Category Archives: no paper

Is The Times Paywall Paying Off?

Just how good are the Times and the Sunday Times online figures? Here’s what’s on offer Online access at £1 for a single day or £2 for a week, £10 for a month using the iPad app, if you’re a weekly paper subscriber you get online access for free.

Going by the figures released, 100k users are already weekly paper subscribers that have signed up for the free online offer, with 105k additional users, 50k of which have an online subscription.

In all honesty you can ignore the first 100k as who wouldn’t take advantage of the online version when it’s free with your paper subscription. Of the remaining 105k only 50% of them are subscribers with the remainder buying daily access. They also state that their unique monthly visitors dropped from 21m before the pay wall to 2.7m last month. But what does 2.7m unique visitors actually mean?

After all there can only be a maximum of 205k unique visitors, as that’s the maximum paying customers, so let’s divide 2.7m / 30 days = 90k per day. Compare that to their height of 21m / 30 days and you get 700k per day

Advertisers would rather have 700k pairs of eyeballs a day compared to 90k, but I guess the Times would rather have loyal paying subscribers than be at the mercy of advertisers.

As to revenues, I’m making huge assumptions here, but allowing a 50% split of weekly subscribers and daily users, that’s £2x50k (subscribers) + £1x50k (daily) = £150k a week, so not much for an organisation the size of the Times, plus how that would stack up against advertising revenues for a site with 700k visitors is anyones guess

NookColor will it become the Netbook of eReaders

The rumours were correct Barnes and Noble just unveiled the NookColor, a 7′ 1024×600 coloured LCD touchscreen, Wifi (no 3G)… I won’t go into the full specs, there’s plenty of websites that have that covered.

So how successful will it be? only time will tell, but with the addition of their Nook Kids platform, which is due to have titles available in the next couple of weeks, a colored touchscreen Nook was essential. While there are numerous interactive childrens books available for the Apple AppStore with new ones appearing daily, parents are unlikely to handover their expensive iPads or iPhones to their kids for long, although an iPod Touch isn’t so heart stopping, so makes a popular alternative. It fits in the pocket, can be stuffed full of children’s music, films, TV shows and of course books, so great for long car journeys or days out.

With Amazon sticking to their mantra of, legibility and highest possible quality screen technology first and foremost, LCD is not an option, e-ink only for Kindles, no touchscreen layer either, plus 3G and 1 month battery (although I find mine lasts 16-17 days max).

So B&N are stepping into new territory, with a device that is a cross between an eReader and an iPad (and lets face it, everyone is going to make that comparison even if it is unfair). Could the NookColor fall into the same trap that the NetBook has, that middle ground where it’s useful, but it doesn’t excel at anything. It won’t have a battery life that is anywhere near a Kindle, it’s screen will be very difficult to read in bright sunlight and it doesn’t have 3G, so as an eReader it falls short of it’s main rival.

Then there’s the iPad, it won’t have anywhere near the same level of functionality, or the plethora of Apps, it does have a web browser, but it too won’t support flash, which would have been a major plus if it did. I know it’s unfair to compare it to the iPad, after all it’s half the size and half the price, but that’s what consumers and the market will do.

So the nookcolor to me is in a bit of a no mans land, although there’s nothing wrong with that, if they etch out a big enough niche that leads the way and shows other eReader manufacturers that there’s a demand for this type of device, then maybe it will excel, but it has a tough job on it’s hand… but who knows, maybe it will become the hardware of choice for Android hacks!

more info nookcolor

That’s Brevity With An i

Today, the publisher of the national newspaper The Independent launched a newspaper named “i”, retailing for a mere 20p (The Independent costs £1). This is the first national newspaper to launch in the UK in 24 years (the last being The Independent in 1986).

What’s interesting is how the marketing and PR reiterates that the i is a “concise, quality daily paper”, it’s also aimed squarely at lapsed readers, and readers in their 20′s. Readership of The Independent, and all newspapers for that matter have been in decline for years, with the % age of readers increasing. On paper (sorry couldn’t resist that) this is a good idea, as I don’t know anyone that could serious read everything that’s in a quality daily newspaper, they’re too big, they’re aimed at too broad a demographic, they’re expensive, and no one has time to read them from cover to cover. So the customer feels they’re not getting value for money, they’re paying too much for a bloated oversized daily of which they only read a small percentage.

