Consumer behaviour has shifted
We live in a digital age and the technological advancements which we have seen over the past 10 years have created unprecedented changes in way that we live our lives. You only need to consider the fact that Amazon Prime can now deliver wine to your door within an hour to see how far we’ve come, or the fact that we rely on the very powerful mobile computer in our pockets every day to manage many aspects of our lives.
However, the impact of technological advancement is also evident in the massive changes that have taken place in the delivery and consumption of ‘traditional’ media channels. Before the digital revolution, content was consumed from printed copy. Video came predominantly through TV and audio across analogue airwaves. Today, content is no longer synonymous with the platform or device on which it is read. It is fluid across platforms and evolves to meet the demands of the changing landscape – changes which have affected all media, but newspapers more than most. People are still forming strong newsbrand habits, but they are platform agnostic, with readers able to consume content across print, desktop and mobile devices.
Additionally, users now expect content which is relevant to their interests. This has been fuelled by a huge increase in content sources and the channels through which they can be discovered. As long as the content that the user is viewing satisfies them, they care less about how they got there.
Newsbrands have diversified
By diversifying their offering Newsbrands have stayed relevant and have kept pace with the way that people are consuming content. Across the board, they have embraced every digital platform that has come along. From the Guardian launching the Guardian Unlimited network of websites as far back as January 1999 (registering one million users by September 1999), to the ‘mobile first’ approach to editorial content development which they have adopted
more recently. Or how about The Sun’s pioneering use of Snapchat to broaden their reach, The Telegraph’s cutting edge innovation with VR projects, or the integration of social content distribution which is prevalent across all newsbrands today. While far from an exhaustive list, this demonstrates that newsbrands are grasping the opportunities to change their offering with an agility that outstrips many other media.
Because of this, the reality of newsbrands today is that their contemporary form is mobile. They exist across platforms on smartphones, tablets and desktops, as well as print. The fact that this may sound like stating the obvious is testament to how well established multi-platform newsbrands now are as part of our tweeting, scrolling, streaming world.
Yet the diversification doesn’t stop there. Newsbrand platforms also stretch into the realms of short and long form video content as well as events, where they create brand interactions and engage with their readers to strengthen emotional connections. Many newsbrands have also developed loyalty programmes and data opportunities which are key areas of strategic importance and offer brands and advertisers opportunities to engage with specific segments of a newsbrand audience.
No one explains this diversification better than Alan Rusbridger on stepping down as Guardian editor: “We still tell stories in text and pictures, but the words are as likely to be in the form of live blogs as stories. We have learned to use moving pictures as well as stills. We work in audio, interactives, data, graphics and any combination of the above. We distribute our journalism across multiple channels, platforms and devices, including live discussion and debate. We’re on the iWatch; we’re in bed with Facebook; we’re still in the corner shop.”
Thanks to the digital revolution and the rise of new technology, newspapers can amplify their content beyond the borders of the paper page and reach bigger (and younger) audiences than was ever possible 10 years ago.
The digital newsbrand ecosystem is strong
Reach figures show that the digital newsbrand ecosystem is strong. With 34million people consuming newsbrand content across mobile or tablet each month, and 13million people consuming on desktop (PAMCo), it is evident that these platforms are in rude health and are contributing significantly to the overall reach of news brands in the UK.