Putting Teknari to the test

October 9, 2013 in EDGE by Ron Lindqvist

We have a new cool and interesting research project underway. The EDGE research group is cooperating with Teknari, one of the forerunners in tablet magazines, in studying readers.

Teknari is a true innovator in digital publishing on both tablets and computers focused on technology and automotive. We are very excited to be able to contribute in retaining the status as a forerunner and adding value to Teknari readers.

The majority of the Finnish population has access to the Internet and, according to our research results, about 20% of the population has a tablet in use. This also means that the consumer becomes more skilled in using technology and in consuming media through new media channels. This results in additional press on online media services – what does the consumer really value? How can we make the media experience more personalized, both from the perspectives of content and marketing? What kind of mix of content and advertising would truly engage readers and bring the reader experience to a new level? These are just a few examples of many that many media companies struggle with. However, one thing is for sure: There’s no such thing as “one-fits-all” model in the fragmented media landscape of today, but finding one that works in the long term, it is crucial for media businesses to understand their users.

Together with Teknari the EDGE researchers plan to go deeper and below the surface in studying reader experiences. We are combining our experience and competence within consumer research with experts on usability and user experience, i.e. our colleagues at MediaCity. The collaboration and multi-method model will deliver in-depth knowledge of Teknari users and most important, added value to Teknari about the readers. We also believe that people, who enrich their lives through technology and forerunning digital media services as Teknari are motivated to contribute in improving these services even further.

Lets have some fun, together, within a field of common interest i.e. technology, value-adding digital services and Teknari! Lets read Teknari, “kaikilla aisteilla”!

-Ron Lindqvist & Anna-Greta Nyström

Reading in electronic times

September 27, 2013 in EDGE by Gunilla Widén

The media landscape is constantly changing. We predict how new innovations may bring existing products and concepts towards an end. New techniques override old and they might have far-reaching effects on behavior, markets, and society. One such example is the book. The history of books is full of change. During thousands of years much has happened when we have moved from clay tablets to Apple tablets. But reading experiences have lived through all kinds of changes. Today we move into the digitized world and we ask what will happen to the printed book and media?

A very interesting reflection on this topic is made by Andrew Piper in Book was there: Reading in electronic times (University of Chicago Press, 2012) http://bookwasthere.org/ Andrew Piper, professor of European and German literature at McGill University, focuses on the reading experience rather than on the format of the book. Reading is the glue that keeps the history of books going on. How do we read? How do we touch the book, the tablet, how do we share and navigate what we read, where do we read? It is obvious that reading a printed book is different from reading an e-book, from a tablet. But does it mean that one way is better than the other? The tablet brings qualities into the reading experience that is not possible with the printed book like zooming and navigating. Reading a printed book entails the sense of entering another world when holding the book, illustrated by the covers of the book. Reading a book is in a way a subjective activity but at the same time we like to share the experience. This is something that is underlined in our landscape of social media and brings new dimensions to our reading experiences.

Then again we might wonder why we share online when reading basically is a subjective activity. The New York Times Customer Insight Group has studied what drives people to share information online, http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/ Our social media environment is built on interactivity. We share more content, from more sources, with more people, more often, and more quickly. Sharing and reading other people’s responses help to understand and process information and experiences. We share because it is a way to support causes or issues we care about and we feel more involved in the world.

Piper asks “Can we bridge the gap between the computational and the literal and instead posit their intersection as a new core of intellectual life? Will this not be a prerequisite for the literacy of the future?… Our digital future is indelibly linked to our bibliographic past…” Some parts of the printed reality will remain and will be interwoven with the digital present. We worry that young generations don’t read properly because they don’t read printed newspapers or books. We worry that they get too fragmented knowledge structures and are not able to contextualize. On the other hand they connect what they read with others, share online, and build new forms of contexts.

We live in the middle of media history. What will come, we don’t know. But we should not worry, we will continue reading, adjusting to new forms and contexts. /Gunilla

EDGE Media Seminar material

May 9, 2013 in EDGE by Ron Lindqvist

We at the EDGE group are really pleased with how a great and interesting day this turned out to be. Hopefully you enjoyed our seminar too. Once again, thanks to all who participated and to our fantastic keynote speakers whose presentations and insight lead to discussion and comments not only on site, but also on Twitter (#edgesemi).

The presentations can be viewed underneath. However, due to maximum upload limitations, the presentation slides are in this post as pictures. If someone wish to have some of the material in another format, please contact us. Sorry for the possible inconvenience and the minor adjustments that had to be made to some of the presentations.

