In our hyper-connected world – where, for many countries, 70% of the populace get their news via smartphone and 50% use the device to watch video – it’s not enough for a media company to think “digital first.” The strategy du jour is “mobile first.” And here begins a debate about what this really means!
One could argue that it’s a catchall for optimizing publishing processes and content delivery for mobile media users. But It’s also about context, as smartphones aren’t just for making calls or watching funny, grainy cat videos. They reflect your personality, your likes and what your expectations are of the content you want to consume.
Indeed, the big question driving strategy today is, “How does this content experience translate across devices?”
At the least, the experience on smartphone and tablet vs. PC and TV should be just as good for the mobile user. This affects everything from how content is produced to how it’s put out in the world.
From a production perspective, media companies must be mindful of how users consume mobile content (which they’re doing 2.8 hours a day) and tailor every headline, image, video clip and more to those particular habits.
For news, that means things like tap-worthy headlines, bulleted lists and “bite-size” stories that can be easily digested and shared through social media. For video, it means branded intro screens, short, sweet and shareable clips and text on screen for viewers who watch with the sound turned off (sounds odd, but I’m sure you’ve done it, too!).
From a design perspective, it’s all about responsive design – which means that content can easily adapt to the size of the screen being used. Images, video, text and graphics need to be clearly viewed and read on any device – and it’s not easy to make that happen. There’s something like 30 different screen resolutions in use today!
Which brings us to technology, perhaps one of the biggest areas of concern for media companies embracing this mobile-first world.
After all, if the technology behind your strategy fails to create a quality user experience, you can bet users will be bouncing to another piece of content (probably a competitor’s!) in fast fashion. Things like load time, connectivity, video quality, responsive design and other technical elements become important considerations that can be managed through smart technology choices.
As media continues to migrate to mobile, companies need to be sure their bedrock technology supports this mobile-first strategy – or they can bet users will be swiping on to the next best thing.
Pull out your mobile device and do a quick audit of your company’s site and apps. Do they load quickly and read easily? Do they keep you engaged – or are you ready to bounce on to something better and more up to date?
As always, I welcome your input on how to approach changes and challenges in media. If you think I’ve misread a situation or trend, let me know. If you have a new way of thinking about the topics we discuss, pass it on. I want to engage with all of you in this space as together we make sense of today’s media industry.
Scott Dryburgh joined CSC in 2015 as the Industry Lead for Media with responsibility for UK projects in broadcast, publishing, advertising and entertainment. Prior to joining CSC, he worked across a broad range of clients and was responsible for transforming multi-faceted businesses using a creative and entrepreneurial approach.