The digital content industry is constantly in flux, but perhaps never more so than in 2012. From Facebook's IPO to Newsweek's announcement that it will go all-digital in 2013, it's been a big year for econtent--and for EContent. Submissions for this year's EContent 100 list were better than ever, and consequently our judges had their work cut out for them. It was a spirited debate-one that often embodied much of the debate that surrounds the larger content business. What truly makes a company successful in the digital world? That's the question we set out to answer with this year's EContent 100 list.
December 2012 Issue
Posted Dec 04, 2012
Here are the eight professionals who decided which companies would make the EContent 100.
December 2012 Issue
Posted Dec 04, 2012
For every brave soul that posts a comment on a website or blog there are likely hundreds of others simply lurking in the background. Content providers crave interaction and want to encourage discussion, yet many find themselves faced with a dearth of comments, save for perhaps those spammy postings that pop up every once in a while. What can they do?
By Lin Pophal
Posted Nov 30, 2012
"Cyber Monday" may have come and gone, but that doesn't mean America is done with its online holiday shopping. In fact, a recent LivePerson survey found that 63% of shoppers plan to do 50% or more of their holiday shopping online. And this holiday season retailers have relatively new tool at their disposal with sites like the wildly-popular Pinterest.
By Chris Seymour
Posted Nov 28, 2012
For electronic content providers and digital publishers, the age-old question remains: fee or free? Today, the answer for many lies somewhere in between-in other words, freemium. As a business model, freemium-offering a completely gratis but possibly feature-limited product or service that also allows options for premium upgrades/options that users can pay for-is increasingly in vogue, as evidenced by the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Google, and countless other businesses offering free versions of products used by millions today. (Case in point: IHS recently revealed that an astounding 96% of all smartphone apps downloaded in 2011 were free.)
What happens if the lights go out? It's a question that strikes fear into the hearts of content providers everywhere--especially those that have transitioned from preserving hard copies to digital storage. Decisions about how to protect content-in this case, digital content--should be based both on an assessment of the purpose and value of that content and the development of a policy that outlines what is stored and how it is stored.
As the publishing industry continues to evolve, publishers are experimenting with new online models. But to find the right commerce solution, you must think about your primary objectives. Are you building a branded content destination, or are you glad to attract followers around the edges of the digital world in social media outlets or around other properties that do not bear your brand name? Is video an enhancement to your message or a distraction? Is your content valuable to other brands? All of these things must be considered before you choose a commerce model.
If it's not your job to pour over your site's Google Analytics results you may not have noticed that the search giant announced, just over a year ago, that it would make SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) search the default for signed-in users - and you definitely wouldn't have realized the effect this has on your company's SEO efforts. Optify recently took a look at what this change has meant for marketers and put its findings into a study dubbed "Google Not Provided On the Rise: The Impact of Google's SSL Enhancement on SEO Data."
Posted Nov 16, 2012
Pinterest is a relatively new entrant to the social media market. As a virtual pinboard, the mission of the site is to "connect everyone in the world through the ‘things' they find interesting." The site offers some examples under the heading "What Can You Do With Pinterest?" that include: redecorating your home, planning a wedding, finding your style, saving your inspirations and saving your recipes. While these suggested uses are prevalent among the site's participants, other uses are springing up regularly as individuals and businesses find new, and increasingly practical, uses. Content providers are among them-using Pinterest to share information on the environment, events, jobs and more.
By Lin Pophal
Posted Nov 14, 2012
First there was Blogger. Then there was Twitter. Now, somewhere in between those concepts is Medium, the ambitious new creation of co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, who are responsible for all three social media online publishing tools.Launched recently by Williams' and Stone's Obvious Corp., Medium offers a fresh take on blogging by combining some of the best features already built into competitor sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest, reddit, and Zeen. Medium's design lets users collaborate on works consisting of words and/or images that are published on the site. After reading a work, users can provide feedback to the author, indicate if they liked it, and supplement it with additional content.
Consumers are demanding their entertainment on a variety of platforms, and everywhere you look it seems like everything is streaming. But is that sustainable? There is not only the issue of monetization, but there's bandwidth too. Can we all stream our favorite shows and music? And can companies make enough money to keep producing the content?
It used to be that the only data publishers had to work with to determine if a book was a success or a failure were the sales figures. But those numbers only scratch the surface and lead to many more questions than answers. For example, are readers actually finishing a book? And who, exactly, is buying the book?Well, now, thanks to the power of analytics, ebook publishers have the ability to uncover a treasure trove of information about their readers and their behavior. Not only can a publisher find out how many copies have been sold, but it can also determine who is doing the purchasing, how much progress those readers are making, and how much time they're spending with a particular ebook.