Wish you all a sunny spring,

EDGE Research fellows

CUTTING EDGE MEDIA RESEARCH – Malin Brännback, Professor, Åbo Akademi

Link to the presentation on Prezi

THE CHANGING INFORMATION BEHAVIOR - Gunilla Widén, Professor, Åbo Akademi

MOBILE VALUE SERVICES – ENGAGING AUDIENCES – Anna-Greta Nyström, Post doc researcher, Åbo Akademi

THE NEW HELSINGIN SANOMAT – TABLOID, ONLINE AND MOBILE – Petteri Putkiranta, Business Director, Helsingin Sanomat

DIGITAL STRATEGY – CASE HBL – Fredrik Nars, Director Digital Media, KSF Media

THE FUTURE OF PRINT – Thomas Ehrnrooth, Vice President Marketing & Communications, UPM Paper Business Group

Link to the presentation on YouTube

MEDIANOMICS – Timo Ketonen, Doctoral Candidate and Project Manager, Åbo Akademi/EDGE Research Group. Service Business Designer & Partner, PALMU

EDGE Media Seminar

April 29, 2013 in EDGE by Ron Lindqvist

After one week our annual media seminar will be held again. We at the EDGE Research Group are really looking forward to this event as we have as interesting keynote speakers as Anette Novak (Fojo & Board Member, World Editors Forum), Petteri Putkiranta (Helsingin Sanomat), Fredrik Nars (KSF Media) and Thomas Ehrnrooth (UPM Paper Business Group).

The seminar is fully booked but we wish to welcome all the registered participants and thank our keynote speakers in advance for taking part and making this a great day.

Looking forward seeing you all next week!

Best regards,

EDGE research fellows

Fragmented but routine like media consumption

April 26, 2013 in EDGE by Ron Lindqvist

Some of the results from our diary study, exploring daily media consumption habits, was published in a previous blog post (available here). However, we’re happy to announce that for those who are interested, the report Studying consumers everyday media consumption with e-diaries can now be found as whole under the previous link. A key finding in the study, among others, is that the typical media day is fragmented into smaller pieces, consisting of several types of media on different platforms. The media consumption patterns are, however, very much characterized by routines. Needless to say, media consumption also differs a lot depending on weekday, time of day and between gender and age-groups.

From a business and marketing point of view, it is of importance to understand what media people consume and when? How are routines maintained or how can they be changed? Due to the fact that media consumption is characterized by fragmentation, for businesses it is no longer a question whether or not to pay attention to the increased amount of channels, but more likely a must. The key question is however, how to benefit and develop an effective multi-channel strategy which is of added value both for customers and businesses? Results backing up these short thoughts and much more can as mentioned be found in the full report.

But please stay tuned! Some fresh findings from our survey study of Finns’ media consumption will be published within a couple of weeks. Almost 1000 people aged 15 – 80 following the geographical distribution of the Finnish population participated in the study which covers a wide range of media consumption from print newspapers, TV to mobile devices, i.e. smartphones and tablets!

Until then, have a nice weekend!

Ron Lindqvist

Infographic: Start-ups yearn for print media coverage but won’t pay for it

March 11, 2013 in EDGE by Ron Lindqvist

Start-ups’ have a high need for all kinds of publicity and media coverage but they generally avoid paid advertising channels. Instead they focus on their own and earned channels. This is no surprise considering typical start-ups’ limited marketing budgets. Conversely, they still value traditional media coverage, especially newspaper coverage.

Download your own copy of the infographic here.

The infographic findings are based on a summary of six case studies of start-up companies’ media purchasing patterns. Idean prepared the study with Project Manager and Doctoral candidate Timo Ketonen from Åbo Akademi University.

In addition to the advertising spending, the infographic looked at the total marketing and communication mix. A typical mix included newsletters, company blogs, press releases, SEO, seminar presentations, social networks as well as coverage on newspapers, magazines, online news and video sharing services. We found that search engine marketing and display advertising stood out from paid channels, although the company’s focus was still on own and earned channels.

We also asked which channels had the strongest influence on each company’s success. The start-ups were most united on their own company websites and newspaper coverage’s impact on their success. If the companies would have the power, money and time then they would typically focus more on newspaper coverage, company blogs and seminar presentations.

All in all, this is again bad news for the traditional media sales executives. If and when these currently young and small companies are one day the wealthy engines of our economy then traditional advertising will not be among the first options in their channel mix.

Kalle Snellman

Senior Strategist – Idean

Timo Ketonen

Project Manager and Doctoral candidate – Åbo Akademi University

by Kim

Measuring the social web

January 31, 2013 in EDGE by Kim

“When you can measure what you are talking about
and express it in numbers, you know something about it”.
Lord Kelvin, 1824-1907

The quote from Lord Kelvin couldn’t be more accurate today in the time of social media and with the increasing volume of user created content on the web, because everything that we as web users do online can be measured and used to map our behaviour, opinions and attitudes, and actions, to know something and everything about us.

