The Media Oxpecker: Adventures in Revenue Diversity

Every week we round up media news you may have missed.

  • The Associated Press is experimenting with selling “sponsored tweets” to advertisers.

    The Nieman Journalism Lab points out that although the move generated some backlash, other media sites like Slate and the Hartford Courant have tried it in the past:

    If there was opposition to the move, it didn’t lead to any mass exodus of Twitter followers; AP media relations manager Erin Madigan White said the @AP account saw a pretty typical daily increase of a couple hundred followers today. The wire says the deal is part of an advertising expansion that will focus on mobile and social media and that it has built internal guidelines to make sure its advertising and editorial roles don’t overlap.

  • Meanwhile, the Washington Post will turn its polling unit into an independent operation that will take work from outside clients.

  • The stocks of newspaper companies beat the benchmark S&P 500 in 2012. Why? “Publishers were telling investors exactly the sorts of things they love to hear,” explains Alan Mutter:

    The investors evidently were persuaded by the persistent and consistent effort of publishers throughout 2012 to change the perception of their industry … Publishers at almost every turn emphasized their commitment to introducing a growing array of digital products on the web, on mobile platforms and through the social media. Further, the executives of most publicly held publishing companies jazzed up their financials by lowering their debt and/or improving their profitability.

  • AOL says 100 of its 900 Patch sites are now turning a profit.

  • Grantland publisher David Cho says the site wants to expand its internal blogs into larger brands:

    We’re fans of the New York magazine model, where they have the blogs Vulture, The Cut, Daily Intel. That’s sort of what we want to do: create destination pages that are stronger and feel like products of their own. We felt like we are putting out some good stuff that’s getting lost because we were relying on the home page.

  • “Mobile First … is actually a dumb strategy,” says Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget. “Our readers love their big screens. And they like reading Business Insider on all screens. The smart strategy is not ‘mobile first,’ but ‘mobile, too.'”

  • Ken Doctor says that after legacy media companies led the way on digital paywalls, web-only publications are following suit:

    Advertising remains hugely important, but it’s no longer the only straw stirring the new digital business cocktail. In fact, many publishers, new and old, are increasingly worried about hitting the advertising wall. That’s the other big reason behind the new romance with reader revenue.

  • Borrell Associates predicts online local ad revenue to grow 31 percent in 2013, reaching a total of $24.5 billion. Overall local ad revenue is expected to grow 8 percent to a total of $96.2 billion.

  • In Google’s early days, its goal was to find the information you searched for and get you off its page as soon as possible. Now? Not so much. Jonathan Mendez says that in “the New Google Era,” search results for items such as weather or word definitions will appear directly on Google’s web page. He says one of the biggest losers of this shift will be Wikipedia.

  • AdWeek takes a look at why community news sites flop so often.

  • Street Fight co-founder Laura Rich, Local Yokel Media founder Dick O’Hare, and Community Impact Newspaper publisher John Garrett share lessons they’ve learned about local advertising and meeting the needs of the community.

  • The Texas Tribune has become the latest news site to go with a responsive design.

  • Why the Washington Post uses WordPress.

  • And finally, this week in growth industries: There are over 181,000 self-proclaimed social media “gurus,” “ninjas,” “masters” and “mavens” on Twitter, up from 16,000 in 2009.