Traditional media publishers are finding digital publishing to be a lot more dynamic than print ever was. Even when television emerged as the primary way that advertisers reached mass audiences, nothing about the marketing part of the technology changed for decades. Any changes that would occur in print, radio, or television were relatively easy to see coming and media publishers could adapt, and even innovate newer versions, of these technologies before they were adopted by the public at large.
But according to MediaShift.org, advertising platforms are expanding and the traditional media is having a hard time keeping up with the changes. Social media platforms are not only taking over the way people communicate, but they are altering how advertisers reach their target audiences. Technology and the Internet are constantly changing the way that people get information, and legacy publishers need to start adapting or they could find themselves losing out on large chunks of their valuable advertising audience.
Social Media Platforms
According to Newsosaur.com, Facebook and Twitter are only the beginning when it comes to viable and powerful social media platforms. Traditional publishers could work with Twitter and Facebook because placing advertising on those platforms was relatively simple. But when consumers started to use those platforms as their primary source for news and new information, newspaper publishers suddenly found themselves competing with social media in ways that were difficult to quantify.
To make things worse, new platforms such as Vine and Snapchat are extremely difficult to monetize, and difficult for traditional publishers to penetrate. Anyone can upload a quick video of a current event to the Vine app, and the world has been publishing pictures to Snapchat for a while now. This instant availability of information is threatening to squeeze out traditional publishers that have not taken the time to determine how to get the Internet to work in their favor.
If publishers are going to compete with new social media platforms, then they are going to need to get the users of those platforms on their side. Since it is the users posting the content to these new platforms, publishers are going to need to find a way to interact with those users in a manner that can not only bring value to the users, but bring revenue to the publisher.
Google Glass was supposed to change the way that people looked at clothing accessories, but it never really took off. Now Apple is betting on its own wearable technology that it claims will offer more personalized services to users than any other type of device. The Apple Watch can be a phone, a watch, a calculator, and an Internet-enabled media device. The Apple Watch is also more readily available than a smartphone or tablet, which means that the Apple Watch is delivering information to users ahead of the mobile platforms that traditional publishers are still trying to figure out.
The wearable gadgets market is growing rapidly to include workout clothing, therapeutic accessories, and health monitoring devices. But what is really going to cause traditional publishers problems is the ability of a smart watch to deliver news quickly in a format that cannot be monetized. Apple is working with several publishers to develop one-sentence news formats that reach millions of consumers, but that leaves out thousands of other publishers who want to reach those same audiences with their information.
Offering information on wearable technology is going to be difficult for publishers to figure out. This is especially true for technology that is built for specific reasons such as monitoring health, or assisting in developing exercise routines. How are publishers going to deliver information to those formats? The problem is compounded by the fact that advertisers can already deliver pricing information on supplements and other health items to people using wearable gadgets to exercise and lose weight. If that audience can get their information directly from their wristwatch, then why would they need to log onto a smartphone and read an online ad?
Internet-Enabled Home Devices
These days, people can control their thermostat, home security systems, and even their toaster through an app on their phone. The advertising within those apps can sell all sorts of related products that can help the app owner to expand revenue, but it leaves publishers out in the cold. Once again, why would someone want to log onto an online ad to read about the latest in home appliances when they already get that information from their toaster app?
It sounds a little crazy, but Internet-enabled home devices are becoming a very real threat to news publishers. These are devices that users come into contact with every day, and offer information in formats that newspapers cannot. The question of how to present more valuable information about home security services than the user can get from their home security app becomes one that publishers must answer.
The biggest threats to traditional publishers are those advances in technology that create isolated opportunities for unlimited transactions. Apple has been working on a car that can drive itself, which is really not a surprise. But what is a surprise is the advertising opportunities a vehicle like this presents to Apple.
Why would a consumer need a newspaper when they can get the latest news automatically from their car in the morning? The consumer in an automated car is a captive audience that can be subjected to any type of advertising Apple chooses. If something like an automated car becomes popular, it could shut publishers out of an advertising opportunity that could cost them billions of dollars.
Technology is presenting a wider array of advertising options than ever before, and none of these new options involve the publishing industry. If the publishing industry wants to try and retain its advertising revenue base, then it is going to need to find ways to present information that these new formats cannot. But with the captive nature of these new platforms, it is difficult to see how traditional publishers will break through and maintain their advertising base.
George N Root III is a professional freelance writer who has expertise in topics such as Internet marketing, business, advertising, and personal finance.