Tag Archives: ClickZ

Nokia’s Life Tools and 175+ Countries

Last month elsewhere, I wrote about the importance of providing services to mobile phones as the basis for any newspaper’s future services. I’m involved in a project in a small South Africa city in which mobile will be the key (the story at that hyperlink describes it).

I’d written, rather bluntly, that I don’t particularly care what online business model saves The New York Times or The Daily Telegraph or National Post or Le Monde. Those national publications’ journalism certainly is worth saving, but national publications are atypical. What’s really needed is a business model that can save much smaller daily newspapers, those with less than 100,000 circulation. Those comprise more than 95 percent of the world’s newspapers.

I today spent quite a bit of the day examining Nokia’s Life Tools project. On Sunday, CIO magazine published a brief article outlining the project. It notes:

Life Tools includes a range of services aimed at rural mobile users in emerging markets, where agriculture remains a mainstay of local economies.

Agriculture-related offerings on Life Tools include local weather forecasts, information on crop prices at local markets, advice on growing crops, as well as pricing information for pesticides, seeds and fertilizer. Educational services include English lessons and advice on taking exams, while sports scores and music are available for entertainment.

While agriculture-related services might not be attractive to small newspapers in post-industrial countries, such services are very important in more than 170 other countries worldwide, countries where most of the world’s population lives.


Moreover, what I’ve been discovering over the past several years is that newspapers need to develop their mobile phone services the opposite way that newspapers developed services in their printed editions.

Newspapers have been printed for more than 400 years. The original newspapers printed only news (hence the name newspapers), but over the centuries other information was added: advertising, scores calendars of events, cartoons, stock prices, dining & entertainment listings, horoscopes, etc.

Today, however, newspapers that use mobile phones only to offer news won’t gain very many mobile users. But if they instead offer mobile services providing dining & entertainment listings, horoscopes, calendars of events, services that match consumers and local merchants, etc., those newspapers’ mobile services will then have enough usage to be profitably able to provide news.


Beer Is The Better Investment Than U.S. Newspaper Companies


(Kegs photo by Jeramey Jannene via Flickr. No endorsement by him of this posting is implied.)

Do the executives who manage America’s major daily newspaper publishing companies think they know what they’re doing? They’ll assure you the answer is yes. But how obvious does the evidence have to be before even they have to admit that the answer obviously is no?

My biweekly column at the ClickZ.com online marketing site provides sobering examples. Three years ago, if you had purchased $10,000 worth of beer and then got drunk each day ever since, the value of the deposits on the beer kegs would have given you a better Return on Investment than if you had investment that $10,000 in almost any U.S. newspaper company. Moreover, you’d have plenty of beer left and would have had a much better time!

Indeed, using today’s stock prices for those companies, buying beer and getting drunk night would on average have given you a ROI three times better.

Even worse, if you had invested in the McClatchy company, beer instead would have given a seven-times better ROI. Beer yielded a 12-times better ROI than the Journal Register Company. And beer toasted a 41 times better ROI than an investment Gatehouse Media. The executives of those companies are losing advertising, losing circulation, and losing the financial community’s confidence. The executives can hardly make a case for being financially sober. In their cases, the ’empties’ aren’t the beer kegs.

What does it take to spotlight that these companies’ managements aren’t on the right tracks. What examples do I have to tap?

I'm Signing Off ClickZ

During the past 30 months for JupiterMedia’s ClickZ online marketing information site, I’ve written 39 columns about charging for online content. Writing them has been fun. The $100 honorarium JupiterMedia has paid me for each has bought some nice dinners. But I’ll no longer be writing more columns for JupiterMedia (my last column was earlier this month, about the New England Journal of Medicine).

I’ll be writing new columns, but for this site. I’ve retained rights to the 39 columns at ClickZ and will soon integrate those into this site.

Paid Online Content Publishing: The Long View, Part 1

ClickZ.com today published the first of a two-part article I’ve written about the future of paid content. During the past two years at that site, I’ve written 36 columns about free-to-fee publishing, but none until now about what I firmly think the future for publishing, broadcasting, advertising, and paid content will be by 2014.

ClickZ restricts these columns to about 1,000 words each, so I’ve had to write that topic across two columns, this month and next. This month’s column frames the major change occuring in media; next month’s, which will be published on September 8th, will describe the world of online paid content in 2014. I apologize that these columns won’t – due to that wordage limit – be very detailed. I’ll write a more detailed version elsewhere later this year. — Vin Crosbie