Recently I was asked if it was 2009 all over again – it sure looks like it as updates on @themediaisdying are up and circs are down. Per MediaFinder however print magazine launches are up a whopping 14 more than last years’ 181. Quality and plans for longevity not withstanding, in reality, the writing is on the wall for all these noobs as much as any print title out there as more and more time shifts online and subs and newsstand circs continue to dwindle. Year over year circulations bar one newspaper (the ‘I’) were down – most in double digits.
So what’s to be done? The answer remains as old as the question itself. My advice? Don’t follow the money, follow the value. Many thought that The Daily posed the ultimate threat because it was mobile-first, yet it published once a day. How mobile first is that? Is that providing the ultimate amount of value? The fatal flaw was that it disregarded the value it was providing the consumer – it was still too much “come to us” vs. “we’re here whenever you need us and we’ll always be relevant”. It’s not passive to have an always on product that grows with you and alerts you to the stuff that’s of interest yet… few do. It’s the same tired layouts, little curation and little added in the way of value. Some questions I find myself asking when I browse apps available today:
- What actually needs a 360 degree picture?
- Is there a live stream that I can see?
- Does a Twitter feed actually add to my knowledge or could it be curated?
- Is ‘big data’ being made useful or just being made to feel useful? Is it being used to further my understanding of the issue at hand?
- Why is it not downloaded when I wake up?
- Why does it not read to me?
The biggest issue remains entwined with the last point, news is still a chore. Millennials (and most other demographics for that matter) are – for the most part – lazy beasts who have been spoiled by information ubiquity and M.H.V. (multiple hyperlink verification) – the technological version of social proof theory. With the introduction of Siri and other read back options available I am not sure why this has not been explored further. I think this smacks of the key issue again – getting out of the way of everything and providing value. Why a news organisation has not completed an “acquihire” of Qwiki yet is beyond me. So as 2013 begins it sadly looks just as likely to be less than orgasmic for the industry, is there hope on the horizon? I believe there is. Algorithms are about to take the backseat (Qwiki, Circa and Summly) but are then about the grab the steering wheel again with the likes of Kon*Fab, TapTu and Undrip - each offers an element I would need to see in the winning news app design – the app that creates something unique to me, the context, every touch, every time.
It’s 2013, we shouldn’t have to see tweets like this any more. Churchill’s quote still rings true here, We’re better than this.
Bar ‘i’ (+36%), EVERY National Newspaper = negative YOY Circulation (.09% Evening Standard, -44% Daily Star Sun) : Source: UK Av Net ABCs
— themediaisdying (@themediaisdying) December 27, 2012