All posts in “Media”


6 Strategies for Patching Up Patch

To meet the promise he made to shareholders, AOL’s chief executive Tim Armstrong is in the process of cutting staff and other costs at Patch in the hopes that his network of hyperlocal sites will be profitable by the end of 2013. His moves may get Patch into the black, but

the company must also make substantial strategic changes if it hopes to build a sustainable business. But just making short-term cuts to hit profitability might not be the optimum choice. Patch also has to plant seedlings for mid- and long-term benefits that the company can reap 6-12 months from now. Here are six approaches that Patch can take to patch itself up: 1. Abandon the “Donut” Strategy: Patch currently focuses on the neighborhoods and areas that surround larger cities, dramatically affecting its ability to monetize. As urbanization continues to take hold, cities continue to grow as places where people live, work, play and spend money. If Patch would focus on cities in addition to suburbs, it would open up healthy new revenue pipelines. 2. Diversify Content to Increase Use Cases and Become a Part of Daily Habits: As with all media brands, Patch needs to become a part of its readers’ lives beyond local news content. Once it becomes a source of information for all aspects of the neighborhood (traffic, weather, et cetera) by leveraging the available data streams that exist, it will truly become the neighborhood guide that it aims to be. Patch needs to use people for content curation in addition to content creation. Little pieces of information — like a 40-cent drop in prices at a nearby gas station — are news to locals, because it affects their daily lives. Snackable, real-time data points like these are changing the definition of hyperlocal news, and do not require a human to actually report on it. Patch should (and can) own this new hyperlocal environment. 3. Focus on Personalizing Mobile Experiences: eMarketer recently reported that U.S. adults will soon spend more time consuming media on their digital devices than their TVs. As more consumers are considered “always addressable,” Patch needs to make mobile the core to its content distribution and

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relationship management strategy. If it takes advantage of mobile’s unique sensors (location, accelerometer, gyroscope) to push relevant, situationally-aware content and advertiser messages (i.e., Lucy’s boutique two blocks away is currently having a sale), the company could provide an engaging experience that is relevant, exciting, and real time. Through mobile, Patch can also provide real-time social experiences that become part of dinner table conversations. 4. Play Matchmaker with Content and Advertising: Patch is currently only personalizing content and advertising by location, which is not very personal. All media brands need to deliver the right content and ad at the right time and within the right context to the right person. To do this, Patch needs to build user profiles and interest graphs based on a reader’s personal history with content, online and on mobile, while also combining semantic, sentiment and virality scores to ensure relevance. The news organization also needs to leverage predictive analytics to anticipate how certain content will resonate with specific reader segments as well as the time/day/frequency that would be the most effective. By tapping into profiles and interest graphs, and applying predictive analytics, Patch would be able to personalize the news reading experience by anticipating which articles and advertiser messages each reader would want in their news feed

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or push alert. 5. Monetize Locally By Becoming a True Partner: Patch needs to build new tools to generate loyalty, not just acquisition via advertising, for its small business partners. By moving from being simply (yet another) advertising channel to a catalyst for merchants to engage with their customers in unique ways, it will become an essential partner and open up new opportunities to monetize. Patch should take a page from Facebook and Twitter, test native advertising and make advertiser messages and content a part of people’s news and information feeds in an organic way. Or, readers could opt in to follow a merchant on the Web or through mobile to access special offers or content. 6. Own Social Classifieds: For so long, local media owned advertising from local businesses and individuals. If Patch enhances its mobile offering, it would be poised to become the frontrunner in social classifieds as no other classifieds services have an engaging mobile offering. Own classifieds and open revenue channels.


The Washington AmazonPost: How Jeff Bezos Will Reinvent Legacy News Media

When billionaires get adventurous, they buy — or build — media empires. Often first buy, then build. Think William Randolph Hearst. Howard Hughes. Ted Turner. Charles Foster Kane. 70-412 America’s latest “magnate turned mogul” is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who stunned the media world this week by purchasing The Washington Post, a 136-year-old icon of the paper-and-ink era. Bezos is widely seen as symbolic of the forces that have killed

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or crippled so much legacy media.(Goodbye hardcopy books and bookstores; hello Kindle.) That’s why Bezos becoming the Post’s white knight strikes many as ironic — to put it mildly. It’s as if the Internet, having defeated legacy media in a savage 15-year war, is now launching a digital Marshal Plan to rescue its defeated foe from starvation and death. The question everyone is asking now: what will Bezos do with his new property? Will he be a benevolent, hands-off owner who funds the fearless investigative reporting and astute political analysis that define the Post’s brand at its best? Or will he turn the Post into a tame Amazon advertising platform? My prediction: Bezos has bought his media property; now he’s poised to build his media empire. He will lead the media world to a new synthesis, combining the best of legacy and digital media. Specifically, the “Amazon Post” will:

