With tablet growth slowing and the desktop computer becoming redundant, it’s safe to say that there is a revolution going on.
Tablet use is slowing down, and because of the ascendance of smartphones with bigger screens and unlimited apps and adequate battery life, the need for a separate, less portable touch screen device or desktop unit in the home is diminishing. The role of the laptop and desktop computer has definitely changed. Recent trends show that these devices are not now considered it the most important device for accessing online news at home, although desktop computers still remain the most important device in the office environment. It is becoming the norm for people to use two or three devices to access their news. Smartphones and tablets allow people to remain connected to their news and information in their homes and on the move.
News as a category is being particularly affected by the fundamental changes that news consumption is undergoing worldwide. More people than ever are accessing journalism of all types through their phones and mobile devices, and when they do, chances are that they will be getting their information through social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
Social media platforms have become de facto middlemen in the news business, and journalism and journalists are becoming ever more dependent on these new distribution platforms to find their audience. Publishers are being compelled to react and to examine their business models and strategies for the future if they hope to survive. If any news organization, even the legacy stalwarts of the industry, wishes to reach a large audience on the web and stay relevant it has little choice but to develop relationships with third-party platforms.
Smartphones are not going away, and we have not yet seen the epitome of their technical prowess. The social media trend propelled by the importance of smartphones will not stop, and in fact is growing. News organizations are in a fight for their lives, and they must evolve, but they are facing issues new to the industry. Publishing is ancient, and the business model had remained pretty much the same for decades. These companies are scrambling to find technological solutions to compete with the new social media giants created by Silicon Valley.
These new models are a win for consumers. News can be accessed in virtual real-time from a device that fits into a pocket. The many venues to access and share news is a great empowering force for information and for journalism as a whole, but existing publishing houses and their ancillary industries must have a strategy to deal with a future which is centered on a mobile distribution model which is dynamic and constantly changing. Control of the media and the message means something very different now.