Media Business News and Trends

As I write this column, the Newtown, Conn., shooting tragedy is still a raw, gaping wound in the national consciousness. We have seen the face of evil, and those of us in the press who cover breaking news have been left to report on the horror. I'm sad to say we haven't always done it elegantly or with compassion for the victims or their families. What's worse, in an effort to be first, blatantly wrong information was published.

Posted Mar 05, 2013

Digital data has not only gotten "big," as we now put it. Data has gotten fast, unstructured, and overwhelming. According to IBM, 90% of the data in the world has been produced in just the past 2 years. Feeds from social media, offline transactions, user video and image posts, and more all converge into massive dashboards that give marketers and now publishers increasingly real-time, unmediated, and holistic views of the consumer. The big impact of Big Data is only beginning to be felt among content providers, but many in the industry see it as both a threat to the traditional ownership media companies had over audiences and an opportunity to reinvent content as data-driven products and services and to give a struggling media industry new business models.

Posted Mar 04, 2013

We all know the risk you take whenever you agree to a software update, especially when it comes to mobile operating systems. One day you're happily using Google maps and the next day Apple is getting you lost with its inferior mapping system. Well, it seems Kindle app users have something to complain about now. According to reports, yesterday Amazon warned users that there was a glitch in its 3.6.1 update for iOS that could, in a worst case scenario, wipe out the user's library.

Posted Feb 28, 2013

When you think of the word "book" there are two distinct and different versions: the first is the physical item with pages, a cover, etc; and second, the story contained therein. The nature of ebooks, whether they are thing or e-thing, has been hotly debated since their inception. Are they a physical entity or disembodied story? Now, a new wrinkle: can you resell a used ebook?Amazon seems to think so.

Posted Feb 28, 2013

Barnes & Noble's future is once again up in the air, with the company's founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, reportedly telling the board of directors that he's interested in buying the retail business - and only the retail business. Barnes & Noble put out a press release confirming the speculation. Riggio wants the stores, and the website but not Nook Media. The news of a possible split led to stock prices jumping, and seems to be a hit with investors.

Posted Feb 26, 2013

If you're lucky enough to still have an independent bookstore in your area, you've probably wondered what would happen to it in the age of e-books. Well, those little shops aren't waiting to find out. Instead independent booksellers have banded together to file a class action lawsuit against Amazon and six publishers. According to the complaint, the Bookhouse of Stuyvesant Plaza, Fiction Addiction, and Posman Books at Grand Central have filed against Amazon, Random House, Penguin Group, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Macmillan "on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated independent brick-and-mortar bookstores."

Posted Feb 21, 2013

In a world of free content -- from app to university classes from the likes of Princeton and MIT -- the consumer is making out like a bandit, while content producers wring their hands over the prospect of finding a way to make money. Companies are being forced to find new ways to market their services to encourage people to pay. How? Increasingly, it's through customized experiences.

Posted Feb 20, 2013

It seems that 2013 is turning out to be a big year for blogs. First, Andrew Sullivan announced he was taking The Dish and leaving The Daily Beast behind to go it alone. Now, Reuters is reporting that tech blog AllThingsD -- run by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg -- is in talks with NewsCorp, Inc. about leaving the media giant when AllThingsD's contract is up.

Posted Feb 19, 2013

If you are in the business of digital content-and in this day and age, we all are-you have undoubtedly heard the phrase "content strategy" tossed around lately. You've heard how important strategy is to any content endeavor, but you may still be wondering what that means to you.Content strategy defines how a company is going to use content to meet the needs of a business, guides decisions about content from creation to deletion, and sets benchmarks against which to measure success. Deciding to post a YouTube video is not content strategy, nor are the myriad and growing numbers of features that your CMS offers. A strategy sets a vision for the future. Although it can be revised, it is perennial, not seasonal.

Posted Feb 18, 2013

Cassey Ho is not your average media mogul. She started out as a Pilates instructor, who used the web as a way to engage with her students by posting workout videos on YouTube. Eventually she started blogging as well, and she developed a following. FITNESS magazine named her the Best Healthy Living Blogger of 2012, and Sharecare called her the second most influential online personality. EContent talked to her about how the web enabled her to turn a passion into a career.

Posted Feb 15, 2013

A recent survey discovered that Americans are three times more likely to click on related links at the bottom of an article than content shared on social networking sites.The study, "Behavior Shift: Getting Content in Front of Consumers"-conducted online within the U.S., Oct. 3-5, 2012, among 2,512 adults by Harris Interactive-sought to find out more about the ways in which adults from the U.S. "discover and navigate the Internet's fire hose of content," according to nRelate, a content discovery platform that was behind the study.

Posted Feb 13, 2013

It seems that the DOJ's lawsuit against five publishers, which accused them of conspiring to fix ebooks prices using the "agency model" may finally be a thing of the past...sort of. Macmillan, the last holdout in the case, settled with the US Government, filing an agreement. The settlement, however, still needs to be approved by a judge, which has proved problematic in the past.

