Now we have Paper. Last week it was Yahoo NewsDigest and the week before, it was Circa and then there was the release of Trove ...
Of course, there are long lists of established and highly successful apps like Flipboard, Zite and Pulse.
Why then, all of a sudden, is the news space so hot and, more importantly, is this newfound popularity sustainable???
For a great read (far better than mine) check out this Business Insider report.
Here’s what I think are a couple of reasons why the news space is garnering so much attention:
- No one has really figured out how to make money in news yet and so it attracts those who think they can be the "winner", the ones who can solve the underlying, declining revenue models found in most media properties. So there will always be the rebels who think they can come in and save the industry. See Sam Zell for a good example.
- The amount of content on-line keeps growing and growing and growing. This is especially true on the social sites. So, while there are less "hard news" outlets, there are more blogs, social commentary and social sites than ever. Therefore, the tools to filter out and organize content in visually appealing ways are much in demand.
- With "real" journalism being something we see less and less of these days, and more "puff" journalism out there, brands have discovered how much easier it is to use "promoted" stories and are willing to pay for them. Hence, there is a drive to capture these new dollars.
A good question to ponder would be what if there are TOO many of these social media news apps? How will they stand out from each other if they all do the same thing? Something important to note is that most of these sites don’t have revenue models, so the new "gold rush" won’t last without strong revenue. Just look at Twitter. An amazing site, huge growth and growing revenue but profits are hard to find.
In my mind, what is needed are more tools that CUT the amount of noise and clutter as opposed to tools that grab MORE. There is a huge difference, too, between what’s happening in the consumer market as opposed to the business sector. Consumers want more. Businesses want less. That’s why I built our site, The News Funnel, to give business professionals a tool to curate their own news feeds.
Without good, fresh, original content though, I just don’t see how all of these social sites are sustainable. For the most part, all of them are just repurposing others’ content. It’s one of the main reasons I honestly just tuned out LinkedIn and don’t engage in it anymore. I hear the same thing about Facebook from my younger colleagues.
So while everyone is now focused on media, I still don't see a trend that is sustainable for the longer term. It’s a fascinating time to be in this space though. More content. More tools, but less actual substance of significance.
It will be interesting to see who emerges as the winners.