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october 07, 2007:
the economics of content: all the news that’s fit to click

The New York Times (NYT) makes a great case study for how one can turn reputation and top-level content into new cash. It recently launched a new PR campaign entitled “All the News That’s Fit to Click.” Now imagine a major record company launching a campaign called “all the music that’s fit to play” and making free streaming available, supported by ads and upstream selling. That would go in the right direction. Pull, not push. Stay relevant. Stay engaged. Sell access. My favorite quote from the NYT:

“We have developed this campaign to make readers aware of the wealth of content and tools available on NYTimes.com,” said Murray Gaylord, vice president of marketing, NYTimes.com. “Our core audience – affluent, educated, and curious – demands their news and information in a variety of formats, and we are committed to meeting, and exceeding, their expectations. This campaign illustrates all the different ways we do that.”

Wouldn’t it be great to have a similar quote from the heads of WMG, UMG, or whateverMG: “Our core audience demands their music in a wide variety of ways, anytime, anywhere, and we are committed to actually giving it to them.” Remember: The NYT tried charging for access, limited RSS feeds leading to subscribed content, and closing off its archives – and it did not work if compared to what could have come out of a different approach. CBS Market Watch has another good quote:

“The whole marketing campaign stems from how people don’t think of us only as an online newspaper,” Schiller said. “You don’t know what’s going to stick. Slide shows have taken off like a rocket, accounting for 10% of our page views in August. Our strategy is to unleash the creativity of our journalists to tell their stories and build communities around areas of interest.” To flourish online, Schiller stressed, the Times doesn’t intend merely to fall back on its world-class reputation. “You can’t just say, ‘Come and get it’ any more,” she said, leaning forward for emphasis. “You’ve got to push your content out. You’ve got to skate where the puck is going.”

Music guys: When will you get it?