New world; old world
We often reflect on how striking it was how the internet shook the old publishing world to its core and how a number of older organisation failed to react to the change in media distribution. A number like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, BBC moved with the times and retained their leadership in terms of readership in this new media space but a larger number simply did not move fast enough and have never recovered.
A second shift, the so-called Web 2.0 is moving through the internet and challenging these brands again to become more collaborative and interactive with their readers rather than just a broadcast medium. This will filter out still more of the old giants and is already adding to the list of 'new' players to emerge (you know who they are!).
A third wave is coming and this time it is mobile. How many will evolve with the times and retain their leadership and how many will fall by the wayside is still to be determined but I have been fascinated by some of the recent M:Metrics data about readership patterns on mobile which suggests that a fundamental shift is already taking place which relegates some of the established brands to the second tier.
Looking at May 2008 data for M:Metrics it is fascinating to see that the leading news provider through mobile is not CNN, ESPN, NYT, USA Today, ABC, CBS or Fox.
It is actually Yahoo! followed closely by Google.
One could argue that the latter are powered by the older brands but the end user associates his news reading experience with Google and Yahoo! CNN and ESPN are the only two older brands that come close.
This was a surprise to me. Google and Yahoo! are already the leading news brands in the mobile space. The older players have been pushed aside - this is already the past tense. Is this common knowledge and we've been asleep?
The situation in the UK is not as clear cut by any stretch and according to some customers, it is the operator that provides the news rather than any of the established players. Leadership remains with the BBC followed by Sky but Google's growth (in particular) is impressive.
So, in the mobile space, we are likely to have a number of emerging brands break into the space (*fingers crossed*) and just as surely we will see some household names begin to disappear and indeed this leadership has already changed hands to newer players in a key content market.
We were led into thinking about this in a little more detail while considering how to help extend and expand the titles available within Mippin. We were looking at the magazine publishers in particular across a wide range of genres. These are very well known brands which could find an audience in the mobile space. It is impressive how many of them are still to develop meaningful web presence and still more yet to embrace RSS.
We use RSS as the neatest and tidiest way to deliver content formatted to your device, whatever it happens to be and yet we are often thwarted by publishers who make it illegal to deliver that content to you (Guardian), others that simply do not have an RSS feed (Maxim) and a number that divulge only very limited information through that feed (ESPN).
This will change. We believe that for publishers to compete they need to deliver to all three mega-trends by (i) having a meaningful web experience (ii) collaborating with their readership and finding ways for the readership to connect with one another and (iii) by having a decent mobile presence.
We hope that a large number of brands begin to mirror the forward thinkers: the independent bloggers, the blogging aggregators such as Shiny Media but also large brands like Reuters all of whom syndicate aggressively through RSS to grow their web presence both on PC and (using the Mippin Maker to) mobile as well as increasing interaction around their content. At the moment, using the 80:20 rule, the magazine publishers will not survive this next new media cycle if they continue to define themselves as magazine publishers.
Research last year stated that two-thirds of all publishers were syndicating through RSS. This is a great start - now more of them should do so with more confidence, enriching those feeds with more content and content types (such as video and audio). If the content is good, customer loyalty can still be built this way and arguably more strongly and across a far larger footprint than has previously been possible.
If we are missing a site on Mippin that you love, drop us a line through the feedback link at the bottom of every page or simply type the URL into the search box. If there is a feed attached to that URL let Mippin work its magic.