A blog post I read earlier this morning “Are Newspapers Really Dead?” [which vehemently supports a future for newspapers] got me thinking about the changes in how we we consume media is changing and will continue to do so. I personally love the feel of holding a newspaper, unfolding and opening the flimsy paper that absolutely dwarfs my petite stature. But I also love the experience of clicking an interesting headline on a tweet from the Huffington Post (a prime example of new media), reading blogs, and having the ability to comment, share, and create content. The user experience is one dimension of news reading whether the benefits rest in opening and holding the paper, or clicking through to new and interesting content. But it is exactly that, the content, that remains constant in any user experience. Information rich, dynamic content will be what keeps paper news and new media thriving in very different ways.
Dylan Tweney, Executive Editor of Venture Beat, comments critically in “How the Internet is Dividing Publishers Into Two Camps” about various models for establishing engaging content online. One main point that advertisers are excruciatingly aware of is the diminishing ad-revenue online compared to print sources. He writes how publishers must “Either embrace the search-driven, low-margin model and flood the Internet with as many pages of content as you can, or try to find a new market for high-margin, premium content supported by expensive ads.”
An example of low-margin + high volume content is in Glam Media’s vertical media model. By utilizing the content of over 1000 writers/bloggers and a social network backbone Glam is able to flush out a new ad-model by virtue of size. However, as Tweney points out this model works for Glam because of it’s topic: beauty and fashion. The content can live on and thrive after its initial release. Whereas daily printed news has a very limited lifespan.
Newspapers are not dead, but declining and in turn creating space for new models to assume prominent roles in publishing today. These emerging models will continue to develop and refine their revenue and content models. Stay tuned for more on Glam Media…
Who will win? It’s hard to say, but from reviewing Fast Company’s cover story I have outlined my opinion of what are the top factors that will affect these companies in coming years.
This Ted Talk is a must see. Roger McNamee gives us “6 ways to Save the Internet.” He describes his ideas as hypotheses, all subject to revision and possibly to elimination. Below are the rules and my favorite soundbites describing each:
1. Windows is Dying
“I mean no disrespect to Microsoft, because I think, in fact, Microsoft as a company has many things it can do to maintain growth, but desktops would not be one of them. The key indicator here… smartphones have basically taken Windows from 96% of internet connected devices three or four years ago to less than 50% now (March 2011).”
2. Index Search has Peaked
“The web is a Digital Detroit, if you look really hard you can find really compelling things there, but if you aren’t really careful you can get mugged.”
3.Apps Beat Web
“It’s Apple’s world, we are lucky to be part of it.”
4. HTML5 Changes it All
“The new battle instead of being commoditization versus the app store, it will be between the app store and highly differentiated content.”
5. Tablets win Big
“If you don’t own an iPad you can’t possibly understand the biggest things going on right now.”
6. Social Platforms Set
“Facebook has won, it is the new Windows…”
Overall, my understanding of McNamee’s ideas is based in understanding the way in which we use the internet is changing, and doing so for the better. His closing remarks challenge the audience to “imagine a world where everything is an app.” Instead of living in an internet of elevators, where users go from one level to another in order to accomplish one task, users will soon be able to exit that elevator and approach the internet as a control panel. Soon, according to McNamee, the internet will “Demand and satisfy in the same place”. Using his 6 ideas we can see exactly how this will take place: mobile, social-based applications, valuable content, reduced emphasis on commoditization, and fluid interactivity. These are the principles that will “save the internet.”