Today, even the most resistant old-school publishers know that they need to develop an effective online strategy. According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project study, one of the tipping points occurred last year: More people in the U.S. got their news online for free than paid for it by buying newspapers and magazines. Additionally, there are trends we have seen over the past few years now. Publishers are starting to learn about the differences between the online and offline worlds. They open their media to more authors (for example, what Harvard Business Review is doing with HarvardBusiness.org Voices). They are trying to compete by increasing the amount of free, legally accessible, high-quality content. Hulu, a joint venture between NBC Universal, Inc. and News Corp., offers licensed shows—sometimes in HD—for free. Even for amateurs, the creation and publication of content is becoming routine, as production tools and platforms improve in quality and ease of use. Also, new types of content—such as “what am I doing right now” activity streams—continue to crop up.
However, the other side of this proliferation of new and old media online is that reader attention span is limited. There is an abundance of content that is fragmented all over the internet, and the biggest problem users face today is how to discover relevant, quality content.
To meet this need, online media must contend with the issues of offering more content while reducing production costs and making content more discoverable and relevant for users.