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Asociación Técnica de Diarios Latinoamericanos
Boletín Semanal Octubre 8, 2017

Los diarios son oasis informativos dentro del vertiginoso ruido de la era digital

La comida de clausura del encuentro anual de Adepa contó con la presencia del juez de la Corte Suprema Horacio Rosatti y el gobernador de Santa Fe, Miguel Lifschitz. Además, se hizo un reconocimiento especial a Guillermo Ignacio, al cumplirse tres décadas de su primera presidencia en la institución representativa de los medios de todo el país.

La importancia de la Constitución Nacional y la prensa como valores fundamentales, constitutivos y protagónicos en la construcción y consolidación de la nación argentina, fueron el centro de los discursos durante la comida de clausura de la 55ª Asamblea anual de la Asociación de Entidades Periodísticas Argentinas (Adepa), que se realizó anoche en Santa Fe.

El presidente de Adepa, Daniel Dessein, comenzó su mensaje citando a Juan Bautista Alberdi, “el arquitecto de la extraordinaria construcción jurídica de la Constitución Nacional argentina”, que se erigió en Santa Fe hace 164 años. “Alberdi le otorgaba un carácter protagónico a la prensa en la génesis del orden republicano argentino. Un papel completamente opuesto al que le adjudicarían, más cerca en el tiempo, los más altos funcionarios nacionales de la gestión que concluyó en 2015”.

“Los diarios, a pesar de los innumerables certificados de defunción que se les expidieron, siguen de pie, como nuestra Constitución”, señaló Dessein. “De allí surge la mayoría de los contenidos periodísticos que circulan en nuestras sociedades”, agregó.

El presidente de Adepa, que fue reelegido para ese cargo durante la Asamblea de Santa Fe, también reflexionó sobre el impacto del actual proceso de transformación del ecosistema informativo a nivel global. “Los diarios ofrecen hoy uno de los pocos oasis dentro del vertiginoso ruido de la era digital. En la web nos orientan en medio del extravío y el vértigo provocado por las usinas de noticias falsas, las cadenas de rumores, los panfletos militantes y los propaladores de noticias deseados”, enfatizó.

Vittori también apuntó al valor que tanto Adepa como El Litoral le dan a la educación, y al rol que los medios informativos tienen en la formación de ciudadanía. “La educación es la piedra angular de una sociedad”, señaló.
En su discurso, el miembro de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación, Dr. Horacio Rosatti, hizo hincapié en el valor social de la defensa de la libertad de expresión, una de las piedras angulares de la Constitución y de la tarea que emprende Adepa desde su fundación en 1962. “La libertad de expresión es el fundamento que permite entender la conquista de otras libertades”, señaló.

“Los diarios, a pesar de los innumerables certificados de defunción que se les expidieron, siguen de pie, como nuestra Constitución”, señaló Dessein. “De allí surge la mayoría de los contenidos periodísticos que circulan en nuestras sociedades”, agregó.

El contenido pagado afecta mas que la estrategia digital

It cannot be an easy time for editors to navigate the myriad of challenges facing their newsrooms today. What is my editorial strategy for distributed content? How do we ramp up video? Are we mobile-first yet? How do we cleverly leverage and utilise the right data? And increasingly, paid content strategies are forcing newsrooms to rethink their entire editorial strategy. 

WAN-IFRA Global Advisory consultant Steffen Damborg, formerly Digital Director and Chief Development Officer at JP/Politikens Hus in Denmark, focuses much of his research and energy on the larger topic of digital transformation for media organisations. We talked to him about some of the newsroom questions troubling editors.

WAN-IFRA: In the newsrooms that you visit or editors you have spoken with, what are some of the major burning issues they are debating today?
Steffen Damborg: The topics vary a great deal. But the more mature the newspaper market, the more focus there is on digital paid content business models. And we often discuss how to re-invent the business model online – paid content version 2.0, so to speak.

Most western media have gone from a print-only bundling business model to a mixed online and print business model where the print business still delivers most of the revenues and earnings.

The more unbundled online offering has gone from advertisement-based to a mixed model charging for content. In the paid digital content 1.0 era, most publishers chose between the metered and the freemium model.
What we see now are more complex models mixing metering and freemium, niche verticals, and newsletter businesses extending the brand and harvesting more intensively in the segments of the most loyal readers/users.

