Keynote: Lincoln Millstein, SVP, Hearst Newspapers

Event: Kelsey Group Drilling Down on Local Search 2005

Session Title: Keynote: Lincoln Millstein, SVP, Hearst Newspapers

Session Date: April 20, 2005

Session Time: 8:15 am – 9:00 am

Session Description: None

Session Participants:
Lincoln Millstein, SVP, Hearst Newspapers

Related Posts: buzzhit!’s Drilling Down on Local Search 2005 Index Page

Session Details[*]:

– Online advertising in 2005 $11.5B
– Neck n Neck w/ Magazines
– Will pass YP in 2006
– May rival radio in 2009
– $20B in 2010

– Local is the fastest growing segment; projected at $3.9B (46% YOY) for 2005
– Newspapers 44%, YP 6%, Paid Search 5%, TV 4%, Radio 1%, Pure Plays 40%

– Most growth can be attributed to at-work access to the Internet (whereas other medium aren’t used in the workplace)

– NetRatings showing a decline in time spent online per month in US; -2%, ~14hrs month — ~22 hours in Hong Kong, 25% YOY growth

Inventory shortage
– Site based media businesses will not scale to the same degree as their analog counterparts; will have marginal impact in the marketplace as a result
– 3-4 portals will dominate
– Pricing elasticity is stretched to the limit, putting the medium at risk of being non-competitive

Long Tail [Ed: I’m happy for Chris Anderson, but why do people think this is new thinking?]
– Lots of blogs presented
– References Google Adsense as monetization of the Tail

Biggest price in the Tail is Local; newspapers and YP failing to take advantage of it
– Content not readily seen
– Expect user to gravitate to web site
– Fails to serve the intent of the user
– Publishing is the wrong model online; lean forward, not lean back

How to win: shedding the big-iron publishing model and embracing the open architecture of participation
– Free content, organic distribution, leverage competition, meet and serve audience intent

Winning with local search – newspapers and YP publishers joining forces
– One search box serving a single intent
– Harnessing the best knowledge of the communit
– Riding the distribution of the Internet
– Feet on the street selling those services to SMEs
– Leveraging traditional media assets

Shows examples of several newspaper web sites doing Federated Search, and a couple examples of newspapers integrating blogging…

New economic imperatives of ‘unlimited’ choice in conent
– RSS and blogging are early enalers of this model – adopt them
– Google as friend and foe; learn to exploit its massive distribution instead of only having Google exploit you
– Leverage the distributed assets of the Internet
– Aggregate and network

Q: How do you get newspapers and YPs to work together? What is Hearst doing with blogging?

Millstein: In Albany we’re doing a proof of concept that we’ll roll out in all TV and newspaper markets if it’s successful. We’re fortunate to own both the newspaper and YP in our markets. If we can be successful, other NP and YPs will follow; money will trump culture.

Q: Yahoo! just announced that they just generated $300M in free cash flow that they can reinvest in their business; do we have time to test?

Millstein: This is a live test; we’re doing similar things in other markets. You’re right; we’ve been slow to respond. Google, Yahoo are on a growth imperative; one bad quarter and they’ll lose 25% of their valuation. [Ed: Huh? The point is, they //innovate//, NP and YP players don’t, that’s the story] The problem is we’re applying a publishing model to the Internet and it doesn’t work

Audience Q: Do you see NP and YP partnerships revolving solely around existing sites, or will a new local site need to be built

Millstein: You can do it with a newspaper web site; I’d rather attack this with than starting over.

Moderator commentary: is an exception; it’s outstanding. My local site is awful.

Audience Q: How does Google exploit, how do you exploit them?

Millstein: It’s corporate Judo; Google will do no evil, right? They have to deliver to the consumer the most relevant site to serve the user’s intent. I’m going to create sites that are second to none. I’m going to ask everyone to point to everyone; SEO [Ed: Sounds like he’s advocating link farming to game page rank…] What I’m not going to do is buy the PPC ad

Audience Q: If our competitve advantage in the future is feet on the street, why would we want to partner with Google to help them get to where they’re going faster?

Millstein: That’s another publishing sensibility that I’ve had to shed. I create a walled garden, lock everyone out; doesn’t work. In this space, you need to embrace your enemies. Maybe in 10 years we won’t, but for now, we want to engage in interchange

Audience Q: You talked about limited inventory, but not about raising prices

Millstein: I talked about it a little bit. At some point, you become uncompetitive with other mediums. You can’t push it forever.

Audience Q: What do you think about branded RSS Readers (LA Times, etc)? Does it dillute the brand. Good or bad?

Millstein: We’re looking at it; intrigued. Anything we can do to satisfy the user and his intent, we’re willing to do.

* These are raw, unproofed notes taken in real-time. Nothing attributed to any speaker should be assumed to be an exact quote. Rather, my goal was to capture and communicate the essence of what was said. If there is a significant mistake, please post a comment or email me; I will make a correction at my earliest opportunity.

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