Media Oxpecker: This is an Experiment

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy being exclusive.

  • Ahead of its IPO, Twitter is trying to pitch investors on the notion that it is where the conversation happens during live events like sports, breaking news, and popular TV shows. With recent experiments like @MagicRecs and @EventParrot, the company is betting on push notifications to bolster its case with investors (and advertisers), says BuzzFeed’s John Herrman:

    The concept applies cozily to TV, where a notification could both remind someone that a show is on or let them know that a lot of people are talking about an episode (this would, in theory, help Twitter’s somewhat tenuous pitch that it can actually increase TV viewership) …

    When Twitter was in user acquisition and retention mode, it built out a secondary service though email notifications. These notifications were intended to remind you that Twitter exists, and to follow more people. Now that Twitter is in IPO mode — live event and advertising mode — its goals have changed. What Twitter could create, and seems to be creating, is a live push notification infrastructure, centered around mobile devices, designed to bring Twitter’s users where they need to be, right when Twitter needs them.

    And in a deal with Comcast, tweets about some shows will soon have a link where users (if they are Comcast subscribers) can click to record or watch the show directly from whatever device they are using. Says Peter Kafka: “Twitter, which has been telling the TV business that it can deliver eyeballs to their programming, will now have a chance to prove it, by literally connecting its users with TV shows.”

  • Sports Illustrated is testing a paywall that gives readers early access to print articles if they watch a 30-second video ad, AdWeek reports:

    The SI experiment is modest for now; it has applied only on the desktop and to a range of SI stories, which typically are only immediately available to paying subscribers (magazine content becomes available for free online after the print issue goes off sale). Akin to the Hulu and YouTube ad swap model, viewers are offered a choice of ads to watch … the assumption being that if people get a choice of which ad to watch, they’re more likely to recall it and buy the product.

  • TPM editor Josh Marshall explains why the site removed itself from Flipboard, Google Currents, and other aggregators:

    There was an early period when lots of these services multiplied when publishers were dazzled by a lot of marketing flimflam from VC-backed intermediaries about reach, and brand and a lot of other stuff. But mainly this was about building network effects around apps or other virtual locations, based on getting free content from publishers whose heads were spinning because of all the changes in the digital economy.

    It all reminds me of the old yarn my dad used to tell me about the businessman who was losing money on every product he sold but figured he’d make it up in volume! At some point you have to get off the bubble-think of somehow, somewhere, some way and get down to actual tangible economics … You can’t eat ‘reach’ and we can’t pay salaries with ‘brand awareness’.

  • A new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists says that government officials are “afraid to talk to the press” as a result of the Obama Administration’s aggressive prosecution of leakers and widespread use of surveillance programs.
  • Ken Doctor on how the events business opens the door to integrated media selling for news organizations.
  • Google unveiled a new feature on its Product Listing Ads which allows users to see where the product is available locally.
  • Why news organizations shouldn’t write off tablet magazines.
  • And finally, in an ill-conceived attempt at “data journalism”, Patch sites across the country ran posts titled, “Where Do the Divorced Women Live in Town,” based on census data. Readers complained, and instead of apologizing,the company sent local editors talking points defending the posts: “In its totality, the series puts information about your town at your fingertips.” Ew.