying, is not a store nor a website, but more like a ghost limb, for grabbing whatever is needed or wanted.
A long look at Advance Communications changes to the way they run their newspapers with a focus on the Times-Picayune (CJR)
American newspapers have lost more than half their advertising dollars in the last five years, an existential threat to an industry that in 2007 depended on ads for three-fourths of its revenue. The Times-Picayune is no exception to the trend. Its advertising has plunged 42 percent since 2009, according to an analysis of figures its publisher gave The Wall Street Journal in September.

There is no sure answer for what to do about this. Still, by now, most major newspapers have begun moving to strategies that play to their strengths: charging core readers online while allowing casual visitors 10 or so free stories a month; increasing the price of the paper, sometimes by charging an upsell fee for bundling digital access with print; shoring up Sunday circulation; and attempting to convert ad departments into marketing-services operations that provide more holistic solutions to local promotion, like website creation, social-media help, app creation, and the like. These and similar strategies are based on the value of the content, and on a hopeful bet that newspapers can keep significant subscription revenue in the coming all-digital future.

Advance is following the industry into marketing services. But mainly it has stuck by what was conventional Web wisdom from before the recession—chasing clicks. In the new NOLA model, editors push reporters to increase “inventory,” more content with fewer journalists. And more of its remaining resources are in sports and entertainment. In this system, a distracted click on a story that says, in its entirety, “Hornets officially announce their nickname will be changing from Hornets to Pelicans,” is worth as much as one on, say, a prison exposé. More, actually, since the former comes with less time and effort.
From my Twitter stream:
Bertelsmann takes control of BMG - FT
Online data errors cost US groups $10bn -FT
At South by Southwest Education Event, Tensions Divide Entrepreneurs and Educators Chronicle
Launch of Digital Public Library of America Chronicle
Ebooks: newspapers should capitalise on their archives Guardian
Comixology launches online self-publishing platform for comic books The Verge

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