Most publishers are now aware that more frequent online users show more willingness to pay for content consumption. Hence, you should meet the demand of this particularly loyal audience segment and stop chasing random clicks from social fly-bys.

"It is really the time to revisit paid content. The rethinking of the revenue strategy online is a huge topic for WAN-IFRA." – Steffen Damborg
We're constantly observing current trends, results, and benchmarks regarding online paid content business models with a special focus on digital subscriptions.
Increasingly, the discussion leads to such topics as AI, naturally big data, and machine learning algorithms and how they might play a role in newsrooms. Will man or machine do the writing, curation, and space management in the long run?

Where would the issue of “Doing more with less” rank in their priority agendas or challenges, and why? Or is it more about “Doing better with less”?
We see a great shift focusing more on quality and less on quantity when looking at the publisher that is really focusing on paid content strategies.
As newsrooms become more market-driven, customer-focused and metrics-centric, it becomes evident that high-quality journalism, which is closest to an individual publisher’s DNA, converts the most paying online customers and maximises the net promoter score or equivalent measures of customer satisfaction.

For those newsrooms that have indeed implemented a decent paid-content strategy, what are some of the discernible ways that has affected, not just their content strategy, but also their workflow and organisation?
Going from free to paid online makes a huge difference. Adding the reader revenue stream to the business model increases the ROI on the high-quality content units since they are converting free users to paying customers, and at the same time increasing the subscribers’ retention rate.

"With the change of business models, we have seen a shift from the more silo-based separation of print and online news orgs into an integrated newsroom where free vs. paid content (at least for the publishers going with the freemium model) seems to define the roles." – Steffen Damborg

On the rise we see roles such as Head of Content, Head of Premium Content, Head of Editorial Development, Head of Editorial Marketing emerging…
These new roles signal a change from a product-oriented newsroom organisation to a more market-driven content orientation.

Also, we see changes in the space management of the webpage, A/B testing stories and headlines, conversion rates of news stories effecting the traditional prioritisations of content in the newsroom, and a shift from page impressions and clicks to more refined engagement measures.

We are seeing more deliberate planning on how to maximise reach and audience interaction with the most important news stories throughout the day and week on various platforms, using different formats and even different story angles. (Editor's note: see also our blog post "How newsrooms can apply big data.")

Has the re-engineering of newsrooms around paid content taken on the scale of what may have happened around social, video or mobile? 
Actually, the changes are not as visible as they were introducing social and video specialists in the newsroom.
I think this is partly because the paid dailies have always produced paid content. This is at the core of the news­paper business. 

So what we see is more the print newsroom taking over from the web journalist producing the premium content – but in a coordinated effort with editors, researchers, multimedia producers and video journalists.
This is particularly visible for European publishers choosing mostly the premium model. Here, you often see light news and breaking news mixed with paywalled premium content on the homepage.

How has it introduced or changed newsroom/journalist KPIs?
Because of new digital business models and KPIs, we have seen great changes in the newsroom. In the old days, a newspaper was produced and prioritised according to the news criteria and the gut feeling of a group of senior editors.
"Nowadays, we see a set of competing criteria based on metrics blended in to the newsroom process. This alters the newsworthiness of each story." – Steffen Damborg

And hence, again we are seeing changes in the space management of the webpage based on the A/B testing of stories and headlines, conversion rates of news stories and longer formats – these are all effecting the traditional prioritisations of content in the newsroom.

By the same token, we see a shift from page impressions (PI) and clicks (CTR) to more refined engagement measures involving parameters such as, for instance, scroll depth, social sharing rate, comment rate, opt-in rate for newsletters and free trials.

How cross-departmental has some of this planning and execution developed around paid content?
This is a very sensitive question. Today you see publishers at both ends of the continuum, from watertight bulkheads between commercial and editorial departments at the one end to commercial departments having the ultimate say at the other end.

Most classic news outlets are defending the autonomy of the newsroom, whereas you see digital newcomers testing boundaries more often. Between those two extremes, we see a lot of good examples of how increased interdepartmental cooperation can really push the news outlet forward and accelerate the digital transformation needed.

In the newsroom, what are some of the challenges around technology today, in terms of embracing/ integrating analytics into everyday reporting/ business? It would seem essential, of course, when working on a paid content strategy…

As I mentioned before, we now see publishers working with big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in their quest to maximise paid-content revenues. But if you let your algorithms decide what your readers shall digest, obviously it comes with a risk.

