March 19, 2015 Last Updated 12:00 pm

The Irish News launches metered paywall, Guardian and other papers launch digital advertising alliance

Morning Brief: Time to play catch up with some news – Microsoft confirms that it will be sunsetting its Internet Explorer web browser for its new Spartan project browser

If you have been reading other media industry news sources neither of these stories are new, but it is probably a good idea to write about them here anyways as there are likely to be follow-up stories at some point…

IrishNews-360The Irish News became the first Northern Ireland newspaper to launch a paywall, doing so about three weeks ago. Today, the company they are working with, MPP Global, decided it was time to brag about it (see press release here).

The newspaper’s paywall is loose, very loose, allowing readers to access ten articles per month.

Neiman Lab has an excellent article on the new paywall, and the paper’s digital strategy here.

Another big story in the newspaper business yesterday involved a new digital advertising alliance called Pangaea. The partners in the Pangaea Alliance include The Guardian, CNN International, Reuters, The Financial Times and The Economist. The group have yet to launch a fully functioning website, but the Guardian yesterday described the idea behind the new venture this way: “a new digital advertising proposition that will allow brands to collectively access a highly influential global audience via the latest programmatic technology.”

“The alliance is being launched in beta from April 2015 and will offer advertisers the ability to access inventory across the group of premium publishers via the Rubicon Project technology platform. During the beta phase Pangaea will offer display solutions both as a standalone product and alongside existing publisher initiatives including native advertising programmes and publisher trading desks.”

Getting multiple media outlets to agree on terms for advertising sales must have been like pulling teeth, so the players involved should be congratulated on both the effort and the fact that they, in fact, reached an agreement. This, no doubt, is the future of ad sales – not so much programmatic, as alliances. They are hard to put together, now we’ll see if they can be successful.

Another story that may have slipped past some is the news that Microsoft is retiring the Internet Explorer web browser. This isn’t exactly news as there has been talk for some time of a new, slimmed down browser called Spartan. Now comes word that Spartan won’t be another browser from Microsoft, but the only browser from Microsoft.

Though it has still has by far the largest market share of any browser in use, its dominance is more about the fact that it remains the default browser on most PCs, not because it is a much loved piece of software. In addition, though its install share is high, its usage share has been falling, especially among high users.

For instance, on TNM, nearly 43 percent of readers use the Chrome browser, with Safari at more than 28 percent. Firefox is far behind at third, with only about 10 percent of readers still using Internet Explorer.

But the biggest significance of the news about Internet Explorer is that it is yet another sign of a resurgent Microsoft, one willing to make changes, to risk share for potential gains down the line. If I worked at Microsoft I might actually be starting to get excited about prospects for the future – and that is undoubtedly a very good development.

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