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Participatory Media Tapping niche communities to grow audience. Dan Pacheco Senior Manager of Digital Products The Bakersfield Californian firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com. The Bakersfield Californian. Independently owned for 140 years
Participatory Media Tapping niche communities to grow audience Dan Pacheco Senior Manager of Digital Products The Bakersfield Californian firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
The Bakersfield Californian • Independently owned for 140 years • We face same challenges as other papers • Print circulation rising, but not with every segment (like youth) • Flagship site, bakersfield.com, focused on print • Strong desire to innovate, but most energy was consumed by daily operations • New Products Group formed to: • Create momentum for innovation • Start new brands to serve audiences and advertisers whose needs were not being met by the newspaper • Explore technology options, leading to the development of our own community publishing platform
Fragementation a primary concern A quote that sums it all up: “… Traditional business models … are based on aggregating large passive audiences and holding them captive during advertising interruptions. In the new-media era, audiences will occasionally be large, but often small, and usually tiny. Instead of a few large capital-rich media giants competing with one another for these audiences, it will be small firms and individuals competing or, more often, collaborating. Some will be making money from the content they create; others will not and will not mind, because they have other motives.” The Economist; April 20, 2006 print edition
How fragmentation affects media • People have less time, more choices than ever • Longer commutes – up 50% since 1990 ** • Newspaper competes with web, cell, iPod, video games • Social networking becoming major mass medium • Myspace.com increased four-fold to 80 million in just one year! • The line between reporter and reader is blurring. • Collective blogs (citizen journalism), re-editing and “hour glass” style replacing reverse pyramid through ratings & comments (Digg.com) • Readers expect more control • Point and counterpoint between reporters, bloggers, readers • Self-serve advertising is making headway outside of our walls • ** (Source: 5/1/06 Newsweek)
Community fights fragmentation • Participation brings people together • Successful community products serve niches. • Mirrors life. People with specific interests like to connect w/ others. • You can serve many niches with minimal staff • Let the community help! Self-serve publishing, ads, everything. • In the future, much of our editorial, ad staffs will evolve into thought leaders and facilitators of publishing and conversations.
Bakotopia.com and “Bakomatic” • Created Bakotopia.com, niche participatory Web site for young people in Bakersfield. • Intentionally separate from newspaper. • Underground flavor. • Created a generic, multi-brand community platform that let us do the same for many audiences. • One site is now 7 and growing! • Now also serves our flagship site, Bakersfield.com
Platform capabilities • Envisioned as a multi-product platform for interactivity and community generated content. • Key concepts: • One database for users and content • Centered around persona and self-expression • Configurable and skinnable by brand • Ability for brands to share users and content • Each brand targets unique audience (the front door) but we can cross-promote horizontally.
The power of a local network • We harness the “rising tide” of a local network while preserving the power of our unique brands • New insights into consumer behavior • We know who does what on each site and across sites • True early indicators - we’ll see trends as they form • New revenue opportunities • Self-serve, opt-in, audience-based advertising centered on interests and topics. • Bring social networking to the generic business directory - become a online direct-marketing platform • New ways to cross-promote our brands and content • Easy to create new sites and grow the network by giving self-serve tools to the community.
The local network drives growth Already, niche sites have increased company’s pageviews 20% in just one year! And we’re only just beginning … Total network Just the new product sites
Flavor 1: Social hub (Bakotopia.com) • Targeted at Bakersfield youth & “young at heart” (18-35). • Launched Jan. 2005. Craigslist opened a site in Bakersfield the day after we did. • Winner of NAA Digital Edge Award. http://www.bakotopia.com Key Metrics 12,000 daily pageviews (360,000 per month) 1,500 registered users regularly post & edit profiles
Flavor 1: Social Hub OK, and this was pretty cool, too • It’s not every day that you’re on the cover of The Wall Street Journal, above the fold!
Flavor 1: Social Hub Bakotopia’s Value Proposition Driving behaviors • Bands, events, socializing. No news, but people post reviews. • People post things for sale, musicians wanted ads. • Users create profiles, and bands upload music. • Grass-roots marketing, profiles, social networking are drivers. Rank Feature 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Home page Posting stuff Viewing categories Viewing profiles Viewing interests Reading content The users are the content! Note that profiles and “connecting” beat content in traffic hands down!