Everything that we do online is stored and analyzed. Web giants like Google and Facebook know more about us than our relatives do. Everytime we do a web search, we tell Google what we are interested in or what we are afraid of (because that’s the type of queries that we do). Everytime we write a status update or “like” something on the web, we’re telling Facebook what we are doing and what we like. Google and Facebook use this information as a commodity, to improve the service that they are selling to advertisers. So if you thought that using Google and Facebook was free, you couldn’t be more wrong. Someone has said that if you don’t pay for a service or a product, it usually means that you are the product. The more we tell about ourselves and about our interests, the better Google and Facebook know who we are, and the better product Google and Facebook has. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, as long as everyone knows what they are signing up for.

The content that we as web users are constantly creating online is not just a product that web giants can use. Some of the content can be analyzed by anyone with the right tools and right knowledge, and this opens up new exciting opportunities for researchers and companies to map our opinions, attitudes, and behaviour on the web. We can analyze for instance how middle aged men in Finland are doing by using http://www.wefeelfine.org/. This site searches for blog entries and automatically seeks for words describing feelings. Obviously this kind of analysis is not always accurate, as some words can have multiple meanings, but still We feel fine is an exciting first step using the technology available today.

Using the API that some social media sites provide we can tap into the constant stream of messages that are being published, we can download the data, and analyze it. We could also just buy the data from data providers like Gnip (http://gnip.com/), but we would need to have really deep pockets for that, and I mean really deep. One of the most exciting services that also provide a fairly generous API for data collection is Twitter. Because of Twitter’s API a multitude of services have been built using data from Twitter and by combining it with some other data. Have a look at http://trendsmap.com/ or http://tweereal.com/ to see some mashup with data from Twitter.

By collecting all tweets that mention a certain brand we can analyze what people are saying about that brand and by mapping the network of the tweets we can find who the opinion leaders are. Have a look at this blog entry (only in Swedish) for an example of these type of analyses. Both providing valuable information for any organization. But perhaps some of the most exciting services are those that do sentiment analysis using Twitter data. One of the first services of this kind was and still is: http://www.sentiment140.com/search?hl=en&query=finland. Using Finland as an example here you can see whether people that have mentioned Finland in a tweet have mentioned Finland in a positive or negative context.  Other examples include: http://www.csc.ncsu.edu/faculty/healey/tweet_viz/tweet_app/ and http://smm.streamcrab.com/results?search=finland&pooling=1. I’ve used Finland as an example in these queries, but just as easily we could map what people think about some universities, brands, companies, celebrities, etc.

Play around with the services mentioned here. You may be surprised by the amount of data that is out there, just waiting to be analyzed.

/Kim, @kholmber

Networking makes a difference

November 29, 2012 in EDGE by Gunilla Widén

During the last days of October a group of engaged doctoral students gathered at a Nordic doctoral workshop organized by Information Studies, Åbo Akademi University and the Nordic Research School in Information Studies (Norslis). The EDGE team was represented by Timo, Johanna and Gunilla.

A wide variety of theories and models

During the workshop we had a number of lectures addressing the wide variety of theories and models used when studying information needs, seeking, and use in a changing information and media landscape. This is a complex area where we have numerous factors affecting information behaviour; individual, emotional, contextual, situational as well as information availability, relevance, form, and media. All models address the multi-dimensional information space in one way or another as Professor Elaine Toms from University of Sheffield, pointed out in her keynote lecture. She underlined the challenging terminology in the information science field, which leads to lack of clarity. Therefore we need models to conceptualize terminology and operationalize the study of complex processes of information needs and use. Still, the outcomes of information use should get more attention. Professor Peter Ingwersen from the Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark complemented the overall picture of theories, addressing information retrieval perspectives with more system specific concerns. Ingwersen has developed an integrated cognitive research framework of information seeking (IS) and information retrieval (IR) combining both IR-specific interests as well as contextual and individual factors. Other lecturers during the workshop, addressing the multitude of theories used when studying information behaviour were Jannica Heinström (personality theories), Kristina Eriksson-Backa (health information behaviour), and Kerstin Rydbeck (social theories).  Stefan Ek gave an example of a recent empirical study on purposive information seeking among Finnish people (18-64 years). The study shows that we are all equal when it comes to intangible concerns such as information overload.

A wide variety of doctoral projects

An important part of the workshop were the participants, the doctoral students, who all contributed to the success of the workshop. The 15 doctoral students represented five different countries in the Nordic-Baltic area (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Lithuania). Also, they all represented a broad and multidisciplinary spectrum of research areas. Their research topics can be divided into three main groups; Media change and convergence with focus on the changing media landscape, changing information behaviour, and preservation of digital information, Education and research with focus on collaborative networks, educational resources and information literacy, Knowledge management and learning organization with focus on innovation, creative processes, leadership, and organisational change.

