The future of digital content — from 1992

Twenty years ago, Robert G. Kaiser of the Washington Post traveled to Silicon Valley and Tokyo to get a sense of the future of media. On his return flight, Kaiser penned a memo to executives at the Post detailing his findings. On Sunday, a copy of that memo dubuted on Mark Pott’s “Recovering Journalist” blog. Among Kaiser’s predictions, one seems particularly familiar. Here’s the future of content Kaiser imagined Aug. 6, 1992:

“More interesting are packages of text, photos and film that could be used to create customized news products at many different levels of sophistication. At the top end, such a product might contain the text (or spoken text) of a Post story on the big news of the day, accompanied by CNN’s live footage and/or Post photographers’ pictures, plus instantly available background on the story, its principal actors, earlier stories on the same subject, etc. All of this could be read on segments of a large, bright and easy-to-read screen (screens are also being improved at a great rate).”

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Maximize content and paywall revenue with curation

In an age where the media industry is floundering, many newspapers are exploring new strategies to generate profit.


One of the most successful solutions is the digital subscription plan. Paywalls, which have been adopted by over 150 daily newspapers in the US including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and recently, The Chicago Tribune, charge readers a subscription fee in order to gain access to the content. Theoretically, the paywalls maintain both quality journalism and profitability.

On July 11, the e-commerce digital news platform Press+, released a study of 4 newspapers with digital paywalls. The study concluded that over time, the site with the most daily stories sold 10 times as many monthly subscriptions as the site with only 50 stories a day.

The Press+ findings shed some light on how publishers can maximize profits but also introduce new complications. While publishers may be inspired to produce “better, more intense coverage” of their communities, it is more likely that they’ll get swept up in the “hamster wheel” mentality. The “volume without thought…copy produced to meet arbitrary productivity metrics” is one of the many reasons for hyperlocal failures. It is also the fuel behind disillusioned news consumers canceled subscriptions and general disappointment in the media of today.

Some blame technology for the devolution of print media. Technology has changed the way we think, fostered instant gratification, and shortened attention spans. Now more articles are needed to intrigue and satiate a reader.

While traditionalists and luddites bash the Internet for its hand in “ruining the news”, the reality is that technology is now keeping journalism afloat. Tech platforms for content curation provide solutions, not only for publishers in need of volumes of high quality journalism, but also for the generation of readers suffering from content-ADD.

With curated content, newspapers with smaller budgets can focus on producing high-quality journalism, albeit, in smaller volumes, and supplement that content with vetted, third-party stories, images, and videos.

The times are changing in the realm of digital media. The key to success is embracing innovation to reinvent the business model for news.

See also Newscred Blog.

Tech innovators with “Next Big Thing”

A lot of people talk about the future of digital news. The Paley Center, founded by television executive William S. Paley in 1975, is on the lookout for the real thing.

On March 22, the center brought together tech innovators and journalists for a session focusing on digital innovation. Presenters included BiblioCrunch, Contently, Engagio, metaLayer, NewsiT and Zeega.

Here’s a quick run down of what you should know about each of them:

1. NewsiT — Founded by award-winning journalist Melissa Wittstock, NewsiT is leveraging people’s inherent interest in social sharing to create crowd-sourced news. Whether commenting on unpaid internships or reporting on swag at SXSW, NewsiT provides the on-the-ground reporting journalists need to fuel dynamic news stories. These stories are then sold to major media outlets.

Big idea: At present, NewsiT has two advantages over the traditional news model. First, NewsiT produces news at a much lower cost by leveraging the free labor of individuals on the ground. This requires no paid reporting and no travel budget. Second, and more strikingly, NewsiT offers an avenue to create stories in areas, like Egypt, Libya or Syria, that are dangerous for journalists.

What’s next: At present, participants are not compensated. NewsiT is planning on changing this soon, offering something like FourSquare perks.

2. Contently — Founded by Shane Snow, Joe Coleman and Dave Goldberg, Contently connects freelance journalists with news outlets, providing original content to publishers and employment to writers.

Big Idea: Currently the freelance marketplace has little standardization. Normalizing the freelance process, could make the lives of editors and freelancers much easier.

What’s next: In January of 2012, Contently received $2 million in series A funding from Lightbank, a firm the firm run by Eric Lefkofsky, a Groupon investor. As BetaBeat reported, Contently is likely to use this funding to pivot focus on connecting writers with brands.

