Archive for Publishing & Media

Fostering Innovation in Media and Publishing

The election is over—it’s time to look forward. In that spirit, I wanted to invite you to participate in a forum running right after Thanksgiving at the Gilbane Digital Content Conference this year—a town hall focused on innovation. Send suggestions via Twitter using #gilbane.

Driven to change

It’s no secret that publishers have been grappling with a rapidly changing digital media landscape for two decades, but as the pace of change has accelerated and channels have proliferated, managing content has become exponentially complex.

Consider just a few of the trends:

  • The rise of social networks as channels in their own right—not just marketing outlets for promoting content on web sites
  • The inexorable trend toward content embedded into activities
  • The on-going tug-of-war between structuring content for omnichannel (just author once in XML!) and tailoring content for audience and media (because it yields better engagement!)
  • Rising demand for video and packaging of video with narrative and slide shows
  • Devaluing of long-form narrative, with news unfolding first on social media rather than in conventional stories
  • Increasing use of analytics driving editorial decisions
  • Rising legitimacy of outtakes—what was once left on the cutting room floor now becomes a value-add because of its uniqueness

Relentless change is the new normal facing those developing content and technology strategies. Scrums used to be just for software development; now they’re used for content development as well.

Fostering a culture of continuous innovation will fuel growth in digital for publishers, but how does an organization optimize for change? How are others coping? Where does your organization sit relative to your peers?

Hearing from others

The Digital Strategies for Media & Publishing track at this year’s conference brings together diverse perspectives on innovation and change.

John Eckman will demystify what it takes to efficiently publish via Facebook Instant Articles or Apple news. WBUR and Urban Airship will share their case study in podcasts delivered through digital wallets.

We’ll go behind the scenes to see how others are managing their content—how MIT Press manages diverse content in multiple system on a tight budget, and what’s behind the new MarkLogic implementation at America’s Test Kitchen

Analytics are increasingly driving editorial and product decisions. Erin Martin and Michelle Bellettiere from NPR will share their approach and discuss their plans for 2017.

Meeting and learning together

Part of what makes a conference special is the opportunity to meet face to face with others on similar journeys at other organizations, even other industries. As Subrata Mukherjee, VP of product management at The Economist, noted

Media companies have much to learn from the innovations in content marketing and digital supply chains in other industries. But when I go to a conference, I not only want to hear their stories, I want to meet with them to ask my questions.

That’s why this year we’re going to follow case studies in transformational innovation by Subrata and Jeanette Newton from Pennwell with an open town hall, where the audience can drive the conversation, and we can as a community share insights and potential approaches to tackling challenging issues.

We’ll be looking at innovation from multiple angles—

  • vision and strategy
  • people and skills
  • products and market disruption
  • tools and technology

Because, ultimately, organizations that are successful at innovating in publishing will address all of those facets.

If, like me, you share a passion for making content technology work amidst all this upheaval, make plans to join us. And you don’t need to wait to start the conversation. Share your topics and questions in advance via Twitter using #gilbane.

gilbane16-logo-teal_outline_white

Main conference: November 29 – 30 ● Workshops: December 1, 2016
Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston

Register today!
and use code F16G for an extra discount

The Economist and Pennwell – Innovating through Transformation

Gilbane Boston 2016

Join us in Boston in November for these featured case studies and our other 32 conference sessions.

Innovating through Transformation

How are media companies transforming their business from one reliant on content consumption to one in which content mixes with tools and / or community for greater engagement and new revenue? This session’s case studies from The Economist and Pennwell will delve in-depth into their innovation journeys. The changes ripple across every facet of the business; hear first-hand the challenges, solutions and results.

