It’s the “me” generation. We’ve read multiple blog postings to that effect (for example, here, here, and here). It seems like every generation that comes after yours is more selfish. How many times have our parents said, “Back in my day … ?” 

Well, the truth is, the cycle repeats itself. In reality, we’re all adapting to the options, economy, and technology that are available for our reality. To that end, every generation was the “me” generation and every generation will be the “me” generation.

The difference is how technology solves their problems and the options they have for their lives.

It appears that the pay-per-article platform Blendle is going to launch in the United States. People are confused by Blendle a bit and asking, “Who would pay a nominal amount on a per-article basis?”

It sounds very similar to the “Who would pay a nominal amount on a per-song basis?” Enter iTunes: It isn’t about the money; it’s about the options and the niche it serves.

The question we should be asking ourselves today is, “Who would pay for (and see value in receiving and consuming) every print edition, our e-edition, our special ‘behind the member gate’ enhanced content, and our archives?”

This question is especially poignant when we see that today’s “me” generation has less trust in traditional/mass media. Working with my colleagues, we found that according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer released in January 2015, Google led the pack of search engines and became the most trusted source of news globally. Meanwhile, trust in traditional media has continued to decline along with the brand equity publishers have been investing in for decades.

Trust in mass media keeps decreasing.
Trust in mass media keeps decreasing.

 

Millennials are more trusting of search engines than traditional media.
Millennials are more trusting of search engines than traditional media.

Realise this is a middle man, but a middle man to your content. The issue is not your journalism; the issue is where that content is found to be consumed.

Parse.ly shared that social media drove more traffic to digital publishers than search. Conversely, Define Media Group reports that social is growing, yet search is still driving more traffic to their clients’ news sites.

Whichever side of the data you’re looking at, the only thing that is consistent is that news sites or traditional media aren’t even in the running.

Facebook is the top referral site.
Facebook is the top referral site.

So although my initial rant is similar to what many of us are saying, it still seems as though we’re trying to not only bring the horse to water, but also drown it forcefully.

As I seem to be referring to several blogs, I’ll remind you of my blog post about a customised relationship with your media audience. This post discusses personalisation, but really it’s about solving a problem. The problem is that younger readers aren’t consuming or trusting your content in the original package you’ve created for it.

If you are still continuing with your products assuming it’s business as usual – the “write it and they will read it” mentality – while not offering the opportunity for people to consume your content in either the bundles (or Blendles – sorry, it was too easy) or vehicles they want, you will, without a doubt, continue to see trends like these chip away at your business.

Quality journalism is not changing. The concept and execution of it remain. What is changing is the container from which your quality journalism is consumed. As one cannot consume a meal with just a cup, publishers need to consider the full table setting of options for how to consume your tasty journalism. Or starve to death.