Publishing, at its heart, is the business of sharing stories – and we now live in a golden age in which publishers can engage with readers through more channels than ever before. This demands confidence in delivering stories across multiple platforms, creating unique content for each format while preserving the content’s integrity.

During the last decade, the explosion of digital content has radically transformed the publishing industry. More rich-media, more short-form content, and more economical ways of delivering content to mobile devices are just a few of the changes happening across the industry. As print magazines and newspapers have continued to wane in both number and influence, online content has stepped into the limelight, capturing new audiences, readers and the advertising dollars that publishers seek.

Fueled by the globalization and digitalization of journalism around the globe, today’s content framework has shifted dramatically, increasingly created based on what viewers want to see rather than on the inherent value of the idea or the heart of the content itself.

So how can publishers use their expertise and passion to tell stories through digital mediums, and what other opportunities are there to diversify?  Let’s delve deeper.

Niche audiences reign supreme
New and existing digital sources of specialty content will proliferate in number and status to satisfy curious audiences and the advertisers’ need to reach niche audiences. For example, sites like Vox and the Washington Post have shifted into its own unique verticals such as SB Nation (Sports), The Verge (Tech News), Polygon (video gaming), amongst others, to target specific audiences.. Fans of any topic, issue or genre will be able to turn to the digital and mobile environments to find something of interest, thanks to content creators’ pulse on digital traffic, consumers’ interests and advertisers’ needs for reaching niche audiences. And creators of specialty content will also thrive, especially if they embrace new viewer behaviors and algorithms that shape, place, and monetize their words, imagery or videos to the audiences and advertisers that crave them.

Chatbots as a game-changer
An imaginative opportunity for innovation and content distribution to intersect, chatbot use cases are poised to explode in 2017; evolving from the practical to the increasingly creative and emotive. Moving away from the UX and quality issues in the first months of their emergence as revamped, today’s best-in-class ‘bots are well-oiled machines that combine compelling characters, rich themes and sophisticated storytelling techniques that empower content organizations to distribute engaging news and updates that matter most to their audiences.

Video technology for increased engagement
Today’s connected customers are habituated to visual stimuli, expect instant gratification and are accustomed to consuming content via their mobile devices—these tendencies can be tapped into, and monetized powerfully through short-form video. As a result, digital publishers have redoubled their efforts to provide users with rich media content, bolstered by the increasing use of images, and more importantly, video. What do these current consumption patterns reveal?

By 2017, global video activity is expected to represent nearly 70 percent of all consumer Internet traffic, with online video services usage doubling during the same timeframe—reaching more than 80 percent of all users worldwide. When properly leveraged, video formats can provide variety to consumers, generate revenue and get the message across in spite of the rapidly dwindling attention span of the users.

Aside from video formats for active engagement, it has also been said that 2017 is the year for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). For the first time, consumers, educators and corporations will have the choice of incorporating powerful new hardware with the potential to fundamentally change the way we interact as human beings. Great content is at the very core of a virtual reality experience, be it for games, simulations, education, marketing, entertainment or training applications. With the power of VR, the viewer becomes truly immersed in a story that unfolds before them, and therefore driven to engage with the brand’s narrative arc.

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Posted by Dan Exter

Dan Exter started his media career working in content creation and video production for Cablevision (currently Alice USA). During his seven years at Cablevision, Dan worked for one of the company's exclusive network properties, MSG Varsity, the first 24/7 high school sports network. As a Digital Producer, Dan created original and engaging content for all of MSG Varsity’s viewing platforms consisting of a linear channel, mobile application, digital publication and a video on-demand (VOD) channel. He also led in the network’s social media initiatives and created a low-cost production formula for full-game broadcasts, which would soon become the network’s most popular source of content. He is a Digital Media Analyst on the consultancy and strategy team at Theorem. Get in touch with Dan.

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