As with clickbait mania, the risk of killing the creative and innovative processes in the newsroom is present. There are numerous consumer behaviour studies stressing that willingness to pay for editorial content goes hand in hand with the news outlet’s ability to present content that continuously gives the news consumer unexpected delight.

"People paying for content have high expectations. People value the creative story they did not expect and that exceeds their anticipated satisfaction consuming the product." – Steffen Damborg
If we just give the customers more of the kind of content that converted free readers yesterday, we jeopardise the core DNA of the newsroom and the offering it produces and what customers are willing to pay for.
That is good news for all talented people working in newsrooms. Also in the future, there will be a high demand for talent delivering extraordinary content across platforms using the classic journalist skillset in combination with the editorial toolbox at hand in today’s digital publishing environment.

What level of sophistication have newsrooms reached in terms of practically utilising useful data to shape their editorial strategy, particularly on the paid-content side?
Some of the largest publishing groups have a high degree of sophistication in their usage of data to convert free users to subscribers. But most newsrooms are still using pageviews and clicks as central metrics for editorial performance. 
We need to build more refined measures for audience engagement and start using machine learning algorithms to optimise conversion, upsell and retention. There is still a huge potential waiting to be harvested.

Siete claves para que tu medio digital sea sostenible

Tal como dijo James Breiner en un artículo anterior, Punto de Inflexión, el estudio llevado adelante por Sembramedia tras haber estudiado a 100 medios de Argentina, Brasil, Colombia y México, ofrece claves para que los proyectos periodísticos digitales de la región puedan alcanzar el objetivo de ser sostenibles.

Mijal Iastrebner, co-fundadora y directora de esta organización sin fines de lucro, compartió algunas conclusiones de este informe durante una actividad realizada en Montevideo llamada “El camino es la recompensa: tendencias en emprendimientos periodísticos digitales en Uruguay y la región”, organizada por Sembramedia y Google News Lab.
A continuación, compartimos las claves que presentó Iastrebner durante el evento:

Diversificar las fuentes de ingresos
 “Es clave y les da a autonomía a los medios”, dijo Iastrebner. Según el estudio, los emprendimientos online que tienen más posibilidades de volverse sustentables y rentables son los que optaron por múltiples formas de obtener ingresos. Iastrebner contó que cuando el medio argentino de fact-checking Chequeado comenzó a sindicar su contenido y a venderle sus columnas a los medios, buscó colocar sus trabajos en medios de tendencias opuestas, ya que “de esa manera, no solo mantenía su credibilidad, sino que aumentaba sus ingresos, porque había vendido dos columnas en lugar de una”. Por eso, para aquellos medios que tienen “miedo” de quedar muy emparentados con un punto de vista editorial, esto es una buena alternativa. La directora de Sembramedia explicó que “cuanto más diversificados [están los ingresos], menos dependientes van a ser los medios de una línea editorial o de intereses comerciales de otros”.

Contar bien tu historia
“Si tu audiencia no sabe quién eres es muy difícil que te financien, que te den confianza y que te apoyen”, dijo Iastrebner. Durante su exposición, ella ilustró que si entra a un sitio web periodístico y en la sección “quiénes somos” no se explica quiénes son los periodistas que trabajan en el medio, no vuelve a ingresar allí nunca más. “No sé a quién le estoy depositando la confianza”, argumentó. Para generar esa confianza necesaria, la directora de Sembramedia invitó a los medios a que involucren a la audiencia a la hora de contar su propia historia. “Ya no somos periodistas con todo el conocimiento del universo que tenemos que educar a nuestra audiencia. Tenemos que pensar en cómo podemos incorporarla y para eso tenemos que poner la cara”, dijo.

Generar equipos diversos e invertir en ellos
El estudio de Sembramedia resaltó que aquellos medios digitales que tienen parte de su personal dedicado al aspecto comercial del emprendimiento obtienen mejores resultados financieros que aquellos que apuestan todos sus recursos humanos al contenido. “Los equipos orientados [enteramente] al contenido pierden oportunidades de negocio”, sintetizó Iastrebner. Pero también advirtió que es importante invertir en esos equipos. “cuando una persona se va de un medio produce muchos costos; es caro en términos de tiempo, dinero y más. Tener bien regularizados los equipos, establecer bien los convenios de trabajo y tratar de invertir en ellos es clave para retener al personal”.

