Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Retweet: the Economist demonstrates a good understanding of the differences in digital platforms

I highly recommend reading this post from The Economist Group on the company's digital strategy.

The first sub-head says it all: "Lead-forward web and lean-back digital editions."

The post is an excerpt from The Economist Group’s annual report 2012 and briefly lays out the history of digital media and the important developments that they feel have occurred more recently.

It describers very well the reading habits of its web readers and, therefore, the appropriate strategy to serve these readers:

The web provides a completely different experience from print. Yes, visitors to Economist.com do read content there, but the web offers an interactive, snacking, lean-forward and, increasingly, a social and shared experience. That realization has taken us in a completely different direction online, where we now focus on giving readers the opportunity to read our journalism but also to engage with our journalists and with each other, not just on Economist.com but on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere too. Happily, therefore, the web has been additive to the business rather than replacing print, and it has given us the ability to reach millions more people with our distinctive journalism and to begin to build a community among our readers.
But the next paragraph talks about the rise of tablets, and the very different vision of what is needed on that platform:
What is revolutionary for magazines like The Economist, however, is the reinvention of long-form reading triggered by Amazon when it launched Kindle in 2007 and fuelled dramatically by Apple’s iPad. We are fortunate because tablets, e-readers and smartphones allow our readers to enjoy the ritual, lean-back, immersive experience of reading The Economist that they love in print. Many of our readers tell us that this experience is, in fact, even better than print, because as well as being lean-back, digital editions are delivered immediately and reliably (much more so than via the postal service); the backlit screens display images, maps and charts beautifully; and the devices offer opportunities to innovate and deliver more functionality—so, for example, our tablet and smartphone apps also deliver the full newspaper in audio each week.
The entire post is worth reading as it also reviews some data TNM readers have seen before, but it entirely appropriate when discussing digital media strategy.

If this excerpt is indicative of what usually can be found inside the company's annual report I'll be a regular reader of what is usually a droll and merely obligatory publication.

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