Monday, January 23, 2012

Using "Mad Men" advertising model for the web

Here in China, one of my guilty pleasures is watching DVDs of old episodes of "Mad Men," the cable television hit about the glory days of advertising and mass media in the 1960s.

In one episode, when Don Draper's advertising firm loses the multimillion-dollar Lucky Strike cigarette account, he takes out a full-page ad in the New York Times to announce that the firm will no longer accept tobacco advertising, supposedly because tobacco endangers the public health.

The power of display advertising

Draper has no doubt about the importance of announcing this to the public at large even though the target audience for the ad is very small, perhaps 1% of the audience of the Times -- other advertising executives, the CEOs of tobacco firms and other major advertisers, the firm's own clients.

6,000 paid subs support digital news site in Nova Scotia

At first it seems an unlikely place for an expensive paywall business model to work -- Nova Scotia. 

Nearly 6,000 subscribers are paying $360 a year for access to the website, according to Tim Currie's story in Nieman Lab

That's about $2 million and represents 80 percent of the revenue of the site. 

How are they doing it? One of the key elements is focusing on basic public-records searches and document-based reporting.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

IBM chief gives advice that entrepreneurs should heed

Samuel Palmisano, I.B.M.'s outgoing boss, used four questions to guide his company's strategy over the past decade, according to an interview in the New York Times.

All of them are questions that digital media entrepreneurs should be asking themselves every day:

  • “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
  • “Why would somebody work for you?”
  • “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
  • “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”