Construir alianzas
“No podemos ser buenos en todo, pero sí ser buenos en algo. Y si soy bueno haciendo periodismo de datos y otro medio es bueno haciendo infografías, puedo proponerle hacer algo en conjunto. Esto es una buena manera de encarar nuevos proyectos”, dijo Iastrebner, que recomendó reflexionar qué cosas hacemos bien y qué otras quisiéramos para ir a buscarlas a otros medios. Esto es una forma de lograr proyectos más ambiciosos, con más fondos, mejor reputación y de desarrollar más capacidades.

Proveer de seguridad integral a tu equipo
El estudio de Sembramedia reveló que el 45% de los medios estudiados sufrieron violencia, amenazas o chantajeo debido a su labor periodística. Además, la mitad debió enfrentar ataques cibernéticos (en Colombia alcanzó al 80% de los medios estudiados), el 25% perdió contratos publicitarios debido a su trabajo periodístico y en muchos de los medios se registraron casos de autocensura (en México alcanzó el 32% de los medios estudiados). “Somos periodistas y estamos expuestos a esto, pero estamos viendo casos serios”, dijo Iastrebner. Luego recomendó algunas publicaciones de Sembramedia para tener en cuenta las diferentes formas de protegerse ante ataques cibernéticos y para identificar qué tan vulnerable estamos ante estos.

In France Snap Discover consigue 10 millones de usuarios mensuales

Snap Inc, searching for ways to reinvigorate a slowing growth rate and increase advertising revenue for its Snapchat messaging app, said this week it has racked up 10 million users for its Discover news and video feature in France a year after launching there.

The figure, which has not previously been reported, is equivalent to about 15 percent of the country’s population.

Internationally, the Snapchat app has 173 million daily active users, the company said in August, while rival Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc, said this week it has 500 million daily users.
Snap’s partners in France such as Le Monde and Cosmopolitan, which supply video and news for the Discover feature, were getting “significant” revenue from ads, Nick Bell, Snap’s vice president of content, told Reuters, without giving an exact figure.

Snap, which generates revenue from advertisers, shares that revenue 50-50 with its publisher partners.

The company has yet to turn a profit since its messaging app launched in 2012. Since its initial public offering in March, its shares are down almost 18 percent, to around $14 per share.
France was the first international launch of Discover. It has also been released in Germany, the Middle East and North Africa, but the company is taking a slow, deliberate approach to expansion as it works at developing strong partnerships with publishers, said Bell.

Las suscripciones digitales del Washington Post crecen y pasan la marca del millón

The Washington Post is marking a milestone in its transition from being a local print newspaper to a national news website.

"Earlier this year, we crossed the 1 million mark for paid digital-only subscribers," the Post's publisher Fred Ryan revealed in an internal memo on Tuesday.
The news stood out to staffers because the Post had not disclosed the data before.

The Post, like several other national papers, has been focused on signing up as many paying subscribers as possible.
"Our growth has been exceptionally strong, with digital-only subscriptions more than doubling since January 1 this year," Ryan wrote. "Digital-only subscriptions have more than tripled since last year at this time."

Ryan didn't provide any other benchmarks, but the 1 million figure puts the Post just a bit behind The Wall Street Journal, one of its primary rivals.
According to The Journal's most recent count, through June, it has 1.27 million digital subscribers.

Both papers are eclipsed by The New York Times, which has far more digital subscribers than any other American news outlet.
Through June, the Times had 2.3 million paid digital subscribers.

The news organizations like to point out that lots of other subscribers pay for the print edition and get digital access on top of that. But digital-only subscriptions are the primary area of growth.
Overwhelming interest in the Trump presidency has spurred a high number of digital subscriptions to the outlets.

But the Times, the Journal and the Post have benefited a lot more than regional and local papers have.
The Los Angeles Times, for instance, recently revealed that it now has 105,000 digital subscribers.

The Boston Globe is nearing the 100,000 mark.

According to Ryan's memo, the Post has seen "especially impressive growth in our digital subscription base among millennials as they have grown accustomed to paying for products and services they view as valuable and even essential."
He said Tuesday that the figures "validate our strategy of growing the size of our news and engineering teams and expanding our product offerings

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