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Matthew Hindman

Welcome to the tenth episode of “The Mediatwits,” the weekly audio podcast from MediaShift. The co-hosts are MediaShift’s Mark Glaser and Dorian Benkoil, filling in for Rafat Ali. This week’s show looks at the changes in Apple’s subscription plan for publishers, as they backpedal on the pricing. But still, Apple will take a 30% cut of subscription revenues and keep the data on subscribers, which has caused publishers like the Financial Times to develop “web apps” on HTML5 that live outside the App Store.

This week’s special guest is Matthew Hindman, assistant professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, who recently did a study on online local news. Hindman found that only a tiny amount of web traffic (1/2 of 1%) was going to local news, but we wondered about sites that were too small to count in comScore data. Finally, we talked about how the New York Times’ pay wall and Wired’s iPad app prices had come down considerably. What’s behind those moves?

Check it out!


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Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio’s Music Alley.

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

Dorian filling in for Rafat

1:02: Rafat in Uzbekistan

1:55: Rundown of the show’s topics

Apple backtracks on subscriptions

04:10: iPad as a savior for publishers?

06:00: HTML5 apps as an alternative to App Store

10:40: Apple won’t dominate tablets forever

Interview with GWU’s Matthew Hindman

11:38: Background on Hindman

13:10: Web-only news orgs don’t have big reach

16:20: People spend 1 hour per person per month on all news sites

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19:30: Hindman tried to find smaller sources of local news in 5 markets

21:40: People gravitating more toward national news

NY Times, Wired lower digital prices

22:45: Heavy discounts come to NYT pay wall, Wired’s iPad app

24:50: Henry Blodget calls the NYT pay wall a success

26:45: Mark says Times is propping up the legacy media

27:25: Dorian does his impression of a Times spokesman

More Reading

Why Apple’s Subscription Switch Isn’t Enough at MacNewsWorld

Apple Backpedals On App Store Subscription Rules at TechCrunch

Apple Subscription Policies, HTML5 Could Drive Publishers Elsewhere at eWeek

Less of the Same: The Lack of Local News on the Internet (PDF file); full study by Matthew Hindman for the FCC

Does a new report mean doom and gloom for local online news? Maybe, but here are a few balancing factors at Nieman Lab

Launching Today: iPad Subscriptions at Wired

The New York Times’ Paywall Is Working! at Business Insider

Wait, the New York Times Paywall Is Working? Not So Fast, Mr. Blodget at BNET

Weekly Poll

Don’t forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about what publishers should do about Apple’s subscription policy:

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.