The condition of being relevant, or connected with the matter at hand: Some traditional institutions of the media lack relevance in this digital age.’
Publishing has traditionally been a ‘one to many’ process where a batch of content was packaged and sent out to us as a group. Traditionally this process would include an editor’s choice of content broadly directed to us and housed between the ink infused sheets, we and the world have evolved from this process, the influence of the internet has played a pivotal role in this change. Now, more than ever we have information on just about anything you can think of, right at your fingertips, a world of content that only a few short years ago, would have seemed implausible if not downright impossible to obtain is now ours for the taking. We are all individuals, individuals with different interests, pass times, hobbies and thought processes, no two people are the same and that is a gift in itself.
So with this in mind we have to ask ourselves, as individuals don’t we deserve to have publications more tailored to our individual needs and interests? Shouldn’t we have access to publications that contains content that is relevant to what we want know and be readily available on whatever device we chose to consume the information on? In this digitized age we have information available to us like never before and all literally at our fingertips. Why not harness this power, channel it directly for the individual? After all, we have our differing interests and needs so why not cater for this through a system that can filter what we want to where we want? We as individuals need publications that are relevant to our needs and interests, relevance being the operative word.
Magazines and newspapers have traditionally followed a format of editor’s choice, this being where the editor deems what is newsworthy and gauges what it is their audience wants to hear. This formula is fine for the general publication to the masses but why not have a singular publication to suit the individual’s needs? As mentioned earlier, we are not all the same so why should the publications we receive be the same?
Dynamic publishing and dynamic content
Dynamic content has transformed the world of online publishing, no more are we tied to static pictures and text when it comes to the publications we view, we now have the added value that audio and video bring to our publications, they say that a picture can speak a thousand words, well by this theory surely video and audio interaction can only enhance our publications and in turn the
enrich the quality of the end users experience.
A great example of this is Amazon, users of the site will know that Amazon has cleverly devised a recommender system which uses algorithms that suggest products that we might like and possibly buy based on our browsing history, purchases and preferences. Not only does this create a more personalized feel for the consumer and increase the quality of the user experience but it also drives sales by the suggestion of products to the consumer that they otherwise may not have discovered on their own. Netflix operates a similar system where it suggests movie choices to you based on similar algorithms to Amazon.
The consumer has an insatiable appetite for information that has created a culture of having to know now, right now. We are no longer willing to accept waiting for a news bulletin on TV or the latest edition of national or local newspapers. Why would you wait to find out something important when you can instantly find out at the click of a button or the swipe of a smartphone screen?
The dawn and the influence of the smartphone
Statistics show that nearly half of all American’s receive some form of local news on a mobile device, 46% of people get their news online at least three times a week. Added to this, as far back as 2010 advert revenue for online news sources surpassed print media, this gives you an idea of the seismic shift that has been going on around us with news sources and this shift continues to pivot.
One of the biggest contributors to this shift in attitude has been the explosion of smartphone usage amongst the world’s population; more than any other time in our history we are accessing content while on the move. It is estimated that by the end of 2012 there was 2.1 billion mobile web active mobile-broadband subscriptions in the world. That is 29.5 percent of the global population accessing the web from their mobile phones. Couple this with an average increase of 40% per year for mobile broadband subscriptions over the last three years and you start to get a clearer picture of the behemoth in our midst.
A recent study by eMarketer has found that Americans will, for the first time ever, spend more time online digesting content than the traditional methods of content consumption, television and newspapers. The general consensus is the average time spent Americans have historically spent watching TV is four and a half hours, digital media is expected to surpass this figure before the year is out.
This is due in no small part to the explosion of smartphone usage amongst the population, it is estimated that over 61% of Americans now own smartphones, the first time that smartphones have had such penetration into the general public. In the 18 – 34 category that figure rockets to nearly 80% so the numbers involved in the smartphone infiltration speak for themselves. It has also been reported by the PEW Research centre that 34% of Americans now own a tablet.
What publishers could and should be doing
Publishers have to create and maintain relationships with the consumer, they traditionally would do deals with authors and distributors but know very little about the consumer’s needs or wants. This has to change. They have to really listen to the consumer and find out what it is they really want, it may be the only way of saving future publications. Amazon has this technique down to a tee, they know all about their consumer’s habits and preferences forming a close relationship with the consumer in the process. They are able to recommend future purchases, notify them when new books are coming out that may be of interest and so on, all this is possible through the relationship built up be listening and monitoring the consumer and using the information gathered in a constructive fashion.
The use of dynamic publishing allows content to be assembled on request and delivered to its destination ready for consumption no matter what device the consumer may be using, value could be added beyond the norm with automatically enriching content with additional features or even additional content during the publishing process. Consumption habits are changing and traditional publishing methods have to change with it or risk being lost in the current content revolution.