The New York Times attracts over 40 million readers to their website every month and the company sees it as a drop in the bucket. The newspaper is planning to expand into foreign language markets with a localized edition and unique content written by reporters based in those countries.
One of the big reasons why the New York Times is expanding their digital unit outside of the US is because 30% of their internet traffic stems from outside the US. This will increase the amount of advertising revenue they should generate. They generated $191 million via advertisements in Q1 2013 and the expansion into the Portuguese market in the next few months should bolster the bottom line.
Other markets of consideration of according to Marc Frons, the senior vice president and chief information officer at The New York Times are “Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Spanish. We don’t know the timing [for launch], these things are a little more complicated than just going abroad.”
Currently the NY Times has close to 700,000 active digital subscribers that can read as much as they want on the website every month. Non-subscribers are limited to 10 free articles, and then prompted to take out a subscription. This loyal readership accounts for 45% of the newspapers entire subscription base and should increase to 52% by 2016.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Valiant Entertainment is the newest incarnation of a legendary comics publisher that was founded in 1989 by former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, drew in fans with strong, character-driven stories, and then fell on hard times and ceased publication in the early 2000s. The current owners bought the company in 2005 and began launching comics based on updated versions of the original Valiant comics, including X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, and Archer and Armstrong, last summer.
From a digital point of view, Valiant is in an interesting position. They are one of the first publishers to launch a new comics universe in a market in which digital distribution plays a significant part. At the same time, they have both new titles and a substantial backlist. I asked Hunter Gorinson, Valiant’s marketing and communications manager, to explain the company’s digital strategy and how they arrived at some of the choices they made.
Good E-Reader: Most comics publishers have a branded app in addition to distributing their digital comics via comiXology’s Comics app. Can you explain to me why Valiant didn’t do that?
Hunter Gorinson: We worked diligently to position our launch so that it would attract as many new readers to Valiant as possible. We did this at every level—from the publishing rollout to sales, to marketing and editorial. Launching with a Valiant-dedicated app, however, had the potential to narrow our audience right out of the gate. We weren’t only looking at tapping into fans of the original Valiant Universe, although they were obviously a priority; we also wanted to bring in fans of the medium as a whole, and especially those readers that are continuously interested in quality storytelling and might be willing experiment on a new property.
For instance, in the case of a title like X-O Manowar, we knew that readers new to Valiant would be interested in the work of Robert Venditti and that they would be interested in the work of Cary Nord. And in the case of digital specifically, having Rob and Cary’s first issue of X-O Manowar promoted alongside other perennial titles—your Batmans, Amazing Spider-Mans, and so on—would also encourage consumer experimentation.
It has been just about a year since you announced an exclusive deal with comiXology. Are you considering expanding to Comics Plus, Diamond Digital, or e-book platforms such as Kindle, Nook, or iBooks? Why or why not?
We’re always exploring new developments in the marketplace, but we don’t have any announcements to make on that front quite yet. We’ve been deliberately slow and steady with our growth thus far and that strategy extends into our digital plans as well.
What has been your strategy with regard to releasing older Valiant material digitally? Are you releasing any of that material as digital-first or digital-only?
The vast majority of the Valiant back catalog is currently available digitally. The original Valiant era predated the rise of the collected market we know today and, with only a handful of exceptions, the material from that period has never been reprinted. Outside of the physical back issues themselves, the bulk of classic Valiant is now digital exclusive.
There are indeed some all-time great comics in there—Shooter and Lapham’s Harbinger, Windsor-Smith’s Archer & Armstrong, VanHook and Perlin’s Bloodshot, and Shooter and Layton’s X-O Manowar being just a few examples. To this day, three of those formative runs remain out of print, although the possibility remains that you may see new print editions forthcoming in the near future.
In print, you have been releasing those older comics as collected editions. Is that your preferred digital format as well? Why or why not?
We have specifically stayed away from issuing the Valiant Masters line of classic hardcovers digitally. Physical comics retailers service the vast majority of our fans, and we want to give our retail partners the opportunity to sell as much Valiant product as possible to the widest consumer base possible. The individual issues that make up those collections continue to be available online, but if you want the copious back-up material and extras that are included in the hardcovers, we’ll always encourage you to visit a local retailer.
Have you considered publishing any new comics in digital-only or digital-first format?
Yes! But unfortunately that’s all I can say for now. But we have something special in the works and fans can look forward to an announcement soon.
I should also point out that each of Valiant’s new monthly issues comes complete with several digital exclusives—usually a selection of behind-the-scenes art showcasing pencils and inks from that issue.
Do you have any evidence that digital releases are cannibalizing or, conversely, enhancing print sales?
They are enhancing the print audience. Since the launch of the universe last May, our print sales have remained incredibly consistent and, meanwhile, digital sales have reflected that every step of the way. We’re simply not seeing ever-increasing rates of attrition, which, as any comics publisher will tell you, is the constant battle of monthly comics publishing.
And, anecdotally, we hear from fans all the time at the conventions that were new to Valiant, picked up some digital issues during a comiXology sale, got hooked and bought up the trade paperbacks, and then moved to monthly print issues.
You recently released a game for mobile devices. What was the thinking behind that?
Every promotional initiative that Valiant does is designed to point back toward the publishing line and get new readers in the door. And at this stage in our development, we’re well aware of the fact that there are still a ton of readers out there that still have yet to sample a Valiant title. The idea of an all-new iOS/Android game with a retro edge like Harbinger Wars: Battle for Las Vegas was an incredibly exciting opportunity to introduce potential fans beyond our normal reach to the Valiant Universe and our publishing line-up for the summer and beyond.
