Let’s start by clearing something up – we won’t enter the navel-gazing debate on what tech journalism should and shouldn’t be. Not that we have anything against meta-discussions, but let’s be honest; there are far more interesting things going on in the online media world.
From democratization to globalization, the media news this week have provided insight into the trends that are transforming the media world, from publishing to music and TV.
Murdoch is back in the news
Rupert Murdoch was heavily featured in media news last week, and this week hasn’t been any different. Although today’s event is the launch date of his aggressively priced Sun on Sunday, it’s not just about kiosks and print. Indeed, Murdoch’s properties have also made interesting announcements on the digital side in recent days.
First, we learned that The Daily is now the top-grossing iPad app in the US, which is quite an achievement for a tablet-only subscription offer. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it the world’s top-grossing app in the world, contrary to what has been claimed.
Wonky math, anyone?
One thing is for sure, Murdoch’s group would love to see its digital earnings add up, and decided to boost them by doubling the Times’ digital subscription price to £4 ($6.28) per week. While the new pricing will be introduced in March, anyone signing up before then will remain on £2 a week until 2013. In order words, the new pricing might turn off new clients, but shouldn’t deter The Times’ current 119,255 paywall subscribers.
Finding new revenue streams
If you need more proof that it is possible to get people to part with their money online, we’ve found it. This week saw British singer Adele officially become the first artist to have achieve double platinum status on iTunes, with a whopping 2 million downloads.
It’s not just about famous artists though; Internet users are also prepared to invest in lesser-known, but ambitious projects such as MATTER. Launched on Kickstarter, this initiative to long-form journalism passed its funding target in just 36 hours.
MATTER will focus on doing one thing, and doing it exceptionally well. Every week, we will publish a single piece of top-tier long-form journalism about big issues in technology and science. That means no cheap reviews, no snarky opinion pieces, no top ten lists. Just one unmissable story.
While MATTER’s campaign is hosted on Kickstarter, visual journalism also has its own crowdfunding platform. Called Emphas.is, it lets Emphas.is lets photojournalists connect with their audience and find the financing they need for their projects.
Content now more democratic and global
Crowdfunding is only one sign of a broader trend, which is the blurring of the frontier between amateurs and professionals. This is true in publishing, but also in the video sector.
While the online writing community Movellas is proving to be a pool of teenage writing talent, YouTube has updated its Creator Playbook to help content producers optimize and professionalize their video channels.
This was only one of several announcements on YouTube’s part this week; Google’s video platform is now available in four additional Indian languages as it expands its global reach further still.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that the international version of BBC’s iPlayer is doing very well in Australia, which is now its biggest market outside of the UK. As for BBC News app, it has launched globally for large-screen Android tablets.
Original programming soon a must?
Although amateur content is home on the Internet, online video platforms are increasingly looking at developing original content. In our view, they have a very good reason to do so:
With original programming, online distribution platforms are making sure viewers will still have a reason to visit their sites even if their premium content pipeline dries out – as long as this exclusive original programming is good enough to attract them, that is.
Of course, this move is also connected to the fact that competition between these players is stirring up. While Netflix managed to license streaming rights for ‘The Artist’ ahead of pay-TV channels, it may soon have a new headache called Xfinity Streampix.
As we reported, Streampix is the new subscription VOD service that Comcast is launching in the US – and it will cost less than $5 a month to existing cable subscribers. While it is too early to tell who will win this new battle, it seems there will be blood.
Feel free to share with us other media stories and trends you have found interesting.