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Issue #19 - February 28, 2016


  • The Future of Websites

  • Anonymous Election Confession

  • Direct from Scotland — My First Guest Post

  • Excuses to Not Work Out are Diminishing


Is it Time to Ditch Publisher-Hosted Websites?


The Guardian’s Emily Bell wrote a provocative piece this week about the state of digital media. In it, she points out recent challenges from across the globe: UK-based mobile network Three introducing ad-blocking software across their devices; tightening restrictions on digital media in China; India’s knock-down of the Facebook free basics program. As noted by one publisher that Bell spoke with, “we look at distribution for the social platforms and they are doing really well, we look at the opportunities for creation and they are plentiful, the piece in the middle, where traditional publishers and broadcasters sit, that doesn’t look so great.” Bell ominously contends that “having a legacy business configured around a website is now almost as much of a headache as the rumbling printing press, fueled by paper and money,” and ponders, “which companies will start to jettison websites and other digital infrastructure accumulated in the past two decades.” It’s an interesting consideration, and one which has been debated — for instance there's the idea of Facebook eventually becoming the industry-standard hosting platform for media organizations. There was a significant announcement this week that exemplifies this emerging trend: Bill Simmons, of Grantland fame, will be launching his new venture, The Ringer, on the social publishing network Medium. The idea of a publisher operating its own website is starting to feel like an antiquated notion in the quickly evolving age of distribution. 


Read It: 

The Guardian: As publishers lose control, are newspaper websites a dead parrot?


Medium: Home of The Ringer 


NBC News Wants Your Take on the Election


While the internet is ripe with opportunities to share your opinions about the presidential election, you risk igniting a flare-up in your Facebook feed or dealing with the backlash of that one relative who’s on Twitter and doesn’t share your views. Not to worry — NBC News’ new Tumblr blog, Election Confession, is here to provide you with an anonymous platform to share your thoughts. NBC is inviting you to call, text or SMS a photo of a note in which you document your perspective. The result is a humorous and insightful collection of thoughts about the 2016 race. Be prepared if you want to contribute though — while no personally identifiable information will be published, you give NBC the right to use your content on the Election Confession Tumblr blog as well as on “NBCUniversal social media accounts, on television, and online, worldwide … including in advertisements and promotions,” in perpetuity (forever). Contribute your election confession by calling or sending a message to 424-353-2016.


Read It: Nieman Lab: With a new anonymous tumblr, NBC News wants to know what you really think about the election


Check It: Tumblr: Election Confession


Guid Mornin! My Guest Post in Scotland


Media organizations aren’t the only ones faced with the mounting task of reaching audiences on platforms. Brands are increasingly realizing that creating compelling content can be a great way to establish and foster long-term relationships with current and potential customers — and that platforms play a key role in reaching them. I’m pleased to announce my first-ever guest post, in partnership with Greene Digital, a marketing firm based in Scotland. Check out my write-up for insight into content marketing and a look at some fun case studies featuring Beats by Dre on Instagram, Nike on YouTube, and Rolls Royce on Pinterest.


Read It: Greene Digital: Content Marketing in 2016: Reaching Your Audience Where They Are


Work it Out!


Whether streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, like Netflix and HBO Now, will ever reach the scale of traditional cable companies continues to be a hotly debated topic. In the meantime, niche content providers seem to be gaining traction. One category in particular has hit a sweet spot that is driving innovation throughout an industry and giving traditional providers cause for concern. Subscriptions to fitness video services are gaining in popularity — they offer the convenience of on-demand workouts in a wide variety of styles while alleviating the hassle of commuting to the gym. Additionally, the price points are competitive, and in many cases lower, than gym dues and premium fitness-class fees. Forward-thinking content creators aren’t stopping there — they see the potential for tie-ins like smart devices. One company, Peloton, already offers a $1,995 stationary bike, “complete with a large interactive screen” which is used to participate in live spinning classes. It’s not hard to envision a future where fitness trackers, smart clothes, apps and social groups augment the experience of a digital fitness class, and provide that sense of inclusion and community one feels when sweating alongside one’s fitness peers. Welcome to your “digital gym.”


Read It: MediaPost: The SVOD Bod: How On-Demand Muscled Into Fitness


Watch It: CNN: Blood, Sweat, Profit


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