"It's a straight-forward primer for anyone confused about the muddle of digital options facing them nowadays."
The MP3 audio of the interview with its author, Scott Fox, is worth listening to. The most important take-away from the book is that marketers should not "waste energy trying to get customers to their own Web sites, but to get online and find customers where they are already hanging out" (Publishers Weekly). That makes me question the wisdom of focusing on attracting more users to public broadcasting stations' own websites. Are we still in the old mentality of thinking content and its delivery platform together? Content and delivery platform have decoupled in the digital age. Public broadcasters are content providers thus should attract users to their content, not necessarily their websites. Instead of having each station to spend enormous resources on building and promoting its web site, a more effective strategy may be to place the content where there is already an online crowd. It may be also time to build a public media cyber "mall" where each station has a content shop. The "mall" has several advantages:
- Less expensive to build and promote. The average cost per station will be much less than the cost for a station to build and promote its own web site.
- More cross promotion opportunities for stations. Broadcasters and/or listeners can play the role of curators and point audience members of one program to other programs they may also like.
- More convenient and useful for the audience. They can do one-stop shopping for their media need and have more and better programming choices.
- Encourage internal competition and collaboration. Stations will feel less isolated but a part of something bigger and greater. Competition and collaboration will lead to more innovation and higher quality programming.
Michael van Poppel became famous after "came into possession of a full video of an Osama Bin Laden statement before any of the major news outlets had it, and sold it to Reuters." His Breaking News Online became a popular Twitter service and has just released an iPhone app. "The BNO app will cost $1.99 to download. Even crazier, BNO says it will charge an ongoing subscription fee of 99 cents per month for breaking news updates."
BNO is an aggregator and does little original reporting (even though it says it'll add more original reporting). So what's the significance of its app? First, it uses push notification technology that allows users to receive BNO news even when they are not using the app or their iPhones are off. This automatic alert feature is great convenience and attraction for news junkies. Second, BNO dares to charge money for aggregated news. It's controversial, but someone has to try it. If BNO's business model proves to be sustainable, it'll be a great example for other media organizations to follow.
#3: Consumers Spending More in Paid Media Than Ad Supported: VSS Study
"Consumers last year for the first time spent more time with media they paid for, like books or cable TV, than with primarily ad-supported media, like newspapers and magazines." According to John Suhler, Co-founder, President and General Partner of VSS, "this development is a culmination of two decades of this secular shift towards consumer-controlled media, and shows no signs of slowing."
"Consumer-controlled media." That's the key to understanding the digital age. Upset by the amount of ads in "free" content and pressured by the scarcity of their "free" time, many audience members have reached the stage where they're willing to pay for quality time provided by excellent media content. The continuation of the trend will make it easier for content providers including public broadcasters to charge for content. The key is to figure out what content an audience is WILLING to pay for.
#4: Microsoft Details How to Port IPhone Apps to Windows Mobile
"Microsoft has published a case study detailing how to port an iPhone application to its Windows Mobile platform as it prepares to launch an online store for mobile applications to compete with Apple."
For me this signals the trend that mobile applications eventually will become platform-free, much like what happened to software that has become operating system free (e.g. a document can be read in either PC or Mac). As a result, the mobile devices people use will have less and less limitation on what content they can access, and content providers will have less worry about delivery platforms, but should focus more on the quality of their content.