Aug. 4, 2010

Newspapers continue to serve critical watchdog role
For some time now, people have been asking with increasing urgency what would happen to communities if they didn't have newspapers. The fact is that the local exercise of democracy depends on the Fourth Estate. And watchdogging local government is a job for which television, radio and even most bloggers have proven ill-equipped. Newspapers do it best – usually just by showing up, or by reviewing agendas.More

Penney sells back-to-school clothes the digital way
The New York Times
J. C. Penney is using a new augmented reality online shopping application to sell fall back-to-school clothing to teenage girls. Created by metaio, a software developer based in Munich, the application lets shoppers use the Web camera on their home computer to enter a "virtual dressing room," browse through, try on and buy clothes.More

Mixed ad message from newspapers
The Wall Street Journal
Several newspaper publishers have reported solid growth in digital advertising revenue for the second quarter in recent days, helping offset continuing declines in print advertising. The New York Times, for instance, reported 21 percent growth in digital-ad revenue against a 6 percent drop in print advertising, keeping total advertising "roughly flat" with the year-earlier quarter. Digital now accounts for 26 percent of its total ad revenue, up from 22 percent.More

July retail sales to reflect renewed anxiety
Reuters via ABC News
U.S. retailers look set to report only a modest improvement in sales for July as anxious consumers cut down on their spending and big chains returned to their discounting ways. Top U.S. retail chains from Saks Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch to Target Corp will later report July sales at stores open for at least year.More

Shops grapple with fallout from group coupons
The Associated Press via Google News
Local shops nationwide are pulling in thousands of new customers with group coupons online, but the deals can sometimes work too well, turning marketing into a game of retail roulette. Some of the nail salons, restaurants and other small shops that have sold the coupons have risked both new and existing business as they struggled to handle the surge in clients.More

New York Times offers app platform to other publishers
The New York Times is offering a platform that other publishers can use to produce their own apps for devices starting with the iPad and iPhone. The publishers keep any advertising and circulation revenue the apps bring in; they pay the Times a one-time license fee for the platform and then a monthly maintenance fee.More

The Web's new gold mine: your secrets
The Wall Street Journal
One of the fastest-growing businesses on the Internet is the business of spying on Internet users. The Wall Street Journal has conducted a comprehensive study that assesses and analyzes the broad array of cookies and other surveillance technology that companies are deploying on Internet users. It reveals that the tracking of consumers has grown both far more pervasive and far more intrusive than is realized by all but a handful of people in the vanguard of the industry.More

ShopLocal unveils Facebook marketing suite
ShopLocal has launched a new set of applications allowing retailers to add local circulars and ads to their Facebook pages. The new suite of tools includes a Deals tab, Deals widgets and targeted ads that promise to combine the power of the local weekly circular with the world's largest social network.More

What are consumers doing online?
What are Americans doing online? Spending nearly a third of their time playing games and using social networks, according to a new survey by Nielsen. Social networking sites and services take up the largest chunk of time, at about 23 percent of all time spent online, and, as GigaOm notes, "that figure is up sharply from just 16 percent in June 2009."More

Beyond digital magazines: Tablets, e-readers and mobile apps
FOLIO: Magazine
Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad are dominating much of the content-centric behavior of consumers but casting a wide net across all emerging devices in the e-reader, smartphone and tablet categories is the best approach for publishers, Gilbane Group vp and lead analyst Bill Trippe recently said at MPA's "Dimensional To Digital: From Augmented Reality to Tablets" conference.More

Triton hooks up with Slacker
Radio Ink Magazine
Triton Digital Media and Slacker Radio join in a strategic partnership, with Triton representing Slacker's inventory to digital and traditional agencies, measuring its audience, and handling ad insertion for the customizable Internet radio outlet.More

Is Spokesman-Review's 5-year-old 'porous' paywall the future of online?
Poynter Online
Shaun Higgins, who directs digital operations at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., watches with bemusement as the newspaper industry tiptoes into experiments with limited paywalls. His paper has had a system in place for roughly five years that offers 90 percent of website content for free but fences off the other 10 percent for especially motivated audiences willing to pay.More

Stockton 'Record' says paywall a success so far
Editor & Publisher
The Record in Stockton, Calif., is one paper already finding success in the great paywall experiment. Publisher Roger Coover, who is also president of the Record's parent company, the San Joaquin Media Group, said his newspaper's expected loss of online visitors has been lower than projected. The Record figured it would lose half its viewership online and unique users, but has lost just between 30 and 35 percent of its page views and only a quarter of its unique users.More

Norwegian newspaper taps into Web's efficiencies
The New York Times
Last summer, as the crisis in the newspaper business worsened, executives at Edda, a publisher in Norway, met to discuss the Internet. As managers fiddled with their iPhones, someone suggested a novel approach: If the company was serious about securing a place in the digital future, why not devote half its resources to the Web and other new media?More

Will papers' plans to block content backfire?
News & Tech
Paywalls are becoming a more common feature of the newspaper landscape as publishers begin making legitimate attempts to rein in their previously free-running Web content. But it will take at least a year to determine whether these attempts will translate into tangible revenues or merely another example of a last-ditch effort gone awry.More