From the category archives:


What is content?

by Cy Caine on April 14, 2010

Really interesting post by Jeff Jarvis at  Hat tip to for bringing this to my attention.  The post uses the often commented on question about  iPad is a content creation device, content consumption device or some blend of the two as a starting point to ask the bigger question – what is content?

As of this writing there were already 61 comments on the original post.  I read the first several and felt that most missed the point entirely. The interesting element of Jarvis’ comments are not about the iPad per se.  Rather, the key point is that we need to think differently (no pun intended) about what content is.  Every action we take that is logged somewhere is or has the potential to be “content.”  Jarvis writes:

When we email a link to a friend, that act creates content. When we comment on content, we create content. When we mention a movie in Twitter — that’s just useless chatter, right? — our tweets add up to valuable content: a predictor of movie box office that’s 97.3% accurate. When we take a picture and load it up to Flickr — 4 billion times — that’s content. When we say something about those photos — tagging them or captioning them or saying where they were taken — that’s content. When we do these things on Facebook, which can see our social graph, that creates a meta layer that adds more value to our content. On Foursquare, our actions become content (the fact that this bar is more popular than that bar is information worth having). When we file a health complaint about a restaurant, that’s content. Our movements on highways, tracked through our cellphones, creates content: traffic reports.

This is all something that most of us intuitively know and yet that we don’t spend time thinking about. It is worth thinking about.

I’m adding to the list of sites I follow.


Encouraging Economic News

by Cy Caine on March 24, 2010

Very encouraging to see a story on this week that magazine ad sales for April and May are heading higher.  Hearst Magazines’ chief marketing officer, Michael Clinton, reports that sales for April rose 12% compared to the same period last year. Now Clinton says May will be even better. Ad sales across 13 of Hearst’s main titles are already up 17% for May, he says, and the month isn’t fully booked yet. Hearst won’t report official numbers until mid-April.  The story reports that the growth is being driven by Hearst’s “big books” like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Oprah and House Beautiful.  The ad climate seems to be improving for the magazine business. Overall ad spending for magazines will rise this year by 1.9%, to $9.4 billion, predicts a recent study from Outsell. For consumer titles (as opposed to b-to-b), spending will climb 4.2%.

While I take this as a very encouraging sign in terms of the direction our economy will take over the next 12 to 24 months, this won’t change the long term trend for print magazine revenue, either for advertising or circulation.  In fact, according to a recently released Outsell report (Annual Advertising and Marketing Study 2010: Total US and B2B Advertising), “For the first time, advertisers plan to spend more on digital and online marketing and advertising (in 2010), 32.5% of the total, than on print, 30.3%, an industry milestone crossover event.”  I am not alone in expecting this trend to continue.

Interesting commentary on the Outsell report (as the report itself is behind a very tall pay wall):  US advertisers to spend more on digital than print: study Print Magazine Advertising to Grow in 2010 Despite Popularity of Online