Finding digital gold involves better content, not more platforms


Research everywhere is telling us that offline media will decrease and the digital area will grow faster than every other market in the past.

Compared to the digital world, offline consumption and distribution of content was easy and simple. You print a newspaper or a magazine and send it out via mail (subscriptions) or newsstands (single sales). The point of sales were established at the main consumer traffic points where offer and demand fit perfectly.

The “all is possible” and “everything changes overnight” world of digital media is a huge challenge for market players who look back on a stable history of more than 60 years.

Now these companies have to execute decisions several times a year — mostly based on trial and error, because the market and, in particular, consumer needs, are still in flux.

But are there trends anywhere on the horizon? Trends that aren’t dead before they are alive?

Because of limited resources (time, staff, money), the digital media channel a company chooses is key for a successful setup. The next most important question should be: What kind of product(s) should we offer to the user? And when?

Instead, too many news companies are running a strategy of ubiquity by making their content available on every operating system (OS) platform (Apple, Android, and Windows 8), and on every device (PC, tablet, and smartphone).

The problem with this strategy: Most of the time, an individual user values only one OS, one device, and one combination.

And that means ubiquity has no value for most — nearly 100% — of users.

This wouldn’t be a problem if the content were great, nearly perfect. But the truth is most of the investment goes toward enabling new channels rather than creating and executing the best product a company can offer.

The competition on every device class is so high that 70% perfect products will fail immediately.

And on which channel should a company focus? Let’s have a look at the three main options:

  1. PCs: Sales are decreasing; apps are not used; browsing and paid content are enemies; search dominates the content demand.

  2. Smartphones: Usage will pass the PC; content products are used; paid content is accepted; app stores control the distribution.

  3. Tablets: Young but increasing market; high-value content products; format and usage near offline print.

If the first reflex is to reach for low content pricing, smartphones will be the right choice. If your product should be positioned on a higher price point, tablets are the best channel to distribute your products.

But why are only 16% of all sales on tablets newspapers and magazines? From my point of view, because the products are only second-best.

The potential is waiting for you!

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