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Digital media disruptions - stories that matter

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed August 15, 2014
Digital media is in a state of continual disruption. Here's a roundup of recent stories, graded by enterprise relevance and recommended courses of action.

[sws_grey_box box_size="690"]SUMMARY - Digital media is chock full of disruption. But which stories pass the enterprise relevance test? .[/sws_grey_box]

I've made a vow not to flog the term 'disruption', but I make an exception for the media industry. If any industry has rightfully earned the disruption monicker, it's digital media.

As an enterprise media dude, this topic is of obvious self-interest, but does it matter to the enterprise? Yes - because you can't be good at enterprise marketing if you aren't good at media. Enterprises need to master digital publishing, so it's a good idea to learn from the knee scrapes others are experiencing.

That's what I'm doing through my curated channel, enterprise media disruptions. In this post, I'll rip through a few stories that caught my eye, and do my best to extrapolate why I think enterprises should care about each of them.

Kurt Sutter Attacks Google: Stop Profiting from Piracy (Guest Column)
by: Kurt Sutter
key excerpt:  'Everyone is aware that Google has done amazing things to revolutionize our Internet experience. And I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Google are very nice people. But the big G doesn’t contribute anything to the work of creatives. Not a minute of effort or a dime of financing. Yet Google wants to take our content, devalue it, and make it available for criminals to pirate for profit.'

enterprise relevance: Yes, I've been looking for a reason to work Sons of Anarchy (Sutter created the show) into a column. Sutter is not what you'd call a Google fanboy - he took issue with a Google-sponsored article in Slate, rebutted it (that's where the quote above is from), and ranted on it again. Enterprises don't need to take a position on whether Hollywood studios are taking right approach to copyright to take a lesson here: it's incredibly difficult to monetize creative content or to control where it gets posted.

best course of action:

  • Whenever possible, reduce the friction of digital content produced by making it freely available.
  • If a sign up process is used to collect data, test that sign up process rigorously to ensure ease of access. (If copyright-protected content is easy to share and access, it will be less likely to be pirated.)
  • Make sure content has links and references to your web site, so that if someone reproduces the content without bothering to ask you the keywords will show up in your alerts and you'll also get some branding benefit while you sort out what to do about it.

Desperate Moves: NYTimes Reduces Labeling On Native Ads To Appease Brands

by: Tom Foremski
key excerpt: 'In another demonstration that the management of the New York Times doesn't understand the importance of its readers' trust in editorial content, it has reduced the labeling on paid editorial content. The move is 180 degrees out of line with the findings of the largest survey of readers' attitudes to native advertising released last week by Edelman, the world's largest privately held PR company. Edelman's survey of 5,000 readers, recommended adding more labeling on native advertising, and it advised publishers to be careful because many readers said it adds no value to their experience.'

enterprise relevance: most enterprises evaluate native advertising, a.k.a. 'sponsored content', as part of their marketing spend options. Reader trust in sponsored content matters. Unlike Foremski, I believe sponsored content can work, but he is right that reader trust and brand credibility are issues to be taken seriously. Asking to disguise or blur your brand is the absolute wrong approach to building such trust. More context: a 150 year history of sponsored content.

best course of action:

  • When evaluating native ad platforms, look at the overall trust and credibility of the platform and the types of readers being reached.
  • Don't make the mistake these brands are making - insist that your native ad contributions are clearly labelled as from your brand. Readers appreciate this transparency as long as the content is appealing.
  • Win with native advertising by creating content that is highly relevant to the readership and is not brand-focused. Drive traffic to brand-focused content on your own pages via action items and event sign up links (known as 'calls to action')

How the Smartphone Ushered In a Golden Age of Journalism
by: Frank Rose

excerpt: 'Like Twitter, mobile has long been underestimated: People assume that because the screen is small, the content should be too. That's turning out to be both simplistic and wrong... The Atlantic recently reported that a gorgeously illustrated 6,200-word story on BuzzFeed—which likewise gets about half its readers through mobile devices—not only received more than a million views, it held the attention of smartphone users for an average of more than 25 minutes.'

enterprise relevance: Enterprise are (rightly) fretting about mobile design and mobile user engagement. Add media content into the center of that conversation. At diginomica, we recently creatively disrupted our own web site with an even more ruthless focus on mobile experience and speedy page loads.

best course of action:

  • Always plan and design for mobile consumption, and don't assume that an html5 web site is enough. Consider device-specific apps and test user experience rigorously to make sure content consumption is smooth.
  • Don't assume that mobile users won't consume in-depth content - the stats say otherwise. Test different content styles and formats with an eye towards length of time on site and maximizing actions such as clicking on links.
  • Learn from the New York Times' example where their latest app, NYT Now, presents not only New York Times content but the best content from around the web. Curation fosters reader loyalty as your app/resources become indispensable to those who follow a particular topic.

The bots are coming!
by Paul Gillin

excerpt: 'On one level we can understand the teeth-gnashing that follow the Associated Press’ announcement that it plans to start using robots to write the majority of U.S. corporate earnings stories. Robots seem to bring out the Luddite in all of us.'

enterprise relevance: Debatable.

best course of action:

  • Don't hire robots to write your content just yet, and for that matter, don't hire marketers either. Hire journalists - some of them are looking for work these days.
  • Human-machine combos still carry the day with content automation - such as machine-supported transcription, fine-tuned by humans.
  • Make your content less robotic. But consider Jibo the family robot to entertain your team in the break room.

Disclosure: diginomica's business model is based on sponsored content, crafted by our partners with our readers in mind. You'll see this content in diginomica streams and on our partner pages.

Image credit: Funny kid with a laptop © Garevskaya Elina -

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