3. BiblioCrunch — Founded by Miral Sattar, who previously worked on digital initiatives at TIME, BiblioCrunch helps bloggers, journalists and authors seamlessly publish their work in an eBook format.

Big Idea: Digital editions are widely considered to be the future of publishing. Barnes & Noble already makes more money selling digital editions. Pearson Publishing recently said that they expect profits from digital to surpass print this year. In spite of this industry shift, few people have been able to effectively take advantage of the technology.

What’s Next: BiblioCruch faces stiff competition from eBook publishers like Apple and Amazon. Can the fledgeling startup compete with the big names?

4. Engagio — Founded by William Mougayar, who has spent more than 30 years in the tech industry, Engagio uses technology to bring all of your digital conversations — on Facebook, Twitter, etc. — together in one place.

Big Idea: In the 2009 movie He’s Just Not That Into You, Drew Barrymore delivers a monologue that serves as an apt description of today’s media environment:

“I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

While Barrymore was lamenting the state of dating, much of her commentary applies to people who are just trying to engage with social media. Staying on top of things no longer means just checking your voicemail or e-mail inbox; it means logging into to multiple mediums multiple times a day.

What’s Next: With the time saved using Engagio, perhaps we’ll finally have time to take on Hoverboard technology.

5. Zeega – Cofounded by Kara Oehler, a radio documentary producer and media artist, Zeega provides an open-source HTML5 publishing platform for documentaries.

Big Idea: Zeega hopes to serve as the WordPress for documentary storytelling, encouraging innovation and interaction.

What’s Next: Right now, outside of YouTube, there isn’t a centralized platform for publishing video documentaries. Zeega does that, but goes a step further by hosting a space for collaboration in multimedia.

6. MetaLayer — Founded by Jonathan Gosier, a designer, software developer and entrepreneur, MetaLayer uses advanced algorithms to map sentiment analysis. Next, it creates smart, real-time visualizations that can be used by journalists or companies.

Big Idea: Clay Shirky famously described the current challenge not as information overload, but as filter failure. When it comes to social data, MetaLayer isn’t just more information; it’s a filter of it.

What’s Next: The digital world loves infographics. MetaLayer provides these in real-time.

TV’s slow revolution: How APIs are helping TV innovate

There is a great debate going on about the state of television, and I don’t mean the quality of the programming being produced (we’ve seen some great/groundbreaking TV shows in the past 10 years, such as Mad Men, The Sopranos, The Wire, etc.). I’m referring to the state of technology surrounding the way we all receive television content, and APIs will play a key role in the TV revolution that has been slowly approaching since video first made its way onto the internet.
When networks first started to stream their shows online for free, I’m sure many thought that a major revolution was coming. But, in fact, very little has happened to traditional cable/satellite subscriptions. Subscriptions have remained fairly flat – some quarters decreasing slighting, and some (like Q4 ’12) increasing by .2%.

The main problem seems to be that no one has introduced an internet powered alternative that provides all the those TV shows, programs and live events that we want to watch in one place. In fact, a service like this could be more convenient than the subscription we are currently used to. It would allow us to choose what content we want to pay for and would allow us to watch it anytime, anywhere.
These changes are coming. It could be this year; it could be in another 2-3 years – that really depends on the willingness of networks to go around cable companies, broadband speeds, etc. The technology is available.

A small revolution in TV watching has been underway while we wait for the be all and end all to all internet TV solutions from Apple, Google or anyone else. The phenomenon of “second screen” viewing has been growing – Nielsen recently found that nearly half of smartphone and tablet users use their device while watching TV. Social TV apps like Viggle and Zeebox allow TV watchers to win points for watching and answering questions and give them the opportunity to interact with other fans directly. Numerous apps are available to turn your smartphone or tablet into an interactive TV guide and remote.
This world of social and interactive TV is possible because of APIs. API stands for application programming interface. APIs allow applications to share data with each other – think of that Google Map that appears when you look up a restaurant on Yelp.

The ease with which data can now be shared through APIs makes it easier to make the TV watching experience even more entertaining and relevant to exactly what you, as the viewer, want to see. APIs focused on TV data will enable more and more innovators to come into a space that has been relatively stagnant and create more and more mashups and apps that change the way we view television.
Perhaps social TV and interactive episode guides aren’t the major revolution in TV that we are waiting for, but all these interactive features will undoubtedly be somehow incorporated into our TV watching experience from now on. And APIs will be there to pave the way and make all our TV content more connected.

