Media Business News and Trends

I've been rereading Katharine Graham's autobiography Personal History, which describes her role as publisher of The Washington Post in the 1970s when that paper played such a momentous role in national affairs. It's a fascinating book that I haven't dipped into for at least 5 years, and I've been forcefully struck by how very much has changed, and how quickly, in the world of publishing. In many ways the newspaper world of the 1960s and 1970s (and even the 1940s and 1950s) that Graham describes doesn't differ that much from the one I remember when I first worked in publishing in the early 1990s: display and classified ad-driven, with clear and well-defended roles for journalists based on decades of independent thinking and reporting, and plenty of distance between the business and editorial sides of the paper.

Posted Apr 16, 2013

In a blog post, LinkedIn announced it has acquired Pulse for a reported $90 million. The company wrote, "We believe LinkedIn can be the definitive professional publishing platform - where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content." And apparently, the Pulse acquisition is the next step to achieving that goal.

Posted Apr 12, 2013

NOOK Media LLC, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc., announced the launch of NOOK Press, a new self-publishing platform offering authors a fast, easy and free way to write, edit, collaborate and publish the ebooks and directly distribute them to readers.

Posted Apr 11, 2013

MarkLogic Corporation, the provider of the enterprise NoSQL database platform, announced that it has closed a $25 million round of growth capital led by Sequoia Capital and Tenaya Capital, with participation from Northgate Capital. MarkLogic CEO and former Oracle executive, Gary Bloom, also made a personal investment in this financing round.

Posted Apr 10, 2013

The textbook market has long been ahead of the rest of the publishing industry when it comes to digital books. Textbooks were a natural fit for e-readers, allowing for easy updates and social studying features, but a recent Springer whitepaper, "eBook Use and Acceptance in an Undergraduate Institution," says the proliferation of devices has not necessarily translated to higher ebook acceptance among college students at Wellesley.

Posted Apr 10, 2013

The idea for this column started a few weeks ago when I read an article about self-described "tech evangelist," Adria Richards. Richards had been on the road for a few weeks, checking out tech conferences all over the country. At PyCon, a developer's conference in California, Richards heard the two men using sexually suggestive language such as "dongles" and "forking" in relation to some of the topics being discussed. From what I've read, it didn't seem like these men were making these comments in reference to Richards, but in the long run, that's neither here nor there. In a professional setting, their words were inappropriate, period. To make a long story even longer, Richards took a picture of the men, tweeted her frustrations, and watched as the two were removed from the room by PyCon staffers.

Posted Apr 04, 2013

Curata, Inc., a content curation platform, announced that it is developing a Google Reader replacement that is specifically designed for business users, following Google's March 13, 2013 announcement of its intentions to discontinue Google Reader. Curata plans to utilize existing intelligent content processing technology from its flagship content curation product. The company is currently accepting invitations in anticipation of the public launch of Curata Reader.

Posted Apr 03, 2013

Peopleware: Content Industry Staffing News for the Week of April 1, 2013

Posted Apr 01, 2013

Amazon.com, Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Goodreads, a site for readers and book recommendations that helps people find and share books they love.

Posted Mar 28, 2013

Flipboard announced its latest update, which includes new content from Etsy and new tools that allow users to become content curators in their own right. The upgrade at the center of this release allows users to save content -- from articles to videos -- and organize it into "magazines."

Posted Mar 28, 2013

Credo, a provider of information and digital literacy solutions, announced it has acquired OnlineTutorSolutions.com, which will enhance its Literati solutions with technologies that connect students to on-staff, state-certified tutors at their point of need. The acquisition furthers Credo's mission to work with libraries, educators, publishers and technology providers to create a society in which everyone has the ability to learn and an opportunity to succeed.

Posted Mar 26, 2013

If you are not prepared for the wild ride through the digital landscape that 2013 will provide, it's either because you believed the Mayans or because you don't know where to begin. Well, you should probably start with multichannel publishing. Simply put, your content needs to be displayed on the device of your user's choosing, not your own. Therefore, every single one of your digital properties needs to be accessible on a desktop browser, tablet, smartphone, and laptop.

Posted Mar 26, 2013

Content providers are no strangers to the free versus fee debate, but over the past few years some newcomers have entered into the fray. Third-party companies have started offering media passes, often allowing users to manage a variety of digital subscriptions in one place. While some options, such as R.R. Donnelly & Sons Co.'s Press+, have seen measured success, others-offered by big players in the digital media space-have failed.

Posted Mar 25, 2013

One year after the acquisition of Texterity by Godengo, the digital and mobile publishing provider (formerly known as Godengo+Texterity) announced a new name and corporate vision as GTxcel.