Posted Feb 12, 2013

Five years ago at the inaugural Intelligent Content Conference, there were 35 attendees. The 2013 ICC event, held in San Francisco on February 7 and 8, drew more than three hundred professionals from the disciplines of digital publishing, content management, content marketing, content strategy, mobile communication, and IT. It's as good a sign as any that corporate publishing-that is, businesses outside of traditional publishing using content to drive revenue growth-has moved to center stage.

Posted Feb 11, 2013

Even if you don't work in higher education, you're probably aware that most US universities are facing unprecedented challenges, and are, rightly, nervous about their future. The most immediate challenge, strained funding, has been well documented by the media since the recent recession. However, over the past year, a great deal of coverage has also been paid to disruptive models for delivering educational content. Many education experts predict that in the future, these new models will remove students from the traditional college track. This longer-term threat represents a huge concern for higher education administrators, as their approach to learning has been legitimately challenged by innovative solutions ready to meet the huge demand for quality educational content.

Posted Feb 08, 2013

Early adopters. We all like to pretend we're one of them. People love to be the first to discover something new: a new band, the latest cool app, the hottest social networking site. In the end though, not everyone can be on the edge of innovation.I always considered myself part of the early adopters group. I'm a "Digital Native" after all, shouldn't I, and my peers, be spearheading the search for the next big thing? I'm not so sure anymore...

Posted Feb 07, 2013

Zillow, Inc. is tackling home improvement with the launch of Zillow Digs, a free app available exclusively for iPad and as a web service. With Zillow Digs, home shoppers and homeowners can find visual inspiration and understand the potential cost of remodeling projects. Users can browse tens of thousands of photos and see Zillow's proprietary Digs Estimates for the estimated cost, based on where they live, of the actual bathrooms and kitchens they are viewing. They can create, save, and share Boards of ideas and d├ęcor, browse boards created by others, comment on photos, and follow people with similar interests.

Posted Feb 06, 2013

ICG Group, Inc. announced that one of its consolidated companies, Channel Intelligence, Inc. ("CI"), has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Google Inc. for $125 million in cash. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.

Posted Feb 06, 2013

Bookish a one-stop online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors, launched, providing visitors with exclusive content and insider access to A-list writers. With the backing of Hachette Book Group, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, as well as the participation of 16 other major publishers, including Random House, Inc., Scholastic, HarperCollins Publishers, and Perseus Books Group, Bookish will provide readers with original and exclusive content about books and writers, while also allowing users to conveniently browse, discover and purchase new reads without leaving the site.

Posted Feb 05, 2013

In a post on its website, Payvment announced that it will be joining a new company and shutting down its platform on February 28. The Payvment platform has been used by people selling goods on Facebook. Those people, according to the post, will have one month to transfer their account to Ecwid in order to continue selling on Facebook.

Posted Jan 28, 2013

They say the best things in life are free: love, health, happiness--and maybe even software. Indeed, completely gratis open source software (OSS) with no licensing strings attached is all the rage today, as evidenced by the popularity and proliferation of OSS products currently in use, including the Apache HTTP Server, Linux, Android operating systems, internet browser Mozilla Firefox, and ecommerce platform osCommerce.

Posted Jan 28, 2013

ProQuest, an information company central to global research, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ebook Library (EBL), which will expand its ebook delivery and aggregation capabilities with libraries worldwide. The acquisition will enable users to discover content across multiple formats including books, journals, dissertations, newspapers, and video. ProQuest acquired ebook pioneer ebrary in January 2011 and plans to combine the strongest features of ebrary and EBL into a single, comprehensive ebook platform once finalized.

Posted Jan 25, 2013

With a title like "Catalyst," Zak Greant of Magnolia International Ltd., the company that develops the Magnolia open source enterprise content management system, has a wide-ranging remit. "I focus on community strategy, community development and contributor development," says Greant. "At its core, community work is about people."

Posted Jan 25, 2013

Amazon.com, Inc. announced that it has acquired text-to-speech technology company IVONA Software. IVONA delivers the technologies that power the "Text-to-Speech," "Voice Guide" and "Explore by Touch" features on Kindle Fire tablets. Additionally, IVONA delivers text-to-speech products and services for thousands of developers, businesses and customers around the world.

Posted Jan 24, 2013

The Boston Globe's longstanding Newspaper In Education (NIE) program is launching a digital pilot program that is putting iPads - as well as digital subscriptions to BostonGlobe.com - into public school classrooms in Boston and Stoneham.

Posted Jan 24, 2013

There's a strong case to be made that 2012 was the year Twitter came of age. Founded in 2006, it was one of the earlier Silicon Valley social media Cinderella stories. It overcame a head-scratching premise-remember the days when 140 characters seemed like an impossibly short constraint in which to express oneself?-to become a ubiquitous global channel of information. Twitter is now a de rigueur component of the news media, celebrity entertainment, and even the American political discourse. Think Twitter town hall meetings.

Posted Jan 23, 2013

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