Tag Archives: online publisher

Online media, platforms, innovation and advertising

Just did this interview with a publication. Thought I’d publish it here. Does a newspaper’s online platform cannabalise the print advertising at all? And what about print readers- will the online platform steal readers away from the print title? It’s time to move on from using words like “cannabalise” and “steal” with reference to the […]

Vodacom set to shake up media scene

Vodacom, best known as a cellphone service provider, is set to become one of the country’s most influential media players, trumping many big, traditional media players. The numbers are certainly impressive. Some would say Vodacom is already an influential media player, with a claimed monthly audience of 1,4-million unique users and 16-million page impressions that […]

'Beware the power of social media'

This popped into my inbox this afternoon. I know Jovan Regasek well and have big respect for the man, ITWeb and the other publications his company puts out. For those of you wondering, ITWeb survived full on through the dot.bomb crash and was one of the few online publications that actually gave rise to various […]

Linklove: what big media can learn from bloggers

The fundamental art of linking is something online media could learn from the blogosphere….

Without linking there wouldn’t be an internet. It’s the web of links that leads a user from website-to-website that essentially creates the thing we know as the world wide web. Many commercial online media publishers hate linking from their websites to the “outside”, especially when there’s a competitor involved. It’s a protective, “walled garden” mentality, prevalent in many traditional media businesses, which doesn’t translate particularly well on the wild world wide web. It’s pretty silly, because linking is the whole point of the web.

This where the blogosphere could teach online publishers a thing or two…. read on

Online ads: What’s working?

Online advertising as we know it is crude. But it is entering a new era of sophistication….

The internet allows us to target advertising to an unprecedented degree, so why are most banner ads still served on such a hit-and-miss basis?

Publishers slap up an insurance ad on a homepage in the hope they will get the industry average 0,3% click-through rate or more. If they achieve that click-through rate, everyone is happy. But here is the question — what happened to the other 99,7%? Surely by any standards this is a pretty inefficient ratio? It may be at first glance, but that 0,3% is still valuable enough for advertisers to achieve major return on investment by forking out big bucks to be on the major sites.

The type of client found on local online publishers give us a clue as to what is working on the web. For example, insurance and car companies have had a very successful love affair with the internet. The one thing they have in common is that a single acquisition equals very high value for them, for example someone buying a car or taking out a long-term insurance policy. It’s also why the high-worth online audience, which can afford to pay regular premiums, works for their brand… (read on)

Decline of the homepage

Website consumption patterns are changing. Remember when the main way to surf a website was via its homepage? Well, that was the old days. The rise of super-fast, super-efficient search engines mean that users are increasingly accessing websites via deep links that bypass their homepages directly to a website’s articles. It’s essentially a backdoor into your website. Search engines aren’t the only ones to blame. Bloggers generally link directly to the articles they are writing about, ignoring homepages. RSS feeds, which allow users to subscribe directly to article feeds, are also responsible for the decline of the homepage. So what does this mean? Paradoxically it is both a problem and an opportunity for publishers.

Online ‘permanence’

Imagine a world where you could actively sell advertising on archived content. Well, it’s here. Content on a website should never die. Never, ever. To delete content on a website is a waste. Online articles and their links should be permanent. In the world of the dead tree, articles have limited lifespans. You read your paper, then it’s used to wrap fish and chips, is thrown in the rubbish bin, or lives a lonely life of obscurity in some dusty library archive….

It’s about branding, stupid

Online advertising is not only about clicks, leads and acquisitions… branding is important too. There are a number of competing online advertising models on the net. By far the most dominant one used by online publishers is the Cost-per-Thousand (CPM) model. CPM is the closest online advertising gets to advertising in traditional media. The advertiser pays in advance to place an advert that will be displayed to the website’s readership base, which should generate return on investment. Through the campaign there will be branding for the advertiser, click-throughs on the advert, leads and hopefully acquisition of the product. Everyone’s happy?

Why can’t we all just get along?

The media world is undergoing profound change. We know the great catalyst for these changes has been the onward march of the digital age and the arrival of the internet.

This changing mediascape is often incorrectly portrayed as a battlefield, with two main skirmishes on the go. In the first “battle”, the soldiers have grown weary or just rather bored. This battle involves traditional media (newspapers, radio, TV) versus online media. The second “battle” is a much more interesting to look at. This skirmish involves mainstream media (which in this instance includes online publishers as they mostly practise traditional journalism) versus citizen media, which includes bloggers, vloggers and podcasters….

Mail & Guardian Online, a great 2006, even better 2007

It’s been a mad couple of years. It’s been gratifying being part of the Mail & Guardian Online success story. We have a small staff of only 10 full timers or so, but they are passionate about the brand. We have seen the site double its local readership and triple its international readership in just over a year or so to become the fourth biggest online publisher in the country (so say Nielsens)….

