In today’s digital environment, content creators are having to exercise increasing levels of creativity in their quest to reach and engage with target audiences. This means breaking new ground and doing away with old strategies and ways of working.
As forces like the Metaverse become more integrated into our communication channels, the content landscape will inevitably pivot into a more immersive one – with real-time, interactive formats becoming the norm.
But are traditional media and publishing houses prepared for this shift? A recent BBC-led legislative movement working to regulate social media giants such as TikTok, Twitter and Facebook illuminates a broader discussion around what is causing people to embrace these platforms as key news channels. It is this conversation that will inevitably shape how innovators build the ‘content of the future’.
The level of opportunity for content creators is only growing in scale, too. Recent figures illustrate just how well the digital publishing industry has been performing, with revenues in the fourth quarter of 2021 going up 13.4 percent to £174m from 2020 figures. However, the ability to stand out with novel content is becoming increasingly challenging.
Reclaiming the digital media environment
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are now becoming the go-to news source for many consumers, with around 70 percent of Twitter users regarding the platform as their number one source for news updates. Large technology companies are increasingly defining the way the internet works and thereby influence the structure of the entire digital media environment. As such, media outlets are facing an uphill battle in recapturing and retaining consumers in a similar way.
People today want to consume content that is easily accessible, digestible and succinct. This means that creators need to dedicate more attention to how they ‘package’ up and ‘deliver’ their content. Indeed, our own consumer survey looking at media consumption trends showed 27% of Brits check live news updates multiple times per day, with 20% claiming at least once per day.
40% of respondents showed an appetite for mid-length pieces, with 2-6 minutes being the optimum time for reading a news article.Naomi Owusu, CEO and Co-Founder of Tickaroo
The changing nature of content consumption is also reflected in the growth of the digital subscriptions economy, with paid readership climbing 70% in the last two years, and up by 19.1 percent respectively in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The success of platforms like TikTok is due to the variety of available content, as well as the personality behind the message. As a result, we’re seeing a significant transfer in power from platforms and brands to creators, allowing them to be platform-agnostic, self-reliant, and transparent – an industry which is now valued at $104 billion.
Building an ethical content forum for the future
Still, the content of the future needs to be built ethically – a difficult practice when the news agenda moves at break-neck speed. This is especially true when news stories shared on social media platforms are used for political point-scoring as the acceptance and effectiveness of fake news is now a dangerous reality.
As a result, this has fuelled increased news skepticism amongst younger readers in comparison to their + 55-year-old counterparts who seem to be far more trusting of news sources regardless of their credibility.
Regulatory compliances and frameworks may not be enough to combat fake news and disinformation, which is where technology comes into the fold. Liveblogging, for example, gives journalists greater control of their content because they have a technological framework which abides by a seamless adherence to a set of ethical and legal parameters when it comes to content delivery.
Gaining a competitive advantage
While live content feeds often seen on social media platforms speak to a lot of generations, particularly the scroll-centric Gen Z population, there are limits to what it can achieve from a news perspective. The acceleration in paid subscriptions is one illustration of this. Political events like Brexit and Trump’s presidential stint drive audiences to seek clarity, and even more so in the case of Covid-19, where health updates and statistics were regularly sought after. Subscriptions provide more opportunities for engagement, where publishers can learn so much from their readers and then produce increasingly tailored content in the longer term.
Digital media should not have to rely solely on tech conglomerates, but rather understand the ideas that lie beneath their platforms while noticing how smaller players are driving engagement and thriving during difficult times.
The key to news innovation is building content that is digestible and cuts to the chase – not just from an audience perspective, but from a commercial one.Naomi Owusu, CEO and Co-Founder of Tickaroo
The pandemic has squeezed budgets and naturally reduced the number of staff working full time, especially for smaller publications. So how have the smaller and more nimble regional publications gone about making up for this loss in a time of crisis, covering stories that aren’t considered newsworthy for the national papers? They simply found more innovative ways of gaining a competitive advantage – experimenting with different media content platforms to produce high-quality press at a low production cost.
For example, Nordbayern recently used a liveblogging format in Nuremberg, Germany to cover the art event known as “Blaue Nacht” in 2022 – a huge cultural exhibition stretching across the city, covering over 200 art installations. This was especially significant for the city in light of the prolonged event drought due to Covid-19, and is an example of how smaller publications have exploited technology to explore new formats and storytelling avenues without much risk, and helps them mobilise authentic content in a way that is increasingly personalised.
For the international stories that matter to the regional publications, liveblogs enable them to gain access to live news, without having to spend significant amounts on sending a reporter there. This not only allowed Nordbayern, for example, to have a say in what happened at the US election, but enabled them to leverage technology to suit their regional audience, by including more relevant information to these live feeds. For example, some of the papers in Bavaria added additional information about what certain election outcomes could mean for the US military stationed in the state, as well as what economic impacts that could have on the local German towns that surrounded them.
Factors like content authenticity and relatability, social media monetisation, increased internet penetration are the variables that have led to the creator economy’s gold rush. In the midst of all this it’s clear to see why fast, effective and digestible content delivery is becoming a secret weapon for many media outlets as we continue to witness ‘news’ delivery as the media industry’s next big battleground.
CEO and Co-Founder, Tickaroo
Tickaroo (tickaroo.com) is a multimedia liveblogging platform. In the B2B sector, Tickaroo’s software solution “Live Blog” is targeted toward media houses, larger companies, and professional sports reporters. With this product, the Regensburg-based company provides a live-content software solution that combines professional digital storytelling and live reporting. Customers include Der Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung and RND. Over 72,000 journalists rely on its digital publishing software, which is available as a native app and web application.