Group work outcomes

During the workshop the doctoral students were to rethink their own research projects based on lessons learned from the lectures. They worked in groups defining their research interests and as a result we got three interesting research projects that could be possible research projects in the future:

  • What is the result of networking? The project would study research networks as a result of e.g. Norslis workshops. The study would use a personality perspective to networks as an information ground, the five factor personality theory could be used. Also theories of motivation, and models of scholarly communication could be useful frameworks. This would give a new perspective to research collaboration.
  • The learning process in multi-modal information seeking. The project would study different information needs scenarios, e.g. information on movies – how are new information channels such as twitter, links to a blog, recommendations used. A multi-modal information seeking model could be developed from earlier models on the learning process, such as the SECI-model.
  • MediaStorm. This project would study information behaviour in a crisis situation. At the time of the workshop the New York storm (Sandy) was highly current and made a good example of how crisis situation is interpreted and intermediated differently. Theories on information behaviour could be used with additional focus on situational impact. Also personality theories could be useful when studying how people deal with crisis situations and information seeking.

Lessons learned

The workshop underlined the value in mixing researchers from different fields, different academic environments, and different countries. We learned about research projects in process, we learned how different theories and models are used in practice, we learned that information behaviour is present not only in information science but also in neighbouring fields and disciplines – and we can definitely benefit from borrowing insights from each other. For example we could clearly see how close information behaviour and consumer behaviour research actually is.

Networking is one important feature of research work – and this kind of workshop is the best platform to practice networking. It is an information ground in many senses – senior researchers and doctoral students share their expertise, get the opportunity to network and develop new collaborative networks. And most of all, at the same time, it was a lot of fun :)

Gunilla / workshop organizer

by A-G

Focus on media behavior

October 29, 2012 in EDGE by A-G

Drawing on the previous thoughts by my colleagues Niklas and Ron, we can prepare ourselves for the tablet taking over the world in, actually, quite a short time. Steve knew this all the time, but to me it seems like average Jane and Joe is coming to realize this only now. My second half has provoked a lot of people by asking why they have a tablet and what it is good for. The usual answer is that “it’s cool” or “I don’t need to carry paper anymore” or a simple “duh, moron”. If you implement the very usable rule of asking five times why to basically any answer you get, you’ll see that the average tablet owner is no longer amused by the original question. There’s not really any logical answer to the question why you own a tablet. The tablet takes as much space as any paper notebook. You cannot afford to drop it many times; the paper notebook can be used for various purposes such as to sit on or to throw at bad presenters. The mobile phone or laptop has more functions than the tablet, and you will many times carry those gadgets along with you anyways.

And then there’s the tablet. It’s there. And that’s just it, it’s there. We do not really need the tablet, we certainly did not wish for it (the trekkies might have another opinion as this was what Scotty used for beaming people). Fortunately, Steve thought otherwise and more or less forced the tablet upon us. And we embraced it to the degree that several reports indicate a rise in the percentage of tablets on the market. For instance, 25% of American adults own a tablet, and Adroid-based tablets are aggressively taking market shares from Apple (more info here). American women are heavy users of e-reading (e.g., using Kindle) and thereby, more or less also dictating the future of tablet usage. And then there are all the companies, watching this happen and still thinking whether or not the tablet is something that potentially can affect them in any way, and we’re talking about everything from the way their employees communicate to the essence of their own marketing and branding efforts.

Well, it’s time to wake up and smell the tablet. This gadget has the possibility to change behavior; how we search information, how we read news, how we stay connected, how we communicate, not to mention how we become more and more addicted to media. We’re always online, we’re always using media to stay up to date about both the big things as well as the very tiniest details about friends of friend’s friends. Now how will any company make use of this in their marketing? There was a time called pre-social media (read: we did every marketing campaign WITHOUT social media); today we read headlines in the like of “if you’re not on social media, you don’t exist”. This movement is still going on for the laggards, but those who are visible in social media still need to step it up a notch; just making people aware is not enough, there has to be engagement that leads to some sort of action. We strive at change!

The tablet becomes a tool for people to engage. And re-engage the lazy ones. We still need more information about how tablets, and also how smart phones, are being used and how we adopt our behavior according to the possibilities that new technology opens up. So instead of all eyes on the tablet per se (btw, iPad Mini was launched last week, you can even fit it in a purse), we should follow carefully how we as consumers, readers, social beings change our media habits. The tablet still has potential of being a radical innovation, as it will change the ways things are being done. The big question then becomes – is your firm ready for this change? And how are you going to deal with it – forerunner or laggard?

