Mobile seen as dom­i­nant for news fu­ture

Newspapers & Technology Magazine - - Front Page - ▶ by Chris Lytikainen Manag­ing Ed­i­tor

Mobile plat­forms of­fer a lot. The va­ri­ety of plat­forms and the freedom of cus­tomiza­tion can lead to award-win­ning strate­gies, such as the Econ­o­mist's "Read, Watch, Lis­ten" strat­egy. These plat­forms will gain in­creas­ing im­por­tance in the next few years, and the media in­dus­try is re­act­ing to the rise.

In ar­ti­cle ti­tled “Why Mobile Will Dom­i­nate News Media by 2020” on jour­nal­ism.co.uk, the au­thor looks to Glen Mulc­ahy, head of in­no­va­tion at RTE Tech. Mulc­ahy spoke at mobile jour­nal­ism con­fer­ence Mojo Meetup to ex­plain why mobile is the dom­i­nant po­si­tion for the fu­ture.

"Pro­cess­ing power is get­ting faster, cheaper and a hell of a lot more pow­er­ful," Mulc­ahy said.

"Very quickly, you'll prob­a­bly see Ap­ple re­lease a 4K Ap­ple TV, so you can stream that con­tent to your su­per high-res­o­lu­tion tele­vi­sion in your home without go­ing through the broad­cast chain—for me as a broad­caster, that is a very scary propo­si­tion," Mulc­ahy said.

Mulc­ahy is right when it comes to video con­tent. With an in­creas­ing num­ber of phones able to use 4K video cap­ture and dis­play, many tra­di­tional broad­cast­ers re­al­ize that this cre­ates a chal­lenge to im­me­di­ately bring 4K without mas­sive changes in in­fra­struc­ture.

It would also force a reliance on the con­sumer to pur­chase “fu­ture-proof ” 4K home TVs that would be quite costly.

Mobile then be­comes the dom­i­nate plat­form for the shift. Even large pub­lish­ers have shifted their fo­cus, such as Time Inc’s re­cent shift to­wards video and online con­tent.

Qual­ity mat­ters

The prob­lem then be­comes the qual­ity of the video con­tent, as an ar­ti­cle by Mar­i­lyn Wilkin­son of Mobile Busi­ness In­sights points out. The strate­gies of at­tack, so to speak, must change to adapt to video con­tent that is easy for the con­sumer, use­ful, new, and in­no­va­tive. Some of the ad­vice that MBI rec­om­mends is in­vest­ments in 360-de­gree video and VR.

This isn’t nec­es­sar­ily any­thing new, but it is some­thing that many pub­lish­ers have been eye­balling, wait­ing for the right time to move into that sphere of con­tent.

A while back News & Tech re­ported on aug­mented re­al­ity be­ing used specif­i­cally for a news plat­form. That still hasn’t changed, how­ever, the tech­nolo­gies of vir­tual re­al­ity are be­com­ing more and more of a vi­able pos­si­bil­ity, as well.

Watch video length

An­other ma­jor thing to watch out for is the size of the con­tent. Though a 20-minute ex­pose might be use­ful and very in­for­ma­tive to some, suc­cinct and good con­tent will al­ways beat out the for­mer.

“Re­search shows a cor­re­la­tion be­tween video

length and en­gage­ment—ac­cord­ing to In­visia, 45 per­cent of view­ers will stop watch­ing a video af­ter 1 minute, and 60 per­cent will stop af­ter 2 min­utes. These find­ings align with what is likely a strate­gic move from ma­jor so­cial media net­works that en­cour­age shorter videos, with a time limit of 60 sec­onds for In­sta­gram and 10 sec­onds for Snapchat,” Wilkin­son wrote.

This shift will not come easy, but is hap­pen­ing re­gard­less of pref­er­ence, as Bloomberg writer Gerry Smith elab­o­rates.

“Pub­lish­ers are head­ing in this di­rec­tion even though polls show con­sumers find video ads more ir­ri­tat­ing than TV com­mer­cials. Google and Ap­ple Inc. are test­ing fea­tures that let you mute web­sites with au­to­play videos or block them en­tirely. More young Amer­i­cans pre­fer read­ing the news than watch­ing it, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey last year by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter.”

Con­tent creators must walk a fine line in or­der for their mobile strate­gies to suc­ceed. They must jug­gle the abil­ity to cre­ate quick, present and mean­ing­ful con­tent for the on-the-go user and main­tain a space for ad­ver­tis­ing in that same sphere.

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