Wednesday, November, 30: 8:30 – 9:30 am

Register today to save your seat!
Use code F16G for an extra discount

Mark Walter | Gilbane

Moderator:
Mark Walter, Principal, Content Technology Strategies

Subrata Mukherjee | Gilbane Conference

Subrata Mukherjee, Vice President, Product Management, Global Head of Business Systems, The Economist

Transformation by Continuous Innovation

jeanette-newton

Jeanette Newton, PW3 Platform Development Manager, Pennwell

Digital Transformation at PennWell: Creating Vertical Destination Hubs

Dan Murphy | Gilbane Conference

Dan Murphy, Lead Solutions Architect, Digital Strategy, Velir

Digital Transformation at PennWell: Creating Vertical Destination Hubs

Gilbane Digital Content Conference
Fairmont Copley Place Hotel, Boston, November 29 – 30, 2016

New Frontiers in Digital Content Distribution

As we said in our most recent Gilbane Advisor, “There are tectonic shifts underway among competing web, mobile, and social platforms, that will have profound effects on digital strategies.” While these shifts will impact everyone who distributes content, the major publishers have the most at stake, are paying the most attention, and are already experimenting. By now these experiments have provided some initial data, in particular with Facebook Instant Articles, though likely not enough to base major decisions on. Since we wrote the session description below a few months ago, Google announced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project and Facebook announced Notify. Events are moving quickly.

Whether you are a publisher, brand marketer, or  independent blogger, this panel discussion is bound to be enlightening.

P1. New Frontiers in Digital Content Distribution

Publishers have been using social media as a means to extend their brands, drive traffic to web properties, and cultivate direct relationships with consumers. But the arrival of “off-site” digital media outlets—Facebook’s Instant Articles, Apple News, Snapchat, Twitter Lightning, and whatever Google might dream up next—has publishers asking: will social media platforms usurp publisher’s own brand sites or be a lucrative extension? What are the results from those who are early participants? What are the business and technology issues to consider when deciding whether to take part? How can you prepare your organization, infrastructure and content to be ready if your CEO/CMO decides to take the plunge?

A panel of media technologists will report on their experiences and share their insights as we explore the latest trend in the evolution of digital media.

Wednesday, December, 2: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Moderator: Mark Walter, Director, Strategic Solutions, Managing Editor Inc. (MEI)
Panelists:
Brad Kagawa, VP Technology, Content Management Systems, The New York Times
Jay Brodsky, Principal, Align Digital
Eric Hellweg, Managing Director, Digital Strategy, Harvard Business Review

Multichannel or omnichannel, you’ve got multi-challenges

Whether you prefer to focus your customer experience strategy on the “all” of “omnichannel” or the “more-than-one” of “multichannel”, you have a lot digital, physical, organizational, and operational decisions to deal with. Whatever your terminology preference, below are four relevant sessions with ten presentations at the upcoming Gilbane Conference that will provide you with plenty to think about.

C2. Making Omni-channel Work

“Omni-channel” is a succinct way to refer to the core problem of marketing transformation since it is typically used to include digital and non-digital channels as well as all their related support systems. Used in this way the term represents an ideal that may not often be attainable, but that is no reason it should not be a target to strive for. What does this mean in the real world? In this session our three presenters will look at: what is being done at an organization on the path to omni-channel, some common early mistakes organizations make when planning for omni-channel, and some ideas and strategies for dealing with the growing impact of connected devices.

Wednesday, December, 2: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
Moderator: Melissa Webster, Program VP, Content & Digital Media Technologies, IDC
Speakers:
Kevin Novak, CEO and Founder, 2040 Digital
Moving to Customer Centricity in the Omni-Channel
Jake DiMare, Digital Strategist, Agency Oasis
Successfully planning for Digital Transformation
Loni Stark, Senior Director of Strategy and Product Marketing, Digital Marketing Business, Adobe
Connected Experiences: From websites to wearables to wherever

C3. Holistic Customer Experiences Require Fundamental Change

As we say in this year’s conference description, “A modern customer experience must be holistic and seamless. Holistic in that customer communications be consistent within the company and across all touch points and channels, and seamless so that transitions between customer interactions are smooth and frictionless. This is a continuous process that requires an unprecedented amount of collaboration and integration between internal and external facing organizations and systems.” In this session two industry analysts look deeper into the fundamental changes required in the supply chain and internal business systems.