/Anna-Greta Nyström, EDGE-rookie

Personal Media Day – a glance of the results

September 5, 2012 in EDGE by Ron Lindqvist

A media jungle indeed! Going back to our previous post about our diary study (available here) when we still stood with the machete in our hands, we now finally have the results. This blog post is a short overall look on the results.

To refresh our memory, the Personal Media Day study explores the consumers’ daily media routines over time. Consumption was looked at during different times of the week (Monday-Sunday), and different times of the day (morning, day, and evening). Methodologically, e-diaries were used to gather data about the consumed media by focusing on four key questions: What media is consumed, how it is consumed (e.g. print, TV, computer, mobile), for how long (in minutes), and why. In addition, a background survey was conducted to collect demographic data, as well as data about expenditure, media attitudes and technology ownership.

A glance of the results

A total of 95 people participated in the study either for one or two weeks. In total, data from 957 days of media was collected, and a total of over 4600 hours. All data was coded and analyzed in Microsoft Excel, statistical analyzes were conducted with PASW. All results are looked at for different days of the week, as well as for different times of the day. Results are looked at as a sample total, as well as comparing gender and five different age groups (19 year-olds and younger, 20-27 year-olds, 28-44 year-olds, 45-63 year-olds, and  64 year-olds and older).

Computer, print, and TV take most of our media day. The length of media days varies; women spend on average most time on media in the end of the week while men in the middle of the week. Needless to say, media consumption differs also a lot between different age groups. In general, media is most consumed by the oldest age group (64 +) and least by the youngest age group (< = 19). Computer media is on average consumed most by the 20-27 year-olds and traditional media (print, radio, TV) is overall consumed most on average by the 64+ year-olds. According to our results, mobile media consumption is still a fraction of total time spent on media.

Depending on the day, our results show that about 25-35% of the daily media is consumed through the computer. Social media accounts for a third of this time, while different news media and online video take an equal account of around 10%. Facebook generates over 60% of the time spent on social media. The news media consumed with a computer consists of around 25-30% of reading afternoon papers, followed by the big daily newspapers. Only a very small share the consumed media is foreign. According to our study, traditional print media still accounts for around 20% of our total media day.

Looking at expenditure shows that print expenditure is linear with age, the older you are, the more you spend on print. Expectations of future expenditure are leaning towards a preference for digital (both Internet services, and media applications). This is true for all age groups, but strongest among those in the 45-63 years age range.

Age and attitudes towards media shows how younger generations, both women and men, value the Internet. Also, for them media is more about entertainment, social relations, and keeping up-to-date with things that interest them. The media consumption, especially among these younger generations, is also characterized by shorter media sessions on different media. These results supports also thoughts presented by Philip M. Napoli about the fragmenting media landscape in Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences, a publication which provides an excellent overview of how new media technologies have changed the patterns of audience behavior. Although fragmentation can be notices, the media consumption still tends to be very routine-like, especially among the “older” age groups.

Fall 2012 – Adoption and usage of Mobile Value Services in Finland

Drawing from Timo’s personal blog and his blog post (available here), we’re now witnessing the paradigm shift from web to mobile with an abundance of apps for smart phones and tablets, truly functional platforms for mobile web services. If we look 4-5 years ahead into the future the forecast is that there will be more tablets than PC’s across the globe and the smartphone penetration will be quite high as well. According to a fresh study carried out by idean (available here), the smartphone penetration is about 50% in Finland this year and the forecast for year 2015 is up to 70%. Tablet device sales has boomed both globally and in Finland where the tablet penetration is expected to exceed one million in the beginning of year 2015.

Our focus at the EDGE Research Group will also be steered on these handheld mobile devices, especially on Mobile Value Services (MVS), i.e. non-core services or in short services beyond standard services that these platforms provide. To be more specific, our aim is to study among other things, attitudes and intentions towards using mobile applications, in other words the adoption of apps. Furthermore, we will try to distinguish different consumer profiles or clusters based on the actual usage of mobile apps. We hope to find answers to these questions through a survey, which is carried out during this fall.

Ron Lindqvist & Niklas Kiviluoto

Åbo Akademi University has renewed its web site

September 4, 2012 in EDGE by Timo Ketonen

On 4 September, Åbo Akademi University launched its renewed web site. The layout of the new pages on www.abo.fi is more spacious and the navigation structure is clearer.

The site consists of eight different sections: News and Facts, Admissions, Studies, Research, Departments, Library, For Staff, and Services. Students will find information related to subjects and degrees under “Departments” and common study information under “Studies”. Under “Research” researchers will find information on research funding. Please have a look at the new web site.

‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ – EDGE Media Seminar in May

May 11, 2012 in EDGE by Timo Ketonen

Spring has arrived in Finland with a complete breath of fresh air. EDGE Media Seminar took place in Helsinki on May 4 with some 30 executives and experts from Media firms, as well as other corporate partners and researchers participating in the discussion. One thing was clear from the outset: there is an ongoing change in the media landscape, Yes Sir! as our moderator, Professor Alf Rehn put it.

