Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baltimore Sun is Going Pay Wall!

If you blinked, you may have missed it. The Baltimore Sun will be putting up a pay wall on October 10th. What this means is that through the Sun's website, you get 15 free story views per month and you will need to pay a subscription fee after that . They estimate the fee will come to about 35 cents per day and even if you subscribe to paper copy, you still need to purchase a digital subscription for to get past the pay wall. For all the nitty gritty, see their relatively well-hidden FAQ. I think it is relatively interesting that the paper has somewhat kept quiet that this is coming and I also wonder how effective it will be. After all, look how quickly advice on how to break the New York Times' pay wall appeared when it was launched...

Of course, I'd be remiss as a librarian if I didn't remind all you Towson folks that you can access the Sun all the way back to 1837 through our databases and this won't cost you a dime :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mediamark Missing the Mark

A new semester is underway and with a new semester invariably comes the semi-annual updating of my library instruction handouts. One of the updates that I usually make in late August is to my MRI+ Quick Guide and Powerpoint because Mediamark adds last year's data to MRI+ around that time. (For those of you who don't know, MRI+ is a consumer data set that advertising students can use to learn how to best target their campaigns).

This year was different. The new data was just added yesterday and as of my writing this, it appears to be less robust in some areas than last year's data. For example, it is missing the data for women throughout.

Also, we are still trying to get clarification on what some of the categories mean. An example of this is the listing of dollar amounts in the Contributions to Public TV/Radio report. This report also seems to list contributions to other types of charities such as religious organizations so this raises the question of whether the dollar amounts refer to just public media contributions or to charitable giving in general. A colleague of mine began investigating the meaning of this report last school year and still hasn't gotten an answer.

I think that Mediamark's MRI+ can be a great teaching tool for communication students, but I wish they would do a better job of communicating with their customers about product changes and what their data means.