Wednesday, December, 2: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Moderator: Jeff Cram, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder, Connective DX
Speakers:
Matt Mullen, Senior Analyst, Social Business, 451 Research
Beyond Engagement and Experience; The Converged Enterprise and the Dynamic Supply Chain
Connie Moore, Senior Vice President Research, Digital Clarity Group
The New Customer Experience Imperative: Moving From Digital Transformation to Business Transformation

T7. Modern Multichannel Strategies

Implementing COPE (Create Once Publish Everywhere) is not easy, but for years organizations have built systems to accomplish or approximate multichannel publishing. Is this still the best approach? Or is there a newer model needed to support the more interactive web and mobile experiences? This session includes lessons-learned from COPE implementations as well as a proposal for an enhanced model of COPE for a modern customer experience.

Thursday, December, 3: 11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.
Moderator: Jake DiMare, Digital Strategist, Agency Oasis
Speakers:
Chris Schagen, CMO, Contentful GmbH
Multi-channel content modeling: Learnings from 3 COPE projects
Andrew Blackmore, Solution Principal, National Customer Engagement, Slalom Consulting
CDSE – An Evolution of COPE for Maturing Brands

T8. How to Plan for Complex Multichannel Projects

Multichannel projects that aren’t complex are already rare, and the complexity is increasing. When planning for such projects it is helpful to look at successful results for repeatable patterns. This is not easy to do if you only have experience with one or two similar projects. All three presentations in this session provide some level of pattern analysis on relevant projects that will allow you to consider a much broader range of scenarios in your own complex project planning.

Thursday, December, 3: 2:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.
Moderator: Barb Mosher Zinck, Content & Product Marketer, MarTech Analyst, Publisher, BMZ Content Strategies / Digital Tech Diary
Speakers:
Martin Coady, Managing Director, Technology, VML
Reusability – the Myth and the Reality
In Koo Kim, Senior Vice President, NorthPoint Digital
Patterns of Successful Digital Projects
Jeff Hansen, Content Solutions Lead, SingleStone
Designing a Flexible Content Architecture to Enhance both Customer Experience and Author Experience

The future of tablets

[Note: This was posted elsewhere on May 6, 2014, so is obviously a bit dated. I’m re-posting here because I want to test the new Medium API, and to encourage me to write more about tablets given Microsoft’s new Surface Book.]

The future of tablets isn’t what analysts thought a year ago, or even last fall

The market for PCs continues to decline (but at a slowing rate: IDCGartner), yet tablet growth is also slowing forcing many analysts to scale back their forecasts. Smartphone growth is slowing as well.

There is a lot of discussion, mainly from an investor point of view about why: saturation, price points, supplier market share, etc., that are relevant for both business and consumer markets. Recently the focus has been on iPads because of Apple’s earnings call but the trend is not limited to Apple.

Why aren’t tablets taking more share away from PCs?

Given the phenomenal growth of tablets the last few years, their computing power, and the large overlap of general use cases shared with PCs (email, browsing) it did seem that tablets were on track replace PCs in large numbers. But the use case overlap was not large enough to support the forecasts. Tablets are tweeners, fighting for space between the superior communications of smartphones and greater productivity of PCs. Being in the middle is not normally a desirable spot for a product, but tablets excel at information and entertainment consumption and this middle is a pretty big and happy place to be.

What do we use PCs for? For years we have been using PCs for some combination of productivity, information / entertainment consumption, and communication. PCs were largely designed and most useful for productivity, whether business or personal, and that’s why we bought them. As PCs evolved and became capable and appealing for information/entertainment consumption and communication we bought more of them. And at some point whatever motivated us to buy a PC, our actual use of them flipped – we now spend a higher percentage of time using our PCs for information / entertainment consumption and communication than we do for productivity. And of course this is the domain of tablets and why they have taken as much of the PC market as they have.

But tablets are simply not as good as PCs for a large number of productivity applications. Until they are this will act as a governor on tablet growth and allow for a shrinking but still large market for PCs.

In The iPad Is a Tease Jean-Louis Gassée points out that:

So far, Apple’s bet has been to keep the iPad simple, rigidly so perhaps, rather than creating a neither-nor product: No longer charmingly simple, but not powerful enough for real productivity tasks. But if the iPad wants to cannibalize more of the PC market, it will have to remove a few walls.

I would say Gassée’s post is from the point of view of a user who would like to replace his PC with an iPad but can’t, that this is a larger cohort than enterprise users or even power users, and that this is the best way to think about the productivity penalty portion of slowing iPad sales.