Content is more frequently designed as a service, as the media audience is looking for a nice user experience, whether we’re talking about news, business and lifestyle magazines or talk shows on TV. Traditionally media firms have been successful, however, it’s good to remember the legendary words by Jack Welch: ‘You have to argue with success’. There is no single formula for success in the digital age as the media audience continues to evolve. Pekka Soini, CEO of Sanoma News, made the point that competition in the media business is global today with actors like Amazon, Google and Facebook having entered the scene, and in Finland people are also looking for international content as linguistic skills is no longer a problem.

Malin Brännback, Professor and Vice Rector at Åbo Akademi University made a recap of how we arrived in the media landscape of today: from the introduction of the Internet and the World Wide Web, the subsequent dot.com boom and the new economy, where firms found the harsh fact of having to turn a profit. Then we had the second coming of Steve Jobs, iPod + iTunes = Product + Service, the iPad and the iYouNameIt. Today, 20+ years after the introduction of the Internet something is actually happening…

EDGE research group has the task to work on research and development through three interrelated projects during 2012-2014:

  • Personal Media Day (PMD) = Consumers’ change in Media Behavior
  • Disruptive Business Models (DBM) = Media firms’ approach to find new sources of revenue and the process of open innovation
  • Mobile Value Services (MVS) = new advertising solutions combined with a personalized media experience

Seminar topics followed these main themes.

Antti Hirvonen, Social Media Producer at YLE (National Broadcasting Company in Finland) talked about curating news and comments from the audience in connection with YLE News on Twitter @Suoralinja and the talk show @AstudioStream. The aim is to be present 24/7, to engage people in discussion and to find scoops for news. Antti also made the point that people are more likely to follow news reporters and talk show hosts rather than the profiles and Twitter streams of Media firms. Researcher Kim Holmberg commented that in today’s world it is easy track down what people have done and watched in social media and on the website. He made the question – is there a shift from an information society towards the recommendation society? Next step – the ‘intention economy’ – as our moderator coyly added.

Masa Peura, Strategy Director of Sanoma News talked about new business models in media. He made the point of connecting with the customers through multiple touch points, i.e. the ability to offer a combination of different print and digital subscription combinations as well as bundling.  The latter means that the subscription of Helsingin Sanomat is bundled with a subsidized purchase of an iPad over 24 months. An interesting game opener by Sanoma News. Whilst there is pressure on traditional business models there are also new opportunities. Already some 140,000 subscribers of Helsingin Sanomat have opted for a ‘Combo subscription’, where print may be only a part of the package for certain weekdays, the weekend or only on Sundays. In fact 80% of all new subscriptions are ‘Combos’. Also for the evening newspaper Ilta-Sanomat tablet subscriptions find a new audience with people interested to purchase a monthly subscription instead of single copies like in print.

In his comments researcher Timo Ketonen pointed out the opportunity of personalized Mobile Advertising on tablets and smartphones, based on reader’s interests and geolocation. Now a national newspaper can offer local advertising e.g. for a retail chain based on the location of the consumer. Print still fares well in Finland, but the management of Media firms need to manage the present at the same time as they create the future in order to make the business last. In a way that can be compared with the skills of the world famous Finnish rally drivers: steering the car through the bends, whilst using both the brake pedal and the accelerator. Crowd sourcing, reader engagement and open innovation may be a key to success in order to accelerate new media innovations.

Elina Yrjölä, Director of Magazine Business at Talentum Media, talked about ‘Content Strategy in Print and Digital channels’. Her key point was that ‘Content is King’ – and no king survives without proper infrastructure and clever counselors. Elina Yrjölä pointed out that all media companies struggle today with the fact that the print business is still a major part of the volumes and above all is quite profitable. The key question is when the turnaround towards digital channels will take place and how much of the market it can take and replace. She is optimistic because media firms know how to collect content, deliver it and present it. The challenge is that the competition from novel actors is getting harder. They know the game on the market and they have the advantage to be agile unlike the dinosaurs.

Hannu Olkinuora, an EDGE research fellow and editor-in-residence from several newspapers picked up three major parameters affecting the transformation of media. The first is a fundamental change of the communication paradigm: Mass communication will never reach same volumes as during the 1990’s. Mass communication is partly replaced by communication between individuals and small groups, which can be seen in social media. This erosion of mass communication has significant consequences for the media industry. The second parameter is the result of several major changes in the societies during the industrial and postindustrial periods. The change in the lives and values of people is affecting their media consumption fundamentally besides the fact that technology has been a key driver of change during the recent decennium for media. The third factor is that media should recognize the basic human need which can be seen as a fundament for communication. This has been the competitive edge at all times in history. Besides need for information there are several aspects like the need to belong to a community, which loves to communicate, and to laugh, cry and to be entertained. One should not either forget the human character of curiosity and the willingness to be a good citizen.

