Simple graphic of platform differentiation: how readers’ news needs vary by device


I’ve been hearing a lot about platform strategy in the news business lately, and I think before we create a strategy, we need to look at how  people are using these devices to consume news – including what they want, and when they want it.

I see some overlap between platforms and the relationship the audience has with news.  In most cases, a story finds its genesis in a mobile device, and then as it develops  move through the various platforms in a clockwise direction.

That said, not all stories can/should exist on all of the four major platforms.

What do you think? Do you agree? Have I missed the mark completely? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

4 thoughts on “Simple graphic of platform differentiation: how readers’ news needs vary by device

  1. This is an interesting exercise. Incidentally I’m not sold on a multi-platform strategy. I think journalism would do well with a single platform strategy. That would be online. Different experiences based on the media that is being used for consumption, but not differently curation.

    But for the sake of this premise I’d make a couple of changes.

    I would move analysis to web and out of print. If I’m looking for instant analysis I turn to Twitter. If I’m looking for deeper analysis I’ll turn to a blog. Most often a blog attached to a major media publication, but a blog none-the-less. A good example would be what Nate Silver did during the last US Presidential election. I’d venture his blog did a better job with analysis of polling and public sentiment than the entirety of everything printed in US newspapers.

    I think analysis would also be a better fit into iPad / tablets. Long form journalism is starting to undergo a bit of a renaissance right now. I think a lot of that has to do with it being available in more than just print. Being able to share these stories over the Internet and look at them on portable devices just makes them more accessible.

    As for print, I’d add ephemera. So many wire stories of dubious value clutter the pages of newspapers. I’m not sure if readers are asking for this, or if we do it to just fill up space but we do do it.

    1. Good points Lucas, thanks. I agree that blogs can add deeper analysis, I guess I was picturing the traditional news organization as it contends with its multiple platforms, and devices. As for the “dubious value” of stories that clutter the pages of newspapers, that is a shame – and I for one would hope that as we understand the readers of these various platforms, we would be able to better serve them… in digital form, and in print.

    2. Opinion/letters creates feedback which creates comments and discussion. Maybe that’s something for digital platforms as well since those are so tied to community interaction, discussion and debate.

      Based on the chart, it’s hard to come up with specific content that would see direct benefits from being published on a print platform rather than digital. What’s left for print…Long-form features pieces? Image heavy photo spreads?

      If other platforms are cheap, available and can represent this content in a better way, that may a sign that the end of the print platform is close. As a business model we can attempt to prop it up by offering exclusive content. But will that stem the tide of users who are flocking to digital platforms for all the types of content that used to be exclusive to print?

  2. Great comment from Alex Blonski at Postmedia (the company that owns my news org):

    I think the chart represents current offerings or ux priorities rather than what readers need. If you could offer all the features listed across all platforms, I don’t think audiences would object.

    To me, the user just wants deeper, richer, more interactive content. I think there’s a big gap between platform expectations with content differentiation. Not every person has every platform and consumption patterns will change with time as platforms change. Can’t wait to tackle Google Glass or the Apple smart watch.

    Sharing on one platform and then trying to consume with is a huge issue I think is ignored when people talk about content differentiation… what version of the story do I see if I am consuming on another platform? What if it doesn’t exist on my platform at all due to differentiation?

    Sorry to type your eyes off. Love following your blog

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