But to go back to the beginning, the idea of the game was born of the fact that we’d been planning a line of 8-bit variant covers for June, while at the same time, we were just gearing up to begin promoting Harbinger Wars, Valiant’s very first standalone crossover event. The game’s developers at Storm City Entertainment were incredibly keen on the idea and, together, we were able to produce something that accomplished all of our stated goals. And, at the end of the day, it’s just a cool idea!
You have used augmented reality technology for two covers now. How did you get the idea for those covers, and what were the challenges involved in creating them?
Again, we’re always looking for attention-grabbing concepts, such as the Harbinger Wars mobile game, that allow Valiant to showcase its distinctive voice. Moreover, quality storytelling is our top priority, and the talking “QR Voice Variant” covers that were produced for X-O Manowar and Harbinger allowed us to expand on two of our lead characters in a new and novel way. But it was important to us to make sure that the initiative enhanced the world portrayed in the print book and wasn’t just a gimmick for the sake of a gimmick.
But since this was something that had never before been attempted in comics, coordinating the process did seem a bit daunting while we were still in the planning stages. However, we fortunate enough to wind up working with the great Neal Adams and his amazing team at Continuity Studios on the finished product. They took the concept and 100 percent delivered on the execution. It’s something that everyone seems to now associate with Valiant—and, in fact, we will be revisiting the concept in July with a new augmented, talking cover for Quantum and Woody #1.
And if you know anything about those characters, you know that we absolutely had to make a talking goat!
Will there be more AR or digital extras in Valiant comics in the future?
Most definitely. As I mentioned, Quantum and Woody #1 will be getting the full animated, talking goat treatment in just a few weeks and we continue to produce digital exclusives for our monthly titles on a regular basis. And stay tuned, we’ll be making a very exciting web-related announcement within the next week.
Postmedia Network Canada Corp will be updating the remainder of their digital newspapers and implementing a full paywall structure. The National Post is one of the last big name newspapers only allowing the general public to view 10 free articles a month, before being asked to take out a subscription.
Print subscribers of the National Post and the Financial Post can continue to get full access to the newspaper's digital properties. Digital readers who do not have a print subscription can pay $0.99 for the first month and then $9.99 a month thereafter. Digital-only readers can also sign up for the reduced subscription rate of $99.50 for an entire year.
This move into the paywall arena follows the Vancouver Sun, Province and Ottawa Citizen introduced them last year. "We're no longer in the business of chasing page views from all over the globe," said Postmedia chief operating officer Wayne Parrish in a recent interview. "We're in the business of trying to provide deep, rich experiences for those who value the content that we focus on, which is local content and Canadian content."
Deal watchers, coupon clippers, and savings sleuths, listen up! HarperAudio is offering a deal that cannot be ignored. For the next two weeks, over 100 of their brand new May and June MP3 releases are on sale for a whopping 30% off. MP3 titles are compatible on Mac, iPhone, iPod and Android devices in addition to PCs, smartphones and tablets which makes listening on any device even easier.
Here’s the lo-down on some of the hottest new MP3s now on sale until May 31:
Swoon over the all three titles in the teen hearthrob romance “Crash” trilogy (“Crash,” “Clash,” “Crush“), a modern day racy Romeo-and-Juliet that follows bad boy Jude and determined Lucy, two young lovers deeply tangled in a hot and spicy love affair. Adults will eat up the steamy series as well as older teens.
Twitter sensation Kelly Oxford reads her memoir “Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar” with her trademark humor and wit. The hilariously blunt musings on life and motherhood will have even the toughest critics laughing out loud. This time, luckily for listeners, she’s not limited to 140 characters.
Fans of Kiera Cass’ “The Selection” will flip for recently released Book 2, “The Elite.” The story continues with the elite vying to win the prince’s love. Described best as YA dystopian fiction, this title is Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” meets the TV show “The Bachelor.”
Summer’s the perfect time to start listening to literary gems, series that suck you in, or nonfiction and biographies to bulk up on the facts of life. Vacation travelers will want to fill their devices with “road trip reads” perfect for long car rides while pool-goers will be popping in their ear buds while relaxing and soaking up the sun’s rays. So many reasons to love and listen to audiobooks this summer and all year round.
As they’ve always been, HarperAudio titles operate on the one copy/one user lending model. Grab the titles you had planned to buy anyways and save for summer! Visit Content Reserve for a full list of titles.
Annie Suhy is a Merchandising Specialist for OverDrive.
Zinio has officially launched their new Z-Pass digital magazine subscription service, after being in Beta for the last four months. Creating a Z-Pass is simple and flexible. Customers choose three magazines from over 300 of the most popular titles among Zinio’s 5,500+ digital library, including Car and Driver, Surfer, Maxim, Cosmopolitan and Food Network Magazine for $5 per month. Additional magazines can be added to a Z-Pass for just $1.50 per title. Premium titles, including Star and The Economist can be added for an additional fee. Z-Pass customers can change their magazine line-up on demand, swapping their Z-Pass titles up to 3 times per month.
Right now Z-Pass is only available in the US and should see an international launch in July. The service right now is only web-based, so you will have to take out a subscription on the main Zinio site. The company plans on rolling out updates to their Blackberry, Android and iOS in the next few weeks.
“It’s never been a better time to be a magazine lover,” says Michelle Bottomley , President of Zinio. “Access to the world’s best magazines for one low monthly price allows anyone with a mobile device to always have their favorite reads with them at the touch of a finger. Zinio is passionate about connecting the world’s best content with avid readers and Z-Pass removes the price per magazine barrier.”
“Z-Pass is an innovative way for readers to keep up with their favorite magazines and discover new ones,” says Chris Wilkes , Vice President, Hearst Magazines App Lab. “Zinio has long been a great partner to Hearst, and we believe that Z-Pass will help bring our brands and content to an even wider audience.”