Friday, January 29, 2010

Birnbach Communications Issues Top Media Trends for 2010

Each year, Birnbach Communications compiles an annual list of media trends for its clients. These trends help our clients work more effectively with the media, both at traditional and online outlets, including blogs and social networking sites.

Over the next week, we will post key predictions about the media for 2010.

Please let us know what you think. Did we get them right? Are we off base?

We'll also report on how we did with our last year's predictions.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Small Business May be the Engine of the US Economy But Not According to Bloomberg & Time Warner

First casualty of 2010: the demise of BusinessWeek SmallBiz. According to a post card, SmallBiz's last issue was Dec. 09/Jan. 2010. This development follows closely the demise of Fortune Small Business (FSB).

Survivors include Inc. and Entrepreneur.

It's been commonly acknowledged that small business is the engine of the US economy. But not enough advertisers seem to believe that. Clearly there's not enough support for standalone publications directed at small businesses, at least according to billion-dollar publishers Time Warner and Bloomberg.

Of course, both Fortune and Bloomberg BusinessWeek said they will continue to maintain their respective small business web sites and will now integrate small business coverage into their main print publications. That means there will be less content for and about small business. What was particularly helpful about FSB and BusinessWeek SmallBiz is that they provided service journalism: articles that not only reported on current trends (which will likely continue) but also how-to articles, and it's the latter type of article that won't be included in Fortune and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

That's a shame because small business owners are time starved but craving information geared just for them. The daily papers can't cover small businesses too closely; the Wall St. Journal and New York Times allocate a page -- about a story or two -- each week.

Of course, there's still Inc. & Entrepreneur. I hope they can pick up the advertising dollars left on the table after the demise of their competitors.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Even as Print Newspapers are in Trouble, Newspapers Contniue to Set the Agenda

Everyone knows newspapers are in trouble. Advertising has dried up. Readership has declined. Papers have cut circulation, laid off reporters and editorial staff.

Yet there's interesting news about the impact of newspapers.

They still set the agenda for news cycles.

According to a New York Times article, "Study Finds That Papers Lead in Providing New Information": "Looking at six major story lines that developed over one week last July, 83 percent of the reports in local news media “were essentially repetitive, conveying no new information,” said the study, by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an arm of the Pew Research Center."

Most of the new or original reporting came from reporters at newspapers, despite the increase in the number of news outlets available online.

Presumably, most of the rest of the coverage consisted of repetition and commentary, not new reporting.

That's going to be a problem as it seems likely to be more editorial layoffs in the short-term. With fewer reporters and fewer resources, there will be less new reporting even as the echo chamber gets louder.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Does the Times Proclaiming "Why Twitter Will Endure" Mean We're in a Twitter Bubble?

I worry when I see articles like the one by NYT's media critic David Carr.

Carr is a smart reporter, understands technology, and is a Twitter user (@carr2n). But my concern is that an article like "Why Twitter Will Endure" may mean we're officially in a Twitter bubble.

Going mainstream is not a bad thing, and Twitter is not like some underground band that's selling out, and will lose its cred.

But don't forget: Twitter still hasn't figured out its business model. And there are lots of companies offering free services in the Twitter eco-system that have not figured out how to monetize Twitter or their own services yet, either.

When clients ask if Twitter is the equivalent to CB Radio in the 70s, I tell them no -- for many reasons, includnig some Carr cites, and including the fact that you don't need specialized equipment, just Internet access and a keyboard.

But somehow someone's got to monetize it or the platform won't be able to endure; it'll just move on to the next thing, much the way Friendster flamed out and was overtaken by MySpace, which seems to have been overtaken by Facebook.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Has Print Advertising Started to Recover? And what does that mean for PR?

According to the Wall St. Journal, "Ad Influx Brightens Hopes For Newspapers, Magazines," some print magazines are posting small increases in their advertising pages for March (I know, it's only Jan., but magazines issues are often working three months ahead).

That's good news, even if we're takling about a 3% increase over last year. Which still represents a significant decrease from a couple years back.

Which is to say: a long way back from being called robust.

Yet, every increase in advertising pages could be good news for PR functions since there's traditionally every additional ad page increase includes an additional page of editorial. That means more opportunity for PR functions.

Ok, that may be only a 3% increase in March, but that's better news than what we saw for all of 2009.

Here's to a better year!