Facebook's post-IPO struggles can be baffling to the average person. How can a company with over a billion active users be experiencing so much trouble with its stock price--and revenue building in general? But those troubles may be behind the social network after a better than expected third quarter earnings report. And in a flurry of not-so-great earnings news from other companies, Facebook is reaping the benefits.
Posted Oct 23, 2012
Social media has provided us with a world with no boundaries and has allowed small companies to dream of having a global reach. But, along with opportunities come challenges-chief among them is navigating the tricky terrain of communication and social differences in diverse geographies. In 2010, Buddy Media, Inc., a New York City-based software-as-a-service company that works with some of the top global advertisers, conducted a study that looked at the gap between the perceived potential of global social media and the actual level of achievement. The survey of 105 Fortune 1000 brand managers was conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. While 72% of respondents indicated that social media offers great opportunity to reach existing and potential customers around the world, they also indicated that they were lacking the tools and information necessary to leverage global social media effectively.
The World Wide Web has forever changed the way companies of all sizes do business. From the smallest mom-and-pop shop to the largest enterprise, the internet has not only made it easier for companies to grow, but it has added new concerns. To be sure, the web is the great equalizer. In the past, only a select few corporations operated on a global scale, but the web has made it possible for organizations in Peoria, Ill., to sell goods and services to those in Prague. While leveraging the web to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time may seem relatively straightforward, it is not.
The digital age has given way to an open access renaissance - allowing for the free flow of information traditionally bound up in scholarly journals and academic publications. But when an influential analyst said that a European push toward open access could significantly hurt academic publisher Reed Elsevier's bottom line, many STM publishers took a second look at this model.
By Robert Springer
Posted Oct 12, 2012
Digital technology has broken down many barriers for new authors trying to break into the book publishing business. Ebooks and online publishing tools offer relatively easy and inexpensive ways to self-publish, and the internet provides a virtual platform from which to potentially grab the attention of a worldwide audience, including those seemingly elusive book editors and literary agents.
Author J.K. Rowling knows how to cast a spell on readers with her enthralling stories. But she and her publisher probably wish they had a magic wand that could undo the troublesome technical defect in the faulty first run of the ebook version of her new novel, The Casual Vacancy.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Oct 05, 2012
America loves its Facebook. According to comScore, Inc., the social network had 158.01 million unique visitors in the U.S. in May 2012. Believe it or not, that represented a slight decline in the number of visitors. Despite its popularity, Facebook has some competitors out there, and they may just be stealing a bit of attention from the leader in social networking.
Rwanda, the tiny East African nation that is synonymous with the infamous 1994 genocide -- in which close to one million people were slaughtered in a bloody ethnic cleansing that lasted about 100 days -- has made giant strides on a path towards national reconciliation and recovery. Today, the country is on a grand march towards socio-economic growth that has been spurred by favorable government policies and investor confidence.However, the Rwandan government has learned valuable lessons from its troubled history and has been working hard toward collating and collecting data from before, during, and after the genocide with a view to using this information to educate not only the Rwandans, but also the entire world on what political and ethnic hatred can do to a people.
By Denis Gathanju
Posted Sep 27, 2012
We've all been there. You visit a website looking for information, movies, or other digital content and find a few freebies. Eventually, however, you run into a request for registration or, more substantially, a request to pay for additional content. DigiCareers, a website that provides job listings for those in the media industry, recently released survey results examining the impact of paywalls on current consumers. By sending emails to a random selection of its 30,000 members, DigiCareers received a 78% participation rate, using the feedback of 200 individuals. Some experts found the results surprising.
Announced to the public in April of 2012, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an Antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group (USA), and Simon & Schuster. The Justice Department alleged that Apple and the aforementioned publishing companies conspired together in an attempt to curb competitive pricing for e-books, namely in the wake of Amazon's offerings of $9.99 or less.
By Michelle L. Cramer
Posted Sep 21, 2012
If you're considering adding online display advertising to your media mix, your first impressions may be one of confusing three-letter acronyms and an overwhelming number of vendors and technologies. So how do you make sense of this complex market and identify the right approach for your marketing goals?
Creating and disseminating content is getting easier every day. There are countless free and premium tools ready to help you get your information on the web. As the volume of web content continues to grow, however, users are becoming more selective about the sources they rely on-and engaging an audience isn't nearly as easy as putting out content.
In a report summarizing "major changes" in news media ownership in the past year, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) touched on a variety of topics, ranging from a busy year for newspaper transactions to the struggles of AOL's hyperlocal Patch websites.Along with the report, which was published on June 26, PEJ launched a new interactive database, dubbed Who Owns the News Media, to help people "make sense of the changes at the highest levels." The database "provides detailed statistics on the companies that now own our nation's news media outlets, from newspapers to local television news stations to radio to digital."
