Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Checking out the Competition! Let's Take a Look at Four New Digital Platforms Demanding Publishers' Attention

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Checking out the Competition! Let's Take a Look at Four New Digital Platforms Demanding Publishers' Attention

Article excerpt

As if the Web, mobile and social media were not enough to worry about, four new digital platforms are emerging to challenge the legacy publishers and broadcasters struggling to preserve the audiences and ad dollars that made them mighty.

The emerging technologies are next-gen messaging platforms, wearable technology, the Internet of things and automated automobiles.

A case can be made for developing new content and advertising formats for each of these broad categories, which represent hundreds of products and endless permutations. I will make a qualified case for doing so in a minute. First, a reality check: How can broadcasters and publishers focused on tending their legacy businesses afford the time and resources to research, develop and market products for the new platforms? The answer, of course, is that they can't.

The good news is that, with one notable exception, they have time to observe the ways consumers interact with the still-maturing technologies. But make no mistake: These platforms are direct competitors for the time and attention that consumers spend with traditional media.

So, let's meet the competition.

Next-Gen Messaging Platforms

The exceptions to the wait-and-see approach mentioned above are the new messaging apps that compete with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and the other platforms people used in the Paleozoic era of social media. The next-gen social sites, which deserve the immediate attention of legacy media companies, include Instagram, WhatsApp, Vine, Snapchat and others likely to turn up after I hit the send button on this article. (It should be noted that Facebook and Twitter, who are decidedly hip to the caprice of their audiences, have purchased all but Snapchat.) To see how some legacy media companies already have adapted to Snapchat, look at the Discover section of its app.

Wearable Technology

While the makers of Fitbit, Pebble and Google Glass have been pursuing widespread consumer acceptance over the years, the introduction of the Apple Watch in April is bound to rivet new attention on interactive wearable devices, thanks to the free publicity the media showered on the Apple launch. After attracting a fair share of ink in its own right, Google Glass faltered for want of technical polish and, even worse, for want of widespread consumer enthusiasm. While the Apple Watch could prove to be a dud, the increasing appeal of intimate of personal technology--like undies that monitor your pecs and perspiration (liveathos.com)--seems to suggest that selfies alone will not suffice to sate the narcissism of our species. …

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