What would make a significant dent in the iPad’s productivity penalty? Microsoft Office support alone is necessary but not sufficient. A better solution for text entry than accessory keyboards, smooth and rapid app switching, and easy file access would each make a big difference. See below for links to other thoughts.

There is also a maddening and ironic side effect of using iPads for industry applications where they are productivity enhancers. For example, I used to be able to choose between an iPad (mostly research and entertainment) and a laptop (mostly work) for most trips, but a couple of my current projects include working with apps that only run on the iPad. I can’t be productive without having both an iPad and a laptop. Even in the office I often need both within reach. Unfortunately this situation is likely to get worse as more iOS, (and Android!) productivity apps appear.

Watch out for smartphones

Benedict Evans suggested another avenue for inquiry in a tweet:

.@asymco @gassee posit: slow iPad sales are worse news for the PC market: implies phones can take the greater share of PC use cases

— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) April 21, 2014

I don’t know Benedict, but I picture him smiling devilishly as he composed that tweet. As well he should have.

The more types of computing devices there are the more complicated figuring out use case fit is going to be.

The future of tablets

The future of tablets seems promising in the near term since neither PCs nor smartphones can match their information and entertainment consumption experience and tablets will get better at aiding productivity. The better they get the more market share they’ll take. And of course we haven’t seen all the new industry apps where the tablet form factor and interface is a net productivity advantage.

On the other hand, the right kind of user interface – perhaps a high resolution holographic interface not dependent on form factors for projection – would free us from our quaint categories of PCs, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, glasses, and be truly disruptive. Once computing power and user interfaces become independent of physical size all bets are off.

Further reading on iPad growth:

The iPad’s Curse — Ben Bajarin

iPads and Tablet Growth – Benedict Evans

Don’t Give up on the iPad – Ben Thompson

How Apple Could Continue to Own the Enterprise Tablet Market — Tim Bajarin

The Astonishing, Disappointing iPad – MG Siegler

The convergence of web and mobile design

The actual title of the article I am referring to above is 7 future web design trends, by Jowita Ziobro. The trends are on target and the examples are clear. Worth a read.

But what struck me is that the post is a reminder that the way to look at planning and development of web and mobile applications is to focus on the ‘and’. Too much of the discussion is about the limitations of web or mobile or which should come first – a sometimes necessary short term choice but not a strategy. Jowita’s larger point is that from a design point of view web and mobile are converging. The post also suggests functional convergence.

Design convergence

Jowita’s first trend, “Gestures are the new clicks”, provides one example:

We forget how hard scrolling webpages used to be. Most users would painstakingly move their mouse to the right edge of the screen, to use something ancient called a ‘scrollbar’…

In 2015 it’s far easier to scroll than it is to click. On mobile, you can scroll wildly with your thumb. To click on a precise target is actually more difficult — the complete opposite of what we’re used to on the desktop.

As a result, we should expect more and more websites to be built around scrolling first, and clicking second. And of course, that’s exactly what we’ve seen everywhere…

There’s every reason to expect this trend to continue as mobile takes over more of the market. Modern sites have fewer things to click, and much more scrolling. We’ll see fewer links, more buttons, bigger ‘clickable’ areas, and taller pages that expect to be scrolled.

So mobile is changing web design for the better, and not only because of the consistency of the UX but because it is offers improvements.

Functional convergence

Mobile is also learning from the web. Mobile apps are either constrained by limited access to their own data and content, need custom deep linking to code to access other apps data, or need to exit to the web via a web browser. Whether the app uses a lightweight custom browser built for the app or one of the mainstream browsers the UX often suffers. The limited linking of mobile apps is a significant functional constraint, especially for enterprise apps.

Apple and Google are each interested in the health of both the web and their own mobile ecosystems and are both advancing deep linking to address data and content access. This will be a little wild-westy for awhile but the direction is clear.

Jowita’s sixth trend, “Components are the new frameworks” is relevant to design and function:

Web technology continues to get more complicated, and less semantic. Designers must embed messy code onto their pages for simple tasks, like including Google Analytics or a Facebook Like button. It would be a lot easier if we could just write something like this instead:

<google-analytics key=”UA-12345–678″>

And we can with Web Components, which aren’t quite ready to be used by most designers yet. 2015 is looking like their year.