Shrewd social commerce partnerships can do more than increase hits and generate online buzz. They can also employ technology to benefit worthy causes, as evidenced by a new initiative launched by Hearst Digital Media and mulu, an online social network platform that enables users to share product recommendations and designate a portion of the purchase proceeds to a chosen charity or nonprofit group.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Sep 07, 2012
It's a digital world out there, and keeping up with the latest trends and developments would be nearly impossible for most of us without the help of the professionals. Just like the rest of us, digital content executives need guidance when it comes to staying on top of industry news while weeding out the extraneous information. From relatively widely known sources to the more niche-focused, there is no shortage of information for content producers. In truth, every day new options enter the market representing the best thinking from myriad minds around the globe.
The 2012 election cycle marks the inaugural election during which "big data" analysis tools are widely available to examine where the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates stand on the major issues of the campaign. The technology company Atigeo is putting its big data cloud software platform, xPatterns, to work in a free online analytical tool that it hopes voters will use to sift through the cacophony of campaign commentary and make sense of the candidates' stances on the issues.
By Michael LoPresti
Posted Aug 22, 2012
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing your site's visibility in search engine results, which is an art and science, according to Rebecca Lieb, analyst of digital advertising and media at the Altimeter Group. "In laymen's terms, it's being on the first page of Google results, not on page 372, where people are unlikely to see it," she says.
Two of the world's three most visited websites? Check. A stock price north of $600? Yep. A great tool for enterprise users to track their social media efforts on its flagship social media program? Not yet.Late to the social media game, Google is still playing catch up in terms of providing enterprise users with a quality reporting tool for Google+, according to a new whitepaper from Covario, an SEM and SEO company. The gist of the whitepaper: Google+ Ripples is not enterprise ready.
By Robert Springer
Posted Aug 15, 2012
Simply put, there is likely no website in the world as popular as Facebook. According to Facebook's IPO filing released in February, there are 845 million active monthly users of Facebook worldwide. Each of those users spends an average of 20 minutes on the site per visit—although, as anyone who's caught himself looking at pics from his old college roommate's recent trip to Vegas can tell you, 20 minutes is probably a low estimate for a lot of people.
Editors are not known for embracing change. So when Ebyline surveyed editors to see how social media and SEO have changed their jobs, it's no surprise that many still valued the basics of good journalism over other concerns.According to Ebyline original reporting, depth/expertise, and exclusivity topped the list of content success factors followed by publication title and presentation. At the bottom of the editors' list were social media value, author byline, and SEO-which, to many web-focused audiences, may seem counterintuitive.
Posted Aug 10, 2012
Are the web content management systems (WCMs) that many digital publishers and web content producers use today outdated? Yes, according to a new report authored by Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered market research and analysis firm Frost & Sullivan, entitled "Web Content Management Systems: So Five Years Ago."
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Aug 08, 2012
It used to be easy to identify the biggest players in the news market. Names such as Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner and their wealth of well-known media brands and properties would immediately come to mind. Today, the web and social media, in particular, have quickly and effectively changed the news media terrain. No longer are people devoted to that one brand or channel for their news or that one stalwart that runs a nationally known newspaper or cable (or network) news channel.
It's been an eventful week for streaming video.From the Olympics, to Amazon's new instant video app for iPad it seems like you can't turn around without running into news about the popularity of streaming video. On the Olympics front, according to paidContent, NBC told critics of its coverage that 60% of video streams are online while another 45% are happening on mobile devices. In total, NBC has had 64 million video streams during this Olympics.
Posted Aug 03, 2012
Los Angeles native Jamarlin Martin, 34, planted the seed for Moguldom Media Group in 2006 with a $6 domain name investment. Since then, the company - which bills itself as the world's largest network of owned and operated digital brands focusing on African Americans, as measured by comScore online reach - says it has seen strong year over year growth. EContent recently had a chance to chat with Martin, Moguldom's CEO and Chairman, about the company's origins, what sets Moguldom apart from its competitors, and some of its future plans.
By Chris Seymour
Posted Aug 01, 2012
With a global audience, not only of sports enthusiasts but family viewers as well, the Olympic Games are a potential goldmine for advertisers. But the Games starting in London offer greater opportunities than ever before, because these are the first ever to be streamed online in their entirety.
By Tim Buckley Owen
Posted Jul 26, 2012
Consumers may have been furious (and vocal) about an April settlement that allowed three publishers - HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette - to settle out of court in regards to an antitrust lawsuit brought against several publishers and Apple for allegedly "price-fixing" ebooks, but that doesn't seem to bother the DOJ. Many people who filed comments with the U.S. District Court in New York have criticized the DOJ for essentially giving Amazon a leg up in the ebook market by taking on its competitors.