The answer is to be more niche, but newspaper have a problem, they’re in the physical world, they’re made out of paper, so they’ll never be able to compete with niche blogs, websites or newsfeeds. It’s no longer a case of quality either, online material can be very high quality, it’s very current and up to date plus you can share it with others and expand the network to colleagues and friends at the touch of a button… another drawback of printed papers is that you can’t archive them (not in a practical way), online stories are always available, if you’ve missed a story develop you can quickly be brought up to spread by reading related articles and links. That would be a great thing for printed papers to emulate, start archiving their own back catalogues and offer them online, what a wealth of information they must be sitting on!

So will the i work? depends where and how, in London, with the Evening Standard (from the same publisher) becoming a free daily a year ago, it virtually wiped out the competition of free dailies, with the Metro being the only one that still has a large readership. So the i will be competing with it’s own free newspaper! Not to mention it’s big brother The Independent, which at £1 a pop, that 5 i readers!?!

Do those in their 20′s read newspapers anyway, ones they have to pay for that is… why would they, when they already get all the latest information they need online in an instant? I’m not so sure about this, I’m in my 40′s and I’ve never bought a newspaper in my life! I admit I’m a rarity in my demographic, but within the 20 something demographic, there’s a greater number that would go online before they’d purchase anything in print, especially as it suffers the same problem every printed newspaper has, it’s yesterday’s news!

I know I’m a little biased, I’m not that enamoured seeing another newspaper in print, but one possible saving grace, is if for every additional i reader there is one less Independent reader that will be a good thing, as the i is half the size of the Independent, so uses far less paper!

Practise What You Tweet

I read this article yesterday about Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, and how he rarely tweets, sure enough he only has 128 tweets! which was a little surprising, especially as he’s now head of product development… but as he says he uses Twitter for consumption not broadcasting… although he follows just 1,284 users, while he has 1,257,315 followers (that’s almost a 1,000 to 1 ratio).

As the post highlights, a lack of engagement or passion in another of Evan’s earlier startups Odeo, doomed it from day 1, even though he was able to source funding, he just didn’t appear compelled or interested enough in it to keep it going. I have no doubt Twitter will continue to thrive with or without Evan’s tweets, but it is interesting nonetheless.

To build a company you really have to believe in it and use it’s services. The same is true when building your brand, you have to live and breath your ethos. I posted a few days ago, that you have to be authentic, if you’re not, and you can’t convince yourself, how will you ever convince those you connect with or your customers!

I’m in the early stages of building and launching a new company named no paper onto the world, as the name implies, we don’t use paper. I live and breath this ideology, I only purchase eBooks, no paper books, I have Kindles, Sony eReaders, iPads, iPhones, laptops all choc full of eBooks. Our iPads and iPhones are our daily notebooks (FYI there’s a no paper iApp coming soon). We have a no paper office policy, no printer, no fax machines, no paper notepads in meetings or on people’s desks. Paper invoices are ignored and go unpaid until we receive an electronic version, we do not accept cheques only bank transfers for payment, most if not all business is handled electronically. That may sound draconian at first, but when you adhere to the rules not because you have to, but because you want to, you realise they weren’t rules, they were advice. Then a wonderful thing starts to happen, you become emotionally engaged in the ethos, it becomes visceral (more on that by Anne), you start putting forward your own suggestions, it’s no longer just part of your life, you become part of it. This harks back to the definition of leadership

At home I don’t send letters, birthday or xmas cards and my family and friends know not to send them to me either (I’d rather a phone call or text, costs less and I find it’s more engaging and personal), all my utilities, bills and bank statements are electronic or online, I’m converting all my old paper bank statements, utility bills, insurance records etc into electronic versions (and experimenting in the best way to reference and store them, again something we’re working on at no paper), I refuse to have junk mail and freebie newspapers pushed through my letterbox… I could go on, but you get the idea, I live and breath the brand values of my business… as the saying goes, “If you truly want to understand something, try changing it” but that also works in reverse, “If you truly want to change something, try understanding it!” the only way I can truly understand a life with no paper is to live one… if I can do it, then hopefully I can encourage others to do the same, then in turn they will encourage others.