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2015: The news media industry ushers in “The Year of the Geek”

11 January 2015 · by Peter Marsh

If 2014 is any indication, 2015 will be awash in technological and digital advances. Publishers will need to be versed in relevant acronyms that will become part of the daily vernacular.

Trend setting acronyms within virtual reality journalism, cost per action, conversion rate optimization, and the future of content.

The number 2015 is a palindrome in binary (11111011111). Just ask Sheldon, Leonard, Amy, or anyone in your IT department. Do we need any clearer sign that 2015 will be heralded as “The Year of the Geek?”

We can look back at 2014 as the year media companies began experimenting with – and, in some cases, launching – initiatives that focused on things like wearable technologies, robot journalism, algorithmic news curation, and programmatic trading.

Early predictions indicate that 2015 is bound to see even greater advances in the meaningful and money-making coalescence between news publishing and technology.

Therefore, it seems totally appropriate to kick off 2015 with a not-so-big bang by listing several three-letter acronyms that every tech savvy media executive should pay attention to this year. In roughly alphabetical order, here it goes:

BSI (Build Security In): BSI is a set of principles, practices, rules, and tools to design software systems that enhance resistance to vulnerabilities, flaws, and attacks.

With the recent cyber attacks against Sony Pictures, and the extended threats to news media organisations, it is vitally important that we raise the bar for software security to a higher level than ever before.

BSI is a collaborative effort that provides resources for software developers, architects, IT managers, and security practitioners to use in assuring security throughout every phase of software design, development, and deployment.

COS (Content Optimisation System): When you take a content management system and optimise it so that it can deliver the most personalised and contextually relevant experience for your visitors, you have a COS.

Creating a COS – or turning your current CMS into a COS – should be one of the key goals of every media company’s Web publishing platform.

CPA (Cost Per Action): CPA is an advertising pricing model where an advertiser pays for each specific action someone takes on an ad. These actions can include clicking on an ad, completing a form, or making a purchase.

Advertisers often prefer CPA to traditional pricing models like CPM (cost per one-thousand impressions), mainly because cost-per-action ties more closely to conversion. The thinking is that if a consumer takes an action, he or she is more likely to buy the product or service the advertiser is offering.

Other relatively new pricing models that are gaining in popularity for 2015 include CPE (cost-per-engagement) and CPF (cost-per-follower/fan) for social media, CPI (cost-per-app install) for mobile, and CPV (cost-per-view) for online video.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation): Combining the two concepts above, CRO is the process of improving your Web or mobile site’s conversion rate by using design techniques, key optimisation principles, and A/B testing.

For media companies, the goal of CRO is to get a higher percentage of your Web visitors to take actions such as signing up for an event, responding to an article, interacting with an ad, or becoming a subscriber.

DSP (Demand-Side Platform): A DSP is a software technology that centralises ad buying and planning. In short, a DSP allows agencies and advertisers to purchase ad inventory in an automated – often called programmatic – manner.

The idea behind a DSP is to create an efficient tool to purchase media, where impressions can be bought across multiple publishers and according to demographics, location, and other data.

DSPs became popular when advertisers and agencies decided they did not want to pay online ad buyers to negotiate with media company sales reps on things like ad pricing and scheduling. DSP technology automates the whole negotiating and ad buying process, and ostensibly makes online ad sales more efficient and cost-effective.

SSP (Supply-Side Platform): The advent of DSPs created a challenge for media companies, mainly because such automated technology runs the risk of driving down the value of publishers’ inventory. Therefore, SSPs were invented to help publishers maintain the value of their inventory and to more efficiently sell ads through multiple ad networks and buyers. 

An SSP is a centralised way for publishers to automate and optimise media buys. SSPs are basically publisher equivalents of DSPs. The SSP model is designed for publishers who have inventory to sell, whereas DSPs are designed as trading platforms for advertisers and agencies.

Publishers use an SSP to manage their ad inventory and maximise revenue from impressions. Today, publishers rely on SSPs to sell inventory that their sales teams are unable to sell.

SSPs are also being used more and more as “traffic cops.” Rather than selling the inventory, the SSPs help in serving and tracking ad campaigns sold directly by the media company’s sales teams.

VRJ (Virtual Reality Journalism): Saving the geekiest for last, VRJ is truly all the rage for 2015. Thanks to immersive 3D consumer technologies like Oculus Rift, Canon MREAL, and Sony Morpheus, news consumption is becoming a virtual reality experience. 

If you’re not familiar with VRJ, just take a look at the Harvest of Change project that The Des Moines Register and Gannett Digital created this past September.

Using 360-degree video and virtual reality technology from Oculus, this VRJ project is an immersive form of non-fiction storytelling that gives users a first-person, full-body experience of life inside a family farm in Iowa.

As Mitch Gelman, Gannett Digital vice president of product, said in a recent interview with Poynter, “This is the way we, as journalists, are going to need to communicate to the Minecraft generation.”

To be sure, this list is merely the tip of the TLA iceberg. We’ve barely scratched the surface of your Surface. Please send your favourite media technology acronyms to info@newscycle.com and we’ll provide an update in a future Ahead of the Curve blog.

In the meantime, “QISmaS botIvjaj 'ej DIS chu' botIvjaj” … that’s Happy New Year in Klingon.

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