Better visualisation and immersive content

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In this part of our series on Contributor Payment Models we look at visualisations… and where this ongoing change is taking us.

The conflation of content innovation; contextualisation via new technologies; and audience development is something I have always personally believed in.

In the past, this has led me to building everything from conversation engines and prediction markets, through to sentiment analysis and performance algorithms designed with the aim of maximising usage, creating high-value content, or extending the lifecycle of the content item.

Today, the very same thoughts have me exploring the concepts behind immersive content and developing data visualisations.

In many way, immersive content is simply a continuing development in the art of storytelling. Interactivity within and/or around the content item; usage rewards and gamification features are coming to prominence.

The growing maturity of new technologies, especially HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery have enabled developers to create specific front-end functionalities and tools for storytelling across all devices. The huge ongoing increase in mobile usage has further driven standards and innovation across the digital economy.

Widely used SaaS tools such as Disqus’ commenting service, or CoverItLive’s ‘live blogging’ service are great and add to the users’ experience on a property. Unique, proprietary functionality built solely with your property and its users in mind are even better. Editorial, however remains centre stage. Content is still king.

Driven by factors such as ever-increasing data transfer and processing power, the future of storytelling on the internet is undoubtedly going to be more visual and immersive in nature.

Professional writers should therefore look to embrace data visualisation, the art of illustration and interactive infographics in the same way they embraced taxonomies, search and user comments in the decade before.

When used in combination with well researched editorial the content item becomes an excellent tool for communication, engagement and ideally suited to the myriad of (viral) social media platforms out there. What’s more, content farms and spinners are unlikely to compete at this level of communication.

Communities such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn along with the larger social bookmarking properties like StumbleUpon and Reddit are key traffic drivers.

Today, Facebook and Twitter can each generate substantially more audience than organic search. That huge change has happened in just the last five years; and with that change, media properties like Buzzfeed have emerged and grown enormous audiences and bubble-like valuations of >$850 million by innovating with platforms and playing off viral social media content.

Whilst I doubt we have experienced peak Buzzfeed yet, will it still be amongst the very top content players in 5-10 years’ time?

It might happen, but as its audience and therefore its advertising revenue are hugely reliant upon one entirely separate and unrelated business (Facebook) I would suggest that the odds are against it.

If I was to gaze into my figurative crystal ball and attempt to prognosticate the future, I would predict new brands based on the effective visualisation and communication of content emerging. They will experience a boom in traffic in the same way as Buzzfeed, the listicle, LOL cat meme’s and pre-Panda content farms experienced before them.

Examples of coming change

Perhaps the coming 5G revolution will remove most (if not all) latency within Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) systems and therefore become a key driver in the next phase of innovation across the digital media ecosystem?

Conferences and learning could become truly virtual. Broadcast media could become deeply immersive and reporters could bring you the story, or sports, or whatever not just into your living room on an LCD screen, but further into your senses in near real-time.

Practically-speaking, you could immediately take a stroll around a house you are interested in buying, rather than waiting a few days for an open day.

Alternatively, you could go to a department store, scan curtains, or tiles and then transmogrify and/or renovate your own house and see detail as you would want to see it before you spend your money. The list of uses and potential innovation is almost endless.

Change is only 4-6 years away depending upon where you are located in the world, so now is the time for entrepreneurs within the media space to start imagining all those exciting new products and related business models.

Continue browsing this series of articles:

  • The problem with existing contributor payment models
  • The need to diversify revenues
  • Better visualisations and immersive content
  • Investigating industry average numbers
  • Introducing a new contributor payment model
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