Friday, March 02, 2012

Readers are consuming content how, when and how long they please

The founder of Longreads, Mark Armstrong, mused recently about how publishers and editors might change the ecosystem and evolve into something that emphasizes quality of journalism over quantity. Not surprising, really, from someone who thinks the pleasures of curling up with a good, long read is a recurring pleasure still enjoyed by many, in contrast to the "hot dog terrordrome" by which readers are bombarded online. He describes it as
  • A place where it is sprayed at you faster than you can consume it;
  • A world where there are just two profitable modes of operation: Faster, and more;
  • A business where the accepted distribution strategy is one in which publishers are forced to drop their most valuable product into a cannon and fire as many rounds as possible at its audience, no matter whether they can even consume it (and, importantly, no way to tell whether they did consume it).
  • Where no one is happy with the results.
"One answer, which I’ll present here in completely biased fashion, is to give control back to the consumers of this content. Let people take content with them, and they will soon value it more highly than if it is shot at them. Content creators will be rewarded with a longer social lifespan for the stories and videos they work so hard to create. And that ultimately lifts the value of a media brand. I believe this is actually possible."
He points out that readers now have available to them the tools that allow them to save, and read and later share what they like at a time and place of their choosing. He gives an example Read It Later, an application for which he is an editorial advisor (and a free service which I use daily).
"As we start to dig into consumption patterns, we see that users are controlling when and how they engage with content. It doesn’t mean there’s less of it, and the content is still being shot at us, but we now have tools to help capture this content and put it to use when the moment is right."

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