By Theresa Cramer
Posted Jul 24, 2012
Some would call it shrewd guerilla marketing, 2012 style. Others would call it high-mileage performance art. Deborah Emin and Suzanne Pyrch simply call it a fun way to traverse the country and meet some new people on the road-with the added perk of publicizing their self-published books.Emin and Pyrch, partner publishers of Sullivan Street Press (SSP), recently embarked on a two-month road trip with the intent of travelling from their home base of New York City to Las Vegas over several weeks. Their Prius is carefully packed with the necessary gear to camp overnight at numerous stops along the way.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Jul 18, 2012
Word up to would-be writers, novelists, self-help scribes and long-form authors everywhere: Get ready to turn the page and make the jump from print to pixels. Because if you haven't transitioned to electronic publishing yet, you'll need to get up to speed fast and not only learn what it takes to make an ebook, but also how and where best to sell it.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Jul 11, 2012
They say content is king. While that remains a royal truism, this monarch's loyal subjects are clamoring for a new castle to be built—one where the walls aren't paper-thin and fading fast. Ask Mark Gross, president and CEO of Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL), a Fresh Meadows, N.Y.-based content conversion and publishing services business, and he'll tell you that, while paper won't disappear entirely over the next few years, most content published will be electronic—including legacy content.
Hollywood has long struggled with the challenge presented by digital content. The internet has at once been a source of consternation—with pirates abounding—and a source of endless new opportunities. Thanks to the success of streaming video at companies such as Netflix, Hulu, and TV Everywhere, Hollywood is finally starting to give digital content the respect it deserves.
In an effort to help web publishers "build their audience by leveraging their most valuable asset - content," LinkSmart, Inc. was launched Wednesday, June 27, along with its cloud-based Total Link Management (TLM) platform. The Boulder, CO-based LinkSmart was launched by Pete Sheinbaum, a 20-year publishing veteran and former DailyCandy CEO, who says that "the publishing industry is in a crisis" and he wants to help. TLM is the web publishing industry's "first complete text link management solution that analyzes, manages and optimizes text links on keywords in content," according to LinkSmart, a provider of text linking optimization solutions for web publishers.
By Chris Seymour
Posted Jun 27, 2012
Live sports have long gotten credit for keeping cable customers subscribing. With almost everything else streaming on websites such as Hulu, sporting events have often resisted the call of the web. That has been changing, little by little. Earlier this year, the Super Bowl was streamed live on the web, and now, NBC is upping its streaming game during the London 2012 Olympic Games. The network announced earlier this year that all 32 Olympic events will be streamed on NBCOlympics.com. While this is great news for cord-cutters and those looking to view their favorite events on their smartphones and tablets--and at work--NBC's decision does come with a few caveats.
So, you want to get social? You realize your business cannot live without it. Kudos to you for having a strategy and a plan and for not just putting up Facebook and Twitter pages. But now you realize how time-consuming it will be to drive real measurable success. So let me tell you how we determined the right tools to help us drive our social media practice.
For some, it might be hard to remember what life was like before smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. How did we ever survive? We had to wait until we were settled in front of our PCs to check our email and watch the latest episodes of our favorite TV shows on our TVs (gasp!). We even had to buy GPS navigators for our cars to find our way to new destinations. Mobile devices and the apps that live on them have certainly made our lives easier-and maybe even more exciting-but they have also had a significant impact on the publishing industry.
What is a "Like" really worth? It isn't quite an age-old question, but digital marketers and brands have been wondering what success really means when it comes to social media marketing. comScore is trying (again) to answer that question with "The Power of a Like 2: How Social Marketing Works" - a collaboration with Facebook.
Posted Jun 13, 2012
Innovation in the marketing industry is moving faster than ever before, according to Greg Ott, chief marketing officer at Demandbase, Inc. Vendors have backed out of traditional marketing-to-sales funnels, and the landscape is transforming dramatically, says Gerry Murray, research manager for the CMO Advisory service team at IDC (International Data Corp.). "Marketing is no longer a long-cycle and event planning and collateral building and annual cycle process," Murray says. "It's now happening minute by minute through Twitter and Facebook and all the other social media channels, and it's kind of blown up the whole model." Expectations, too, are changing. Marketing has become about forging deeper and more personalized relationships, Murray says, and engaging prospects sooner.
Big brands in non-media industries (beverage and automobile companies, for instance), as well as smaller companies and even nonprofits - none of which are likely to have either the extensive volume of content or the in-house personnel and expertise to manage that content that the big media companies do - may begin looking for video management and publishing solutions that match more modest needs. thePlatform now offers just such a solution aimed at those potential customers.
By Michael LoPresti
Posted Jun 06, 2012
On the chaotic and often tumultuous playground that is the World Wide Web, one thing is becoming more and more clear: Publishers have to play nice with social media if they hope to succeed. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are the popular kids on the playground, and they're the ones spreading the word about your content. According to the "State of the News Media 2012" report from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), "Facebook users spent an average of 423 minutes each on the site in December. By contrast, a PEJ analysis of Nielsen Net View data puts the average time on a top 25 news site at just under 12 minutes per month."