Traditional print media has been severely shaken by the digital revolution that has pushed the industry into a downward spiral. Most media voices have lamented the loss of power and prowess and the entire industry is being catapulted into unfamiliar territory. Publications with golden traditions have had to re-imagine and redevelop their trade and embrace the digital revolution.
Apart from The New York Times’ quite successful digital media experiment in Latin America, most traditional news agencies have been reluctant to play the digital game.
Thus there is room for hope and one would like to think traditionally high profile news agencies will seize the opportunities provided by the digital revolution.
But how can an industry that is fed by print advertising revenue survive in the digital world? How will traditional media businesses actively participate in the digital revolution and monetize their print content in a digital world?
The Challenges and Opportunities of the Digital Era
Traditional publishers and broadcasters have seen their power wane relentlessly. Before the digital evolution, broadcasters and publishers held all the power. Viewers and readers were restricted in their choice of print media and TV channels and bigger newspapers and the best known broadcasters enjoyed higher distribution and revenue and greater power to monetize through the sale of advertising. All of these advantages have all but vanished as viewers and readers are now in a position to access media online from an enormous number of sources, all just a click away.
Social Media have further eroded the power structures of traditional media empires by allowing audiences to access and distribute news content. The way consumers access news content has changed entirely and publishers and broadcasters must now provide different content for a completely new type of reader or viewer.
To find some way of catering for the new consumer, publishers and broadcaster have been furiously creating bite-sized, easily digestible, compelling and shareable news items including some sensationalist content in an attempt to lure readers back and ultimately sell advertising.
While bite-sized, essentially sensationalist news items may work to engage in the short-term, there is also a growing awareness, that people still hunger for the top quality content provided in traditional newspapers.
In that sense, there is reason for hope and optimism and however much traditional publishers and broadcasters may be dragging their feet in embracing the digital revolution, the new age has brought a plethora of advantages and opportunities that would never have otherwise emerged.
The distribution cost of media content has been reduced to practically nothing and the global nature of the internet has produced a global audience for anyone who has content to share.
The importance and impact of quality content is however not to be underestimated. Clickbait type news have failed to capture in the long run and providing quality content is once again becoming key, much to the delight of traditional media businesses.
How Digital Content will be Monetised
Particularly young people seem to have embraced the concept of consuming digital media news, and publishers have started to adapt their content accordingly. Media research has however also indicated that in-depth content of 3’000 words or more is more likely to be shared and provide advertising revenue and serious journalists and broadcasters will take much comfort from such findings. Advertisers will take note too and return to supporting strong, detailed and informative content.
The digital revolution need not spell the end of subscription revenue either. Publishers can provide some content free of charge on their website and apply traditional subscription fees for the rest. Both will bring advertising sales opportunities and publishers only need to smartly choose which content suits which platform. A loyal readership will always be willing to pay for good quality content.
What Does the Future Hold?
The next wave of major change will come when Google, FaceBook and Amazon start to muscle in on the news market and vye for a share thereof. Of late, users are allow to monetize their Facebook news feed with videos, leaving a large proportion of the profits with advertisers. Google and Amazon are set to follow suit and render the exclusive news provider even more powerful when it comes to selling advertising space and gaining revenue.
The world of media news may have changed, but the hunger for quality journalism remains, and the enormous savings in distribution costs will allow traditional publishers and broadcasters to confidently remain a strong force in the provision of news to a now global audience.
And when monetizing social media content really goes in full flight, we will witness a return to exclusive media and a boost in advertising revenue.
Publishers and broadcaster only need to harness the change and grow with it.
Every decade has seen major innovations in computing and a continual evolution of software, programming, network communication and user interaction.
In the 1990’s it was the rise of the internet and browser based applications as well as portable computing. During the 2000’s (noughties) smart touch device and SaaS came on stream and today, a new platform is being built with data intelligence combining software and cloud computing.
One could define this as a transition from software to dataware. Apps are no longer predictable programs but intelligent, data-trained systems. Application intelligence, microservices/serverless infrastructure and new user interfaces will determine how we use and benefit from intelligent apps in the future.
During the 1990s internet applications offering users search and e-commerce tools emerged and the old trusted PC had to give way to the elegant laptop.
The 2000’s saw the transition from client-server to Software-as-a-Service and the emergence of Amazon Web Services and Elastic Cloud Computer Service initiated the transition from hardware to software service.
Smart mobile devices were launched and quickly brought an array of apps. Apple entered the market with the iPhone in 2007 and the App Store followed quickly. Google launched the Android ecosystem to compete and apps were built to run on these smart devices. iPads, Kindles and Surfaces became available and interfaces grew increasingly more complex. The traditional keyboard soon had to give way to touch screen technology and developers began to build apps to suit the new devices.
Now, in 2016, we are witnessing the dawn of a new era in app construction, access and use. Apps are evolving from “software programs” to “dataware learners”.
Traditionally, software was designed and programed to carry out tasks and run predictably. However, this is about to change with the creation of intelligent dataware which sees a computer system continuously collect data, learn and make predictions. In short, traditional software is programmed while dataware is trained and predictive. Users are already familiar dataware in searches, predictive texting and credit card payment security and it is believed that soon, all apps will be intelligent apps.
The shift from software to dataware is underlined by three forces:
Intelligent applications collect and use data and anticipate interactions between user and device. Innovative data and metadata store, data intelligence systems and predictive intelligence are combined and connected on a constant feedback loop continually improving the performance of intelligent apps.
Microservices and Serverless Functions
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), using microservice building blocks, communicate machine-to-machine and enable traditional apps to exchange information and interact with each other. “Bots” allow them to perform specific functions like calling a car service automatically via an underlying communication platform.
These serverless functions are a form of microservice and form the basis on which applications function, interact and process data and complete tasks for users without the user having to necessarily be involved in the specific process.
Natural User Interface
While touch represented a revolution in user interface technology, voice is the new kid on the block. Platforms like Alexa, Cortana and Siri already have more than 1’000 voice-activated skills. Voice and visual interfaces will dominate how people interact with applications. Touch technology is set to evolve further and soon it will feel natural to ask a device to open a file or play your favourite song.
Dataware Platform Challenges
- SaaS No Longer Suffices
The emerging new intelligent applications will no longer be able run on monolithic SaaS systems and SaaS will need to be modernized to include data intelligence and microservice components.
- Data Access and Rights
In order to function properly, intelligent apps will require access and the right to use personal data and this needs some form of regulation.
- Multi-sense Interfaces
The coming years will see a further evolution of interface technology with the emergence of speech, vision and motion-sensor technology.
Over the next decade, the three trends outlined will see the transition from software applications to dataware learners and shape the future of user-device interaction. Multisense technology and intelligent application will change the way we live our lives once more.