Friday, July 23, 2010
From yesterday's New York Times story about its parent company's 2Q earnings report, this paragraph screamed out for attention, as well it should.
"Digital advertising revenue grew 21 percent, while the decline of print revenue slowed to 6 percent, leaving the company’s overall advertising revenue essentially flat. As a result, online advertising became a larger share of the company’s overall advertising revenue, climbing to 26 percent of the company’s total advertising take."
That number is quite the revelation, given the conventional wisdom that online ads typically accounted for only 10 percent of revenue. That may still be the case elsewhere, but the Times has shown it's possible to move off that number in a meaningful way.
Of course, that's significant when circulation for the print editions continue their swoon, even if the actual total number of readers when you figure in digital is actually quite robust. Hopefully, that can translate into publishers not getting the itchy finger to slash away at budgets for the core product, thereby leaving little to read for the online edition. Too many newspapers have tragically forgot that part of the equation, which is all the more annoying when they want to impose some kind of pay wall. First, they cut staff and content, while raising newsstand prices. Then they want to charge for access to a website with a desiccated product.
That the glue to fix the broken newspaper business model may finally be found in cyberspace is a big deal. The Times has shown that a good website--in other words, a distinct product that's more than just a slick repackaging of the newspaper--is not only a good idea, but it makes good business sense. Finally.
Monday, July 19, 2010
It looked like we'd be leaving Patty Hewes for good on the pier outside her house in the Hamptons at the end of the third season of "Damages."
The show was critically lauded, gushed over by the brass at FX, but it just wasn't getting enough love with the Nielsen families. Too bad, they didn't know what they were missing.
As delectably played by Glenn Close, the ruthless--to put it charitably--lawyer Patty Hewes had enough issues to have kept Freud and Jung working overtime. She knew how to bring adversaries to their knees, but her personal life was a royal mess, one that she often made. It made for great TV. And Emmy nominations.
The season just concluded was arguably the best of the three. A big reason for that was the startling but fully satisfying casting of Martin Short as a scumbag lawyer for a family whose scion made Bernie Madoff look like a striver. Short got an Emmy nomination for his troubles, along with Close and Rose Byrne, right, whose Ellen Parsons was alternately Patty's, mentee, confidant, nemesis and would-be murder victim.
"Damages" has always been good like that. Darrell Hammond, of all people, played a hitman in season 2, while Lily Tomlin had a prominent role this year. Throw in the likes of Ted Danson, Zjelko Ivanek, Keith Carradine, and Michael Nouri, among others wending their way through keep-you-guessing-till-the-end plotlines, and you have a most-satisfying hour of TV.
Granted, there are graphics, sidebars, links, refers and other stuff of 21st-century newspaperdom. And I've committed to reading it. Honest. If the Post can spend two years putting together this mastodon-sized piece of Pulitzer bait, then it behooves me to see what they can do.