Flavor 1: Social Hub Persona – it’s all about ME! User profiles let people: • Express themselves and their interests • Bands showcase music • Link to friends’ profiles • Rate each other View Recent Profiles
Flavor 1: Social Hub Band Radio & Podcast • Bands can upload music to their profiles • We approve new tunes, then hands-off. • Best stuff shows up on home page, in “Bakotunes” Podcast. Play Bakotunes
Flavor 1: Social Hub Interests: Find Your Vibe (View Recent Interests)
Flavor 1: Social Hub How Interests Work Find people who share your vibe in just a few clicks. (Try it here) Nice circular traffic that builds pageviews!
Flavor 1: Social Hub Social Networking “Will you be my friend?” Let the users market you by marketing themselves!
Flavor 2: Citizen media • Northwest Voice was the first “citizen journalism” product created by a U.S. newspaper • Expanded to Southwest Voice • People submit articles that are printed & home-delivered. • Kids’ accomplishments, recipes, local issues NW Voice Metrics: 7,000 – 10,000 pvs / day2,225 registered users (SW Voice just launched) http://www.northwestvoice.com/http://www.swvoice.com/
Flavor 3: Más – Affirmational Media • A weekly magazine and web site targeted to English-speaking Hispanics • “Affirmational media” – acknowledges something that’s uniquely a part of you.More of a magazine style. • Has strong traditional media model, with a staff of 8! • Planning to enable user-contributed stories URL: http://www.masbakersfield.com/.
Flavor 4: Newcomers network • Newcomers can use profiles and “friends” feature to meet others who share their vibe • Get to know the community through other people • Find out where to get good sushi in Bakersfield! URL: http://newtobakersfield.com
Flavor 5: Interactivity on Flagship Site • Quietly launched profiles on Bakersfield.com 4 weeks ago. • With no promotion: • 4,930 user profiles (3.5% of total user base!) • Average 100 profile edits per day • Profile users skew slightly younger • When we promote, look out! Profile editing Story views
Next: Bakersfield.com Blogs • Every user profile will receive an optional blog • Users can upload photos, music, documents. • Every blog has an RSS feed and is a Podcast in disguise!
More flavors & brands First licensee in June! Tehachapinews.com More interactive Web site for existing community weekly Bakersfield.comUser registration system, profiles & blogs ?
In the product pipeline • “Instabranding” tool: 100% self-serve site creation. • Local business directory that ties into social network • Unique self-serve advertising that will tie directly into registration data, social networking, interests, tags • Commenting system that’s portable to any Web site • Print export and automatic Quark file creation.Click a button, review Quark file, make changes and publish.
Revenue Primary goal in years 1-2 was to build audiences. This year we’re focused on revenue. • 5% of our revenue now comes from online. • Sponsorships on Bakotopia, online upsells on other brands. • Current revenue models (bundles, banners) aren’t enough for the future, which is dictated by self-serve. • Our next step: self-serve advertising around interests, tags & keywords from user-supplied content. • Print still does well with niche publishing. • Northwest Voice and Mas print revenue subsidizes Bakotopia and technology development. • Cost savings: Bakomatic saves money -- cheaper (and better) than any vendor we could use.
Why did we build our own? • Launched Northwest Voice on a vendor (iUpload). Realized we needed an economical way to serve many disparate audiences, and observe activity across them all (total market reach). • The needs of Bakotopia, our “youth” brand, were way out of the scope of “citizen journalism”. Examples: free anonymous listings, bands & music, user profiles, social networking. • We didn’t want something that was created to spec for the lowest-common-denominator newspaper customer.
Or to put it another way … “ … Content alone will fail. Content and distribution will fail. You have to have technology." • Yahoo’s Terry Semel, May 11, 2006
Want to get in the game? • Now is the time! • We fundamentally believe newspapers need to drive their own innovation to respond to competitive threats, just like we have. • Chart your own destiny, or have it dictated to you by others. • Licensing and partnership pilots underway. We’re exploring a wide variety of different models. • We don’t really want to be a vendor, but people keep asking us for help. And we want to help! • Enterprise, partner, more are on the table. • If you have ideas on how we can work together … • E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org