May 1, 2011

Five Digital Media Disruptions That Have Knocked Down Traditional Media

Digital media is evolving at a rapid pace. Traditional media is being (to certain extent) replaced by new social tools like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and many others. Over the past decade, we have witnessed a growing shift in readership and advertising from traditional media (print, radio, and TV) to digital. I have outlined five of the most notable digital media disruptions that reflect the shift from traditional to digital. 

1. New Aggregation Models

Digital has offered new models for aggregating, curating and delivering content on the web and on mobile devices. RSS, Twitter and Tumblr are popular for aggregating content in an individual way, while more formal aggregators such as Techmeme let third-party editors do it for them. Not to forget the much hyped iPad, a number of news-reading apps such as Flipboard and Pulse aggregate news from RSS and social networks and present them in a magazine-style format. 

2. Reporting and Distribution

Digital has disrupted the way news is distributed among users. Platforms like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook have long been playing significant roles in news reporting and distribution. These tools help journalists tell stories, engage audiences and expand their reach. Needless to say, the role Facebook and Twitter have played in helping journalists in North Africa and the Middle East gather relevant sources of information. 

News organizations such as The Atlantic and Newsweek are using Tumblr to tell the stories, start conversations with readers, and curate and share third-party content. Other tools like Photo-sharing iPhone app Instagram is used widely to distribute topical images, while Storify is helping news organizations tell stories by pulling together a variety of different sources in a single, embeddable format. A noteworthy example is the way, a news startup in Washington D.C., has integrated social media and enlisted a community of bloggers into the newsgathering and production process, creating a collaborative reporting environment.

3. Brands are Becoming Media

Brands are now offered with so many platforms and tools that have made it easier and more affordable for them to create and distribute their own content, and in turn becoming their own media. Brands are now keener on announcing their news via their Twitter accounts and blogs, rather than through formal press releases. Lady Gaga premiered her latest music video not through VH1 or MTV, but on Vevo.  

4. Social Networks are Editors

Platforms like Twitter can actually become our editor. Previously newspaper editors were the ones who decided what the public should read. Now people can turn to their social networks to find out.

5. Multi-platform Subscription

Because consumers are using content on various devices from laptops to smartphones to tablets, publishers are now offering subscription packages that allow users to access content on all of those devices for one fee. The Economist, for instance, currently offers access to its iPhone and iPad apps for free with a print or digital subscription.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let me know in the comments below.

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