Google’s Material design is here, and it may just be what gets this movement started. Powered by Polymer, and supported by all modern browsers, it provides the rich animation and interaction components from Android apps, with simple tags…

Apple’s newly announced Safari View Controller for iOS 9 ups the ante for mobile browsers by providing developers access to Safari code making it much easier to access the web from mobile apps. Developers can still build their own for specific design or functional reasons if they need to. See iOS 9 and Safari View Controller: The Future of Web Views.

Jowita ends with:

Right now you see the best of mobile app design appearing in web design. With enough time, the difference between an app and a website might almost entirely disappear.

Optimistic perhaps, but there is a trend to root for here. And a perspective to be embraced for a superior UX.

Managing and Monetizing Paid, Owned, and Earned Content

How does your organization manage and value paid, owned, and earned content? Is there a strategy for each of the three types? A budget?

If you are struggling with measuring the value of marketing related content you are certainly not alone – there is just no easy way to do it. In this session, Gerry Moran from SAP talks about the need for brands to manage and scale the three types of content together to engage customers throughout the sales cycle. Randy Woods from nonlinear creations describes a technique in use for modeling content and mapping it to online behaviors to get a better handle on content marketing costs and return.

Join us Wednesday, December, 3: 11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. at the Gilbane Conference to learn more.

C9. Managing and Monetizing Paid, Owned, and Earned Content

Moderator:
Dom Nicastro, Staff Reporter, CMSWire.com

Speakers:
Gerry Moran, Head of Social Media, North America, SAP
Scaling and Monetizing Paid, Owned, and Earned Media in Your Organization
Randy Woods, President, nonlinear creations
Of Metrics and Models: Measuring the ROI of Content Marketing

See the complete conference schedule.

Multichannel content management

Meg Walsh at Gilbane 2013In Marketing technology landscape explosion and CMS evolution we looked at two of the major themes of December’s Gilbane Conference. The third major theme that we asked speakers to respond to in our spotlight series was the challenge of multichannel delivery:

What is the best overall strategy for delivering content to web, multiple mobile, and upcoming digital channels? What is the biggest challenge? Development and maintenance cost? Content control? Brand management? Technology expertise?

The best overall strategy and the biggest challenge are the same: creating and managing content that can be optimized for each channel and device including those not anticipated. In short, true Multichannel Content Management, or MCM if we can deal with yet another acronym (Yaa!). Of course the “multichannel” is only necessary for emphasis because “web” content management has been dominant for a few years, and “enterprise” content management was hijacked by the document management interests early on. Perhaps soon, “multichannel” will be redundant and just plain old “content management” will suffice.

Multichannel content management is really hard. Organizations have been implementing such “single source publishing” or “create once, publish everywhere” systems for many years, but the difficulty and cost prevented most from taking it on and forced others to give up even knowing it was the right thing to do.

Multichannel content management is still hard, but it was one thing to hesitate when there was only one extra channel – now there are n+1 channels, the cost equation has changed, and you can’t build a sustainable digital experience without solving this problem.

Organizations who successfully built multichannel content management systems in the past were largely those with direct access to technologists, for example technical documentation, product support, engineering, and R&D. Marketing organizations, aside from a few with large global presences and big brand asset management problems, mostly stayed away – technology and cost were fearsome, and organizational structures and agency dependencies also created barriers. Staying away is no longer an option. Reaching today’s consumers requires an n+1 distribution strategy.

In her keynote presentation, Marriott’s Meg Walsh inspired the audience with her discussion of their distribution and scale challenges and the necessity for a strategy based on adaptive content that is device agnostic – in other words, a multichannel content management capability. She shared a wonderful quote from Jonathan Perelman, VP, Agency Strategy @Buzzfeed, “Content is King, but Distribution is Queen, and She wears the pants.”

Note that Meg’s role is very much that of a marketing technologist. She ran the content management practice in Marriott’s sales and marketing group before moving to Marriott’s IT organization to take responsibility for technology platforms to support the sales and marketing activity.

We’ll be covering much more of what one attendee called “Real multichannel content management and publishing” at this year’s conference, and would love to hear from more marketing organizations that are making the Distribution Queen happy.