‘The Show Must Go On’, and Media firms look fit for fight to meet future challenges. We will keep you posted on developments.

EDGE research group, School of Business and Economics, Åbo Akademi University.

Personal Media Day – diary study

April 25, 2012 in EDGE by Ron Lindqvist

Technology and innovation are perceived as one of the biggest drivers in economic- and social transformation as well as in consumer behavior changes. Drawing from our previous blog post written by Niklas (available here) about the PESTC-model, people’s ways to social interaction are changing drastically and the main reason to this is technology.

The distribution of media to several different technological platforms is changing the way people consume media. Presenting some simple statistics from Finland, in 2011 Q2, 67% of the Finnish households owned a portable computer, 42% of the Finnish population owned a smartphone and surfing the internet via mobile phones in 3G networks had tripled in two years. 76 % (Q2 2011) of the Finns had read newspapers on the web and in the beginning of 2012 Finland had approximately 170 000 tablet owners, yet increasing and contributing to changes in consumer behavior. The first crucial step in order for the media industry to adapt to the changes taking place is to deepen their knowledge in the consumers’ media usage/consumption behavior and habits. What media is being consumed? How is it consumed; by print, computer, mobile, TV, radio, tablet or other? How much time does the consumer spend on a particular media? Why is a particular media being consumed; for news read, entertainment, other? These are the main questions we within the EDGE Research Group try to find answers to in terms of the Personal Media Day (PMD) research project, part of this year’s Next Media program. How we have done this in practice is the theme of this times blog post.

Diary and survey as methods for data collection

If and when the researcher is interested in relatively precise measures about how often, how long and in which order a person is doing different activities, the researcher should consider research diaries as a method for collecting data. A research diary is in practice, exactly what one understands with the word diary. They can be completely unstructured, or they can be written following some guidelines (e.g. by always answering a certain set of questions, or looking at a phenomenon through a distinct viewpoint. As a more engaging method, a diary can also give more valid and reliable data than, for instance, a survey. These are also the reasons why we chose electronic diaries as method for data collection.

We gave the respondents some questions to answers, but in addition to that, it was up to the respondents in writing a diary in the format they found most suitable. We instructed the respondents to write a diary about their media usage during one week with the questions presented under the first section in mind (i.e. what media is consumed, how it is consumed (print, PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet etc), for how long, and why). Furthermore we asked the respondent to divide his/her day into three parts; morning, day and evening. In this way we can figure out how media usage differs at different times of the day. At the same time, the media day was made more graspable for the respondents as the day was divided into smaller pieces. The diary could be done by a text editing program or a blog.

At the time of writing we’re starting to have all of the diaries collected and in order to get data about the demographics of the respondents we’ve also sent the sample group a background survey. In addition to the diary, a survey was used to collect values and attitudes concerning media usage, estimated expenditure on media and product ownership.

Recruiting respondents

Recruiting material

To get a representable sample, with people from various backgrounds and from different age groups, i.e. a more random sample, we have used different techniques for recruiting. Libraries functioned as the primarily spot for recruiting because we considered libraries effective in reaching people from various demographics.

The libraries also turned out as successful channels for recruiting. For one day I together with Niklas recruited people at the city libraries of Turku and Tampere. The recruiting was backed up by recruiting materials as flyers and posters spread over the libraries and by a note on the website of the city library of Turku.

At the city library of Tampere

The latter (static notes) proved out to be more effective. Can’t figure out why, must have been Niklas’ unpolished shoes, or my bad sense of humor? The recruiting material was then available at the libraries for a couple of weeks and evidently this succeeded in capturing attention and spreading the word as we have respondents all the way to Lapland. We also attended a morning gathering at Åbo Katedralskolan to present our study and to recruit younger attendants. Materials were also handed out to Luostarivuoren Lukio (Turku) and Pargas Gymnasium (all three upper secondary schools).

What’s next?

With summer around the corner, we’re starting to see glances of the sun also here at Åbo Akademi University, School of Business and Economics. This applies as well for the PMD research project. The data gathering phase is over and next up is the analyzing of the data. A quick overview on the gathered data you can identify that oh yes, media usage can in many cases be a complex behavior with various media used simultaneously and on different platforms. However, you also can see patterns of typical media days as media usage often tend to follow a routine- the print paper and TV routine has transformed to its 21st century equivalent. Needless to say, media usage differs a lot depending on demographics. Looking forward to start plough through this media jungle. We will have the final results by the next PMD seminar in June. Till then we at EDGE Research Group want to sincerely thank all of our participants, respondents and cooperation partners.