Posted Mar 22, 2013

It wasn't long ago that the position of "chief content officer" was merely a glimmer in the eye of a few particularly tech- and trend-savvy marketing executives. Some time around the turn of the century, as digital media was beginning to cement its foothold in the worlds of marketing and commerce, and as the social media revolution was in its most nascent stages, the idea that a company should employ a director -- or a team, or even a whole department -- to create custom branded content to compellingly and coherently represent their organization in all of its prospective media channels was born.

Posted Mar 22, 2013

Maybe it's the cachet that comes with increased media attention. Often it's the quick opportunity to reward eager venture capitalists and other money seeders. Likely it's the promise of liquidity and a quick infusion of cash. But whatever the reason, the allure of going public is hard to ignore for a privately held digital content company that has its sights set on bigger, better things.

Posted Mar 18, 2013

Ernie Smith, social media journalist with TMG, a content marketing firm, focuses on writing and running AssociationsNow.com, the online presence for ASAE's (American Society of Association Executives) Associations Now. Smith says, "I work directly with ASAE staff in shaping the tone and the style of the content, which is largely curated with daily blog posts and a strong focus on visuals. I design my own infographics and illustrations, I help post to social media, I played a key role in designing the look of the newsletter which we publish Monday through Friday-and a key role in writing it, too."

Posted Mar 15, 2013

LinkedIn has been the focus of lots of attention lately. Rumors that the social networking site is looking to buy Pulse, probably for its free reader, have been swirling. CMSWire reports that the purchase price is somewhere between $50 and $100 million. Pulse recommends reading based on your interests, its most well-known competitor being the popular Flipboard app.

Posted Mar 14, 2013

In an increasingly challenging publishing world where authors see their prospects fading, Tim Sanders saw opportunity. So he and a team of fellow entrepreneurs recently founded Net Minds, an ambitious new Pasadena, Calif.-based startup that seeks to transform the industry by offering an entirely new model for book writers to bypass traditional and self-publishing.

Posted Mar 13, 2013

There have been many studies of consumer shopping habits and what drives the purchase of unplanned items. Product displays, sales, placement, packaging, signage: These all play a part in driving purchases, particularly for items that were not part of the reason the consumer went to that store. Emotion and instant gratification play a big part too. But do these same rules apply when it comes to ebook shopping?

Posted Mar 12, 2013

Facebook users have grown used to the griping of fellow users who are upset over the latest changes to the layout, but the News Feed changes proposed last week seem to be flying under the radar. With these changes, CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised a "personalized newspaper" - which seems like a wise decision, considering the popularity of tools like Flipboard, that create personalized newspaper by pulling in content from users' social media accounts.

Posted Mar 11, 2013

While the newspaper industry has been embracing the need to charge readers for online content, bloggers have been more hesitant to take the paywall plunge-for good reason. More often than not, bloggers just don't have the audience or name recognition needed to convince readers that their content is worth paying for. But on Jan. 2, 2013, pioneering blogger Andrew Sullivan announced that his popular blog The Dish was leaving The Daily Beast to move to its own subscription-supported model. The media pounced on the news, debating the merits of Sullivan's move. While the discussion continues, it's likely that it will be a while before we know if his bold move will pay off.

Posted Mar 11, 2013

Fifteen years ago, Thea Selby and Linda Ruth founded the Exceptional Women in Publishing organization to address what Selby referred to as "the vacuum in women's leadership in the magazine industry." On March 6 at EWIP's fifth annual Women's Leadership Conference, held in San Francisco's elegant Art Nouveau City Club, more than 250 attendees took a moment to reflect back on the massive changes that have taken place in the publishing industry since 1998. But the primary focus of the event was how to leverage the technologies and trends, from video integration to mobile monetization to social media partnering, that stand to radically impact the industry's future.

Posted Mar 08, 2013

Get ready for another wave of complaints from Facebook users upset about the latest changes to their news feeds. At 10 a.m. PT, Facebook is holding an event, the invitation to which says, "Come see a new look for News Feed." Yesterday, Google+ got a head start on its social media rival with a profile overhaul of its own.

Posted Mar 07, 2013

Last week, the new CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, gave her employees an ultimatum: come to the office or quit. The statement sent shockwaves through the business world, inciting visceral reactions from media outlets and workers alike, and perhaps rightfully so. It seemed many companies were just beginning to get used to their employees working from home, and now, one of the most powerful figures at one of the most powerful companies was denouncing the idea.

Posted Mar 07, 2013

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