There has been fragmentation of the distribution channels for news from printed newspaper, TV, and radio to digital channels such as Web and mobile. The smarthome devices such as Alexa are far from reaching their potential. And, of course, there is a huge growth of wearables: My Apple watch is only taken off to sleep (and that will probably change when sleep apps become better) and my airpods are never far away.
As I have been running the INMA XR series, I realise how close we are to getting glasses that are ready for consumer adoption. Oculus had a great Christmas as Benedict Evans wrote: “The companion app was at the top of the app store charts on Christmas Day, and the analytics firms are now guesstimating 2m downloads (late last year Qualcomm revealed FB had sold about 10m units in 18 months).”
But it’s not all about new devices. It’s that we’re moving away from screens. Partly that’s about what the new devices enable people to do. I take walks without my mobile and am still able to talk to friends using airpods and a watch. If I pass a store, I can use ApplePay on my watch.
Related, consumer expectations are different. News has become a commodity. Insights are more valuable. And insights in relation to the individual consumer even more so. At news organisations, we have a wealth of expertise that we have tapped into from a content point of view but not always a product point of view.
Just think about The New York Times Cooking. Despite the plethora of recipes available online, enough people feel The New York Times channel gives them what they need, solves a problem, and they are willing to pay for it. And by buying Wirecutter, they solve another user problem: What product/brand should I buy? It gives advice that people can rely on. It saves time doing the research.
With all this in mind, here are some of the questions I’ll be asking:
How can we think about bringing news off-screen onto other devices?
What products are related to our in-house expertise that can be used outside of news, both to inform and to entertain?
What tools and utilities could you offer readers to help with their lives?
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