Copyright: http://www.mashery.com

Media future will be driven by data, not demographics, says Johanna Blakley

Demographics around age, gender and income used to dominate the world of media ad sales. Yet in the world of new media, said Johanna Blakley, the Deputy Director of the Norman Lear Center at USC, those easy categories no longer apply.

“When you look online at the way people aggregate, they don’t aggregate around age, gender and income,” Blakley said in TED talk posted in Feb. 2011. “They aggregate around the things they love, the things that they like, and if you think about it, shared interests and values are a far more powerful aggregator of human beings than demographic categories. I’d much rather know whether you like Buffy the Vampire Slayerrather than how old you are. That would tell me something more substantial about you,” she said.

While the shift from demographically-based advertising to advertising based on the things you enjoy (think the pop-up ads on Facebook) can be mildly unnerving, Blakley suggests there is an upside to having your interests tracked by media companies. “Suddenly, our taste is being respected in a way that it hasn’t been before,” she said. Under the old model it was simply presumed.

What’s surprising about the social media revolution, said Blakley, is that contrary to presumptions, women are in the driver’s seat. ”If you look at the statistics — these are worldwide statistics — in every single age category, women actually outnumber men in their use of social networking technologies. And then if you look at the amount of time that they spend on these sites, they truly dominate the social media space,” she said.
 
Blakley is far from alone in her conclusion. According to a Jan. 13, 2011, report by Deloitte, “women constitute the largest emerging market the world has ever seen.” In aMarch 8, 2011, article for the Harvard Business Review, Slyvia Ann Hewlitt agreed. “Globally, women control nearly $12 trillion of the $18 trillion total overall consumer spending, a figure predicted to rise to $15 trillion by 2014,” she wrote.

Addressing the needs of these audiences doesn’t mean more chick flicks or Eat Pray Love imitations. ”The future entertainment media that we’re going to see is going to be very data-driven,” said Blakley, “and it’s going to be based on the information that we ascertain from taste communities online, where women are really driving the action.”

Uitgevers, you need an API!

Een groot deel van de dag wordt besteed aan het uitleggen van nieuwe manieren van content distributie. Uitgevers en (hoofd)redacteuren informeren over innovatie en technologie en het gebruik van een content-API in de OpenDataCloud.
Vooral de nadruk op: wat doet het en wat kan ik ermee?
Misschien wel het belangrijkste onderdeel is de toegang tot de content. De API is de interface voor de ‘wereld’ naar de uitgevers content, de interface voor de ontwikkelaars, de interface naar Social Media. En de interface naar nieuwe business.
En waarom is dit belangrijk?
Omdat vandaag de dag (meer dan ooit) mediabedrijven moeten innoveren, wat betekent, experimenteren met nieuwe producten op nieuwe kanalen. Snelheid van deze innovatie zou weleens noodzakelijk kunnen zijn.
Het lancering van nieuwe producten is vaak een pijnlijk proces, ontwikkelaars hebben tijd nodig om systemen te begrijpen en toepassingen te ontwikkelen.
Met een geschikte content-API wordt dit proces veel gemakkelijker, voor interne ontwikkeling maar ook voor externe ontwikkelingen.
Voorbeelden zijn er zeker. Kijk bijvoorbeeld naar content-API van Guardian. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/open-platform)
Onze focus is uitgevers ondersteunen bij het inrichten van een dergelijke content-API en dus optimale flexibiliteit ten behoeve van distributie te realiseren. Natuurlijk is controle over ‘eigen’ content een belangrijk element in dit geheel.
Meer weten?
Neem contact met ons op.

Slideshots

Our insight
Presentations are a key part of the business ecosystem. They are a strong means for communicating a message. Through presentations we share ideas, insights, plans, strategies etcetera with other people. Business professionals around the world make lots of presentations every day.
Because images are often more powerful than words in communicating a message, more and more imagery is used in presentations.

Within the range of images, photographs form a very powerful means of communication emotions and often contain a (perceived) high quality. Especially high quality news photography appeals strongly to human emotions because they recall the specific emotions connected to the news event they picture.
Finding the right picture (regardless of the channel used) is an exhaustive job. On average, finding a suitable picture to convey a strong message can take up to several hours.

Slideshots is about to change this…

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