Richard Gingras, senior director of news and social products at Google, is a veteran of the media business who is on his second “deployment” to Google, having also spent time at Apple, Salon, and PBS. A pioneer in journalistic innovation who has been studying media consumption since 1979, Gingras says trends in media consumption have once again altered dramatically over just the past five years, mostly because of the portability factor. We have our media room in our pockets now, in the form factor of the smart phone..
In a recent interview with Steve Rubel, senior vp of digital content at Edelman, Gingras said that since the advent of digital, media consumption had gone up dramatically with the rise both sources and availability. The average person now consumes media during every day part, on multiple channels. For comparison, before 1995, the average person read a daily newspaper in the morning and watched the 6 PM news in the evening, followed by prime time TV. The rest of the day? Nothing. And if not at home, also nothing.
This change in consumption habits, Gingras said, gives brands a much greater opportunity to get their messages out.
However, as consumption shifts to mobile, new and different constraints arise, including finite data plans and limited screen real estate, which has led to a decrease in browsing and and increased amount of time spent in apps, rather than on the open web.Most of those apps are social platforms — walled gardens whose major goal is to keep the audience on their site.
Because so many people get their news from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat, traditional publishers have begun to make deals with those platforms and, in a sense, bet against their own sites. However, these partnership deals can be good at first, but leave a publisher in the lurch if the terms change.
So although news organizations are sensible to go where the audience is, making bets on Facebook or Instagram, they need to guard against delivering their entire brand equity to a fickle social platform.Remember when everybody was on AOL?
Google works closely with publishers to assess the ecosystem, and they found issues with both performance and engagement on mobile, which led them to develop AMP pages. AMP, which stands for accelerated mobile pages, was developed as portable mobile units of content (you can see them today on Nuzzel) that would load quickly and reduce friction for consumer engagement. At ZINC we have made our own bet on AMP pages and are testing our formats to make sure they’ll run on them. We are also developing new mobile formats that take advantage of the particular characteristics of mobile.