Sunday Times revamps website

Well done to Sunday Times with their relaunch. The redesign looks great. Following the latest trend in creating wide-format sites, their website really hits the spot for me and raises the bar for local online publishers from a design point of view. The old site was in bad need of a redesign, but this makes […]

Bloggers show online publishers how to use the net

It’s no surprise that the blogosphere has grown so big, so quickly. Not only is it easier and cheaper to publish than ever before via blogs, but people have found it a good outlet for their ideas and writings. The key success area of blogs, I would argue, is a link culture and a culture of link reciprocity (I […]

Online is no ‘threat’

It’s time to leave the dark ages. The traditional advertising and media industry needs to see the potential of online or get left behind. This sentiment comes from a survey conducted independently by respected technology analyst Arthur Goldstuck for the Online Publishers Association.   It finds that there is a general lack of awareness within […]

Print vs Online: Interview with Marketing Mix

Just did this interview with Marketing Mix on the (yawn) print vs online debate…

What is your opinion on the general attitude of the newspaper industry towards the merging of online and print?

How far is SA behind (in general) when it comes to combining online and print?

What ‘cool’ things do you have on the M&G site that no one else does, and how are the ‘cool’ things working out – are people using RSS feeds etc, for example?

What are the problems/challenges facing publishers that actually want to embrace online?

Should SA publishers be worried about online? Is it a threat?

What is hampering the real growth of online at the moment?

How long do you think we have until online starts eating into circulation/ad revenue the way it has in the US and UK?

What are the next steps in terms of technology and integrating print and online that publishers need to embrace and use?

How can an online presence be using for success brand-building both for the newspaper itself as well as advertising clients?

Has online revenue started to make a positive impact on the overall bottom line?

Are clients and ad agencies geared for an online presence? If no, what needs to be done (by all parties) to ensure online ad revenue success?

What are the differences between having a print publication and an online site – ie what do publishers/journalists need to learn and understand about online in order to meet consumer expectations?

What is your opinion on citizen journalism and its part?

What do you do about premium news (subscribing mostly?) as most people won’t pay for the privilege esp as they can normally find the stories elsewhere on the internet? But how viable is free content?

Is there a threat yet to classifieds (print and online) from sites such as craigslist, and how do you combat this?

Answers over the page…..

Sunday Times breaks new ground with multimedia

Cool multimedia project on 2010 cup preparations by Sunday Times and the NML guys/geniuses. This is probably the first major multimedia project by an online publisher in bandwidth-challenged South Africa of this scale? Correct me if I am wrong.    

SA's online media space

At KUGM Online Marketing conference in Rosebank Russell Hanly, Chief Executive of the new 24.com, gave us a brief overview of the new 24.com structure … and then talked about the South African online media landscape. He emphasised that marketers should focus on domestic/South African readership rather than the total overseas readership, as this is […]

Why The Weekender will succeed

The Weekender is an excellent newspaper and a clever initiative by BDFM and Johncom. That it is going to succeed is obvious. I buy it every Saturday and spent a good fat hour or two on it. The articles are well-written and interesting. Here are reasons why I think it will succeed….

Technorati, del.icio.us added to Mail & Guardian Online


We’ve just added technorati and del.icio.us to the Mail & Guardian Online. I see we are also ranked 152 out of the 40.7 million sites in Technorati, which is nice. The M&G Online is one of South Africa’s leading online publishers, credited as the first online newspaper on the continent.

For those who don’t know what all this is about (you know who you are) — it’ll allow users and bloggers to see who in the blogosphere is linking to Mail & Guardian Online as a site, and particular articles we publish on the site. The idea is to start a dialogue with bloggers and encourage community around the M&G Online — hopefully to encourage bloggers to blog our site more. Blogs are, without doubt, a key driver of traffic for us. I’m not one for jumping head first into the latest trends, but this — as far as I am concerned — is a big part of the future of the net. Really.

I saw Dave Sifry, the Technorati founder, speak at the We Media conference in London this year, where I was also on a panel speaking (about New Media here). Was impressed by the man. If I recall he got into a heated exchange with some provocative old media type while on his panel. Was funny to watch. And good for him.

It’s phase 1 of the implementation which is fairly rudimentary. Next phase we’ll add a bit more customisation in an M&G Online template after working with the dev team at Technorati.

Check it out for yourself and tell me what you think. (The technorati links are at the bottom of the article pages)

Here is an article you can try out: Mugabe donates computers ahead of by-election

South African online media 'comes of age'

Here is some exciting new findings from research commissioned by the local Online Publisher’s Association. It was conducted by Arthur Goldstuck, who is an independent ICT analyst in South Africa who found that it took South Africa’s online publishing industry nine years, from 1994 to 2003, to grow to the R60-million revenue mark, yet it is set to treble that amount in the subsequent three years. “It’s looking very positive for online advertising – a medium that has finally come of age,” said Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “But this phenomenal growth masks the fact that the numbers would be far higher if the advertising industry woke up to the potential of the medium.”

The blog phenomenon

When Gutenberg invented the printing press, he freed the publishers. But when the World Wide Web was pioneered by Tim Berners-Lee, it was said that the readers were now freed. The age of the internet has given unprecedented power to the reader by creating one of the most democratic and accessible forms of publishing yet – the blog.