Dex One to Distribute its Ad Content in the Citysearch network

Dex One Corporation (…) today announced a distribution agreement with Citysearch, an operating business of IAC. Dex One advertisers will now have the option to have their listings appear across CityGrid, the largest content and ad network for local, as well as DexKnows.com, Dex One’s popular online local search site.

via Dex One and Citysearch Partner to Feature DexKnows.com Advertiser Listings across CityGrid.

What it means: It makes complete sense strategically for Dex One to expand their product portfolio, leveraging their sales force to sell into Citysearch CityGrid network. On a related note, Dex One had signed a content agreement with Yelp about three weeks ago. In the future, we’ll see more and more of these reciprocal agreements featuring content aggregation and sales channel.

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Twitter is Both An Opportunity and a Threat to Media Companies

From an Op-Ed piece written by Roger Cohen in yesterday’s New York Times.

Twitter’s pitch is “Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world.” That’s what it does — up to a point. It’s many things, including a formidable alerting system for a breaking story; a means of organization; a monitor of global interest levels (Iran trended highest for weeks until Michael Jackson’s death) and of media performance; a bank of essential links; a rich archive; and a community (“Twitter is my best friend.”)

But is it journalism? No. In fact journalism in many ways is the antithesis of the “Here Comes Everybody” — Clay Shirky’s good phrase — deluge of raw material that new social media deliver. For journalism is distillation. It is a choice of material, whether in words or image, made in pursuit of presenting the truest and fairest, most vivid and complete representation of a situation.

What it means: Twitter is a tool. Asking if it’s “journalism” is not relevant. The real interesting question is: “Is Twitter a media in itself or a broadcast mechanism?”. The answer is obviously both, as you see people/companies on Twitter writing original material (albeit in 140-character format) or linking to original material. Which is why Twitter is both an opportunity and a threat to media companies. I think the danger for existing media companies is to see Twitter as a pure media and use it as such. For example, if you’re a content producing company or individual (journalist, blogger, etc.), any content you put on Twitter might slowly build your brand on Twitter but there’s no permanency to it (you don’t control that content, you can’t easily take it elsewhere if you get tired of Twitter, etc.). I don’t think your home base should be Twitter (or Facebook for that matter). It should be your own Web site, your blog, your own brand (or one of the “brands” under the umbrella brand of your current employer). I guess it takes a marketing guy to call journalists “brands”! 🙂  And it’s very difficult to fight the inertia of putting everything in your Twitter. It’s so easy! I’m guilty of putting/sharing a lot of interesting content on Twitter and that doesn’t build-up my personal and company brand on this blog. Ideally, you should publish in your site/blog/personal web page and broadcast to Twitter. I’d be interested to hear from my readers about tools they use to do that.

Chris Anderson: Charge for Niche Content, Not Popular Content

A recent speech by Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, discussed the free vs. paid content debate:

When he addressed how this is affecting media and whether or not traditional media organizations should charge for their content online, he draws a number of conclusions from what the Wall Street Journal is doing. The tension is not so much free versus paid, but free versus freemium. In one slide, Anderson comes up with the following rules for media companies trying to figure out how to make money online:

1. The best model is a mix of free and paid

2. You can’t charge for an exclusive that will be repeated elsewhere,

3. Don’t charge for the most popular content on your site,

4. Content behind a pay wall should appeal to niches, the narrower the niche the better

via Chris Anderson’s Counterintuitive Rules For Charging For Media Online.

What it means: interesting thoughts on what content media companies should charge for. Knowing what I know about online value creation, I believe it makes sense.

Analysis: "Pete Waterman: 'I was exploited by Google'"

“Pete Waterman: ‘I was exploited by Google'” via The Telegraph.

The 62-year-old said the Rick Astley classic Never Gonna Give You Up, which he co-wrote and which was the subject of a YouTube craze last year, had earned him just £11 from Google, despite being viewed 154 million times.

What it means: the phenomenon mentioned above is “rickrolling“. Even though the song had amazing exposure last year, its co-writer was paid only £11 ($US 16) for his work appearing in YouTube. Not sure Google made tons of money with it (they would have shared more with Waterman) but it certainly drove a lot of traffic to the site. I think Google is now experimenting with call-to-action overlays on YouTube music videos to convince consumers that are exposed to songs to buy them online. This might eventually benefit creators.

Analysis: "Pete Waterman: 'I was exploited by Google'"

“Pete Waterman: ‘I was exploited by Google'” via The Telegraph.

The 62-year-old said the Rick Astley classic Never Gonna Give You Up, which he co-wrote and which was the subject of a YouTube craze last year, had earned him just £11 from Google, despite being viewed 154 million times.

What it means: the phenomenon mentioned above is “rickrolling“. Even though the song had amazing exposure last year, its co-writer was paid only £11 ($US 16) for his work appearing in YouTube. Not sure Google made tons of money with it (they would have shared more with Waterman) but it certainly drove a lot of traffic to the site. I think Google is now experimenting with call-to-action overlays on YouTube music videos to convince consumers that are exposed to songs to buy them online. This might eventually benefit creators.

TV Content Atomization is the Biggest Threat to Cablecos

The Wired blog reports on a new customer satisfaction study from market researcher [praized subtype=”small” pid=”e70e73bc173c08791d52fb78fc51947def” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] explaining that Cablecos could soon see customer exodus if they don’t improve their customer service.

“Cable subscribers are generally less satisfied, which creates opportunities for satellite and telco/IPTV providers to grab customers,” said Kurt Scherf, vice president, principal analyst, Parks Associates, in a prepared statement. “Although cable operators have improved service efforts, cable operators will still hemorrhage subscribers unless they are perceived as offering leading-edge features at equal or better value. In today’s economic climate, carriers cannot afford to ignore these findings.”

What it means: I suspect the biggest threat to cable companies in the long run is not bad customer service.  It’s content atomization.  Initiatives like Hulu.com, internet broadcasting on TV networks web sites (I can watch full episodes of popular US series on CTV.ca) and BitTorrent allow anyone to watch their favorite TV shows anytime anywhere.  Compare this to cable packages, where you need to buy a minimum number of channels, some of which you never watch.  TV viewers will soon clamor for personalization and customization and will want to pay only for channels “consumed”.  Expect TV sets to come with Wi-Fi chips allowing you to connect your TV to your wireless router.

Content Producers: We Live in an Atomized World

(seen in Mediapost’s OnlineMediaDaily this morning)

In order to succeed in the long run, content producers must acknowledge the importance of blogs, portals, and aggregators in connecting with their audiences, according to a new JupiterResearch report, “Networked Media: Thriving In An Intermediated World.” The report points out, for example, that 57% of 18- to-24-year-old Internet users get their news from portals versus 21% from cable news sites–and online users now trust portals nearly as much as traditional news media.

“To thrive on the Web, news sites must become more network-focused and aggregate content from other sources while distributing their own content through intermediaries,” said David Schatsky, president of JupiterResearch. “By paying closer attention to the tendencies of the end user, these sites will be able to evolve and meet the needs of a wider online audience.” “Not only must content producers embrace intermediaries to serve their own audiences and reach out to new ones” explained JupiterResearch analyst Barry Parr, but “they should exploit opportunities to become intermediaries for their core audiences.”

What it means: I think the recommendation above applies to most (if not all) content producers. First, they need to become curators of content (aggregation within editorial guidelines) in addition to creators of content (dixit Ted Shelton). Second, as the web is much more fragmented than the offline world, it is critical to atomize the content to distribute it to other web sites to increase the total reach.