Dear Digital Publisher..
Almost all of us woke up and got out of our bedrooms with one common sight. Our fathers sitting on the porch, drinking hot coffee, one leg on top of the other and gazing through the days’ newspaper with their bifocals. It became a ritual: morning coffee and the newspaper. That may very well be the reason why India is bucking the trend of going digital and actually buying more printed newspapers than ever.
But, there is no question about where the world is heading towards. Print is seeing a steady decline around the world while digital has been gaining ground in leaps and bounds. Digital has the advantage of “being where the consumer wants it to be”.
Readers now consume content on their mobile phones whilst commuting to work, as a podcast during a gym workout, being read out loud by an Alexa or Google Home, or by stealing a glance at their watch to get the latest breaking news while listening to the elevator music. Content consumption modes crossed new boundaries in the last few years. News and updates also sneak into the consumers personal social feeds like Facebook and Twitter. It is as if the digital content consumption is an ongoing high stakes game of football, where the goalpost moves every time you try to score.
Remember that day when Apple unveiled the iPhone and then the iWatch? Or the day when “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing” went live? When Google decided to nuke websites and started promoting AMP and AMP Stories? When Facebook decided to serve web pages themselves as Instant Articles?
Google and Facebook changed the game when it came to “fast content delivery”, they wanted to make it even faster than all the optimisations that you can build onto your own website. They decided to take a stripped down, highly optimised version your content, host it themselves and “accelerate” the delivery to the user making it almost “instant”.
Chasing after new technology is a hassle that you, as a publishing house, should avoid. That new tech which you just invested in last week? It might be a wet squib after all.
Having an in-house tech team that keeps abreast with the technology, or diverting assets to technological development can be a tall order for a publishing house. The core competency of such an entity is the content that gets created.
Content is where a publisher innovates, for everything else you find the right partner.