Until next time, have a nice spring and “Glada Vappen”!

Ron Lindqvist

EDGE Media Seminar in Helsinki on May 4, 2012

April 24, 2012 in EDGE by Timo Ketonen

Media seminar by invitation only.

The seminar is held at GLO Hotel Art, Lönnrotinkatu 29 (Vanha Poli), Helsinki

Friday 4.5. at 9am – 12pm

Please contact Timo Ketonen if you wish to attend.
Email: timo.ketonen@abo.fi


The changing environment

March 30, 2012 in EDGE by

Professor Vijay Govindarajan said it so well in a Harvard Business School interview (available here). According to him, creating an innovation mindset into an organization requires two things. The first one, and the one I will focus on in this post, is about understanding the changes taking place in the external environment. Understanding those changes, is a pre-requisite, a necessity, something that needs to take place before one can even start to think about new product and service concepts.

In analyzing the external environment, some use the simple PEST-model (or the slightly broader version, the PESTC; Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Competition, and Legal). Usually, major changes in one of these can cause enough headaches within a firm. What makes the media industry so interesting is that currently there are major changes taking place in every single one of these. Big changes, Big opportunities. Let us have a closer look at them.

Social. People’s ways to social interaction are changing drastically. The need for it is by no means novel, but the tools for it, are. We have Facebook, Twitter, Skype, E-mail, chat, and thousands and yet thousands of forums offering a platform for people with similar interest in finding each other. New digital tools for social interaction are by no means an age-related issue. The speed that the elderly are catching up in using various digital tools for social interaction, are tremendous. From 2008 to 2010, the share of Americans aged 65+ that used social networking sites, grew from 7% to 26%! The same development for those aged 50-64, was from 11% to 47%. That is more than a fourfold increase during a period of only two years. Sure, the younger generation seems to be the lead users, but the elderly are catching up fast. At the same time, the share of elderly in our population is growing. According to Statistics Finland, this year there are around 945 000 people aged 65+ in Finland. By the end of the decade, that is in eight years time, this number is about to increase to nearly 1.2 million; an increase of 250 000. By that time, the share of people aged 65+ is actually larger than of those aged 17 or less (21% vs. 20%). At the same time, the household sizes are constantly getting smaller, and hence the number of households increases. From year 2000 to 2010, the number of households grew from 2.295 million to 2.537 million, i.e. almost 250 000 more households during a 10-year interval. Many decisions related to media are made commonly within the household. Thus, a 250.000 increase means 250.000 new sales opportunities.

Technological. Smartphones and tablets. Tablets are not only changing the way we consume media, but also what media we consume and how. This is something worth bearing in mind, tablets are not about surfing the web, they are about consuming content. Tablets are by no means simply a touch screen version of the PC or laptop, they are changing how media is being consumed. Paper was the lean back media, computers made us lean forward, tablets are making us lean back again (see a good presentation by the Economist here). During the following three years, the number of tablets is expected to threefold to 326 million globally. At the same time, the number of smartphones is expected to double, reaching 1.1 billion.

Economic. The major concern here is perhaps that consumers are used to getting digital content for free. At the same time, consumers still value quality content and are ready to pay for it. The interesting question is therefore, where is the line in terms of content quality that makes us want to spend our money on it, instead of spending it on something else.

Competition. The more the consumption becomes digital, the more companies there are competing for customers time and money. At the point of actually making a purchase, the customer is faced with much more options than before; most of which were simply unavailable to the consumer in printed format (or perhaps available, but for a significantly higher price). In addition, within some market segments, the market entry barriers for new businesses are low. This means that new, more innovative, and more customer-oriented players can find their way to the market quicker and easier than before.

Political and Legal. As content is digitalized, so are the customers’ movements in the digital world. This opens up new possibilities in terms of delivering value to the customer, and in offering personalized, more relevant content. The flip side of the coin concerns issues about data security and ethics; is there a limit in how much data a company is actually allowed to collect? At the same time, the combat against free file sharing is getting fiercer. New business models are created in convincing those that are used to downloading content illegally free, to actually start paying for it (e.g. Spotify). The political and legislative issues in the digital world can create barriers, but at the same time open up new opportunities.

These are only some of the changes taking place currently in the media industries. Understanding these changes is only one side of the story, the other side is, how can the firm adapt and take advantage of these?

Within the EDGE Research Group we are this year part of the Next Media program, a project called Personal Media Day. Within this research project, we deepen our knowledge in one of these major changes shaping the media industry, those in consumer behavior. What does a personal media day look like? Is there such a thing as a typical media day? How we actually do it, will be the subject for our next post, so stay tuned.

Niklas Kiviluoto