As new versions of digital operating systems are introduced (IOS5 on Ipads/Iphones last week for example) and Apps developers pick up the pace, we see the presentation of news on these platforms begin to mature and take shape.
Here are some interesting developments:
— The Apple Newsstand was introduced with IOS5 and the new Iphone4S this week. It makes the downloading process much easier and reduces the effort needed to update digital news and magazine products.
— The faster networks being introduced are cutting into the time it takes to download heavy content files, so apps like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post get downloaded much more quickly.
— Applications are becoming more flexible. Editions, the AOL Magazine that repackages my social network-driven news for me into a digital magazine format, now allows me to view horizontally on my IPad and pulls events from my calendar and integrates them into the presentation.
— The Daily has begun to embrace its position as something of a Daily Magazine (would we always have produced magazine style journalism daily if we COULD have before?). They have built on magazine presentation skills to enhance news for its readers and at the same time build in exceptional social tools to have those readers engaged in a digital way.
— Sites that have been around a while have newly designed interfaces that begin to use art, video, etc. in a more regular way. Aggregator Newser’s new app mixes links and the actual stories in a much more functional way.
The sum total is this: Each new week is making it easier and better to get the content we want from our digital devices, whether that content comes from Newspapers, Magazines, Books, Radio or Television.
The good news is the content is being viewed, read or absorbed by more people in more ways than ever before. The bad news, for existing media companies, is that we may also be seeing an acceleration in the migration of consumers from our traditional delivery systems and business models.
What this means, of course, is that the industry’s ability to monetize their content is weakened until the digital platforms have figured out how to generate more revenue from the emerging platforms.
For the mainstream media companies, particularly those involved in news and current content, they simply must be developing content product across all platforms, not just the new emerging ones. They have to be producing words, video, audio, photos, interactive graphics, etc for all platforms.
Newspaper companies must think of themselves as news companies and leverage their news gathering across all platforms, including existing players like television and radio.
Video news operations need to be part of every digital platform on every distribution system.
Digital players, like Yahoo, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, must begin to build their brands using print, radio and television. The Daily Beast’s acquisition of Newsweek is a start down that path. Bloomberg’s foray into newspaper partnerships and the magazine world with Business Week are also great steps.
There is no avoiding the changes we are starting to see develop. Our ability as consumers to customize the many new devices and distribution systems to give us what we want, when we want it. News organizations need to make sure the content is ready and optimized for those experiences. It’s now easy. It’s a moving target.
But it’s essential to survival.