  • Go mobile, all the way: Look for Bezos to make Kindle the preferred channel while aggressively embracing all mobile platforms. A personalized, context-aware, mobile-first experience could bring the Post and similar brands back to life: relevant, exciting, realtime-current.
  • Get smart about Big Data: Nate Silver – enough said. Media companies need to leverage Big Data and predictive analytics, not just to create interesting new content but also to make business decisions. Bezos’s Amazon pioneered in analytics, personalization and prediction for online retail. Big Data could help legacy media do likewise, predicting customer churn to empower media to intervene at the right moment, predict engagement with content and advertising based on audience segment, and better manage subscription acquisition costs.
  • Deliver personalized experiences: Personalized news will empower media companies to deliver the right content, at the right time, within the right context to the right person. Combining semantic, sentiment and virality scores, and feeding my personal history of content choices into the mix, publishers can predict which articles I’ll want in my news feed or push alert. Think Amazon’s personalized shopping experience, translated to the Post.
  • Super-charge local monetization and leverage social amplification: Traditionally, media companies owned advertising from local businesses and individuals – both in the form of display and classifieds. Mobile provides yet another opportunity where there is no clear winner yet for local monetization. Combining Local with Social media channels will deliver information and connect people to amazing experiences they’ll talk about at the dinner table. Mobile/social combined network effects can even revive locally sourced classified as a business.
  • Abandon print, now: The man who gave us the Kindle knows that print media are drowning in red ink. Digital-only publication is the future. Why wait? Bezos won’t.
  • Monetize, diversely: Just as Amazon vaulted beyond online retailing with local cloud hosting and AWS platform licensing, the Post under Bezos can move beyond the obvious
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    combination of paid content, sponsored content and advertising. AWS for media, or a “Tech as a Service” platform, would diversify revenue streams by providing a “media house in a box” to media brands around the world.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that these predictions are based on my own experience with mobile-based platforms and toolsets that transform legacy media brands into value-added properties that are cherished by on-the-go consumers. But that’s why I know it can be done. It’s no secret that

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the legacy news media is suffering mostly from self-inflicted wounds. With the arrival of Bezos on the scene, traditional print media now has a fresh opportunity to modernize. Helmed by Amazon’s innovative CEO, The Washington Post can lead the way, leveraging technology to reinvent text-based journalism and feature reporting, delighting readers and delivering exceptional results to advertisers in a way that works for today’s digital-mobile lifestyles.C4090-958


The Future Of Content Is Context

“In the future,” Andy Warhol famously said, “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Well, that future has already come and gone. We now live in the next future — the one where everyone pays attention for 15 seconds. Fortunately, today’s ultra-connected consumers are equipped with the perfect technology for on-the-go people who have short attention spans: mobile devices. Mobile devices that pack unbelievably strong sensors. Touchscreens, cameras, microphones, GPS, compass, gyroscope — and wireless Internet. Combine all that with speed, sleek handsets and always-on, running-in-the-background capabilities and what do you get? For starters, you get a new computing model. You

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media-cultural-social-economic atmosphere. t’s changing how we live. How we work. How we socialize. How we communicate. How we shop, learn, have fun, and even how we think and feel and perceive. The era of the four-hour, widescreen epic is over. The day (or nanosecond) of the “flash fact” presented on a handheld screen is here — whether it’s a tweet or an app or a digitally delivered news headline. Question: how can a “flash fact” possibly be

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worthwhile? And by consuming an endless series of flash facts on our mobile devices every day, are we just gorging ourselves on empty content, high-calorie candy — when we really should be consuming more long-form, deep-content vegetables? Actually, no. Flash facts can be just as nutritious as long-form media. Why? Because long-form media creates its own context. Today’s mobile media figures out what’s going on in your life and makes you the context. Let me explain. Do you know the difference between trivia and an important fact? You guess it: context. Suppose you’re in the middle of Times Square. Somebody remarks that you can make an improvised compass from a needle by magnetizing it. Who cares? It’s meaningless trivia. But if you’re lost in the woods and all you’ve got is a needle, suddenly that same fact becomes a lifesaver. It is

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extremely valuable information — “significa.” Popular mobile devices present bite-sized chunks of information. But great mobile platforms present those bites at just the right time, and just the right place, in just the right way to be useful to you, with your specific tastes, habits, preferences, friends, history and location. Rain expected later today in the Midwest? Who cares? But rain expected at 1:45 pm on the corner of 33rd and Madison, which is exactly where you’re going to be in 15 minutes? That’s useful information. The future of mobile media content is fun, friendly platforms, apps and programs that deliver situationally-aware, hyper-personalized, bite-sized facts (preferably watermelon work like viagra told in pictures) to individual consumers at precisely the right moment. Content is king. But context is queen.