Posts Tagged ‘aggregation’

taptuOld media companies still haven’t grasped that they’re going to have to forge new alliances and collaborate with once bitter rivals if they’re to survive and thrive.

Newspapers and broadcasters have always operated as walled gardens and the model has served them so well that some have come to think they have a right to exist, or that brand loyalty will see them through, or that an iPhone or iPad app will pull the fat from the fire.

   Technology is taking us into the media equivalent of fantasy football where readers can pick and choose their favourite columnists and commentators, mix and match the organizations that serve them, and all while letting their social networks do the heavy lifting by filtering the tide of new information.

In this world aggregators like Taptu, Flipboard Pulse and Zite take different approaches but they all have one thing in common, they break the boundaries that organizations put up between their content and their competitors.

Taptu talks about DJ-ing the news and mixing streams to curate them exactly as you want, by organization, or topic, or special interest.

For those who don’t want to invest the time or effort in doing this then the social graph that connects them with what friends and peers are reading, or watching, or finding interesting, is less taxing.

Is it too fanciful to think that ‘old media’ moguls might join forces to aggregate their own content on a shared platform rather than relying on third parties to do the job?  Perhaps it is, but as things stand they’re losing out.

Frederic Filoux makes the point that they’re not getting audience data from those third parties and it’s the rich learning mined from understanding new patterns of consumption that will be the foundation of future advertising models.

Getting media rivals to collaborate would be problematic, for sure.  Getting agreement on a format and ways to share and monetize material would be a Herculean task, no question. But not to even try would be foolhardy.

Flipboard has just picked up another $50m in venture capital funding; it’s lean (32 employees) it’s nimble, it’s single-minded and it’s tech savvy.

Against that, media businesses may harbor deep rivalries, but they also have rich content at local, national and international level and the potential to package their material in new ways that would better serve the audience and themselves if they could find a way to collaborate.

It’s worth remembering that before SMS became a multi-billion pound earner for mobile operators the business was Balkanised to the extent that messages couldn’t be sent to people outside individual networks.

It only took off when the restriction was removed and a business model was instituted that allowed rival operators to charge each other a small fee for passing messages to other networks.


There are now any number of sites curating content in interesting ways – by peer group or social network for instance – and for the most part it’s done by automated programs.

The latest to come to my attention – Mediagazer – combines automated aggregation with selections by “knowledgable editors” to create “the day’s must-read media news on a single page”.

For sheer pizzazz it doesn’t come near The Daily Beast but it does offer a number of cuts of its content including a chronology, versions for smartphones and simpler mobiles, and by top sources.

For serendipitous discovery of interesting content it beats the Beast hands down.

The Google sewage factory in action

The story behind the Wikileaks log

How Max headroom predicted the demise of TV journalism

Current big brand websites are going to have to devote a lot more time and energy to intelligent curation within their pages to add value to what they do.

Had a team in from Adobe to demo FlashCast, a mobile technology that allows “engaging, branded mobile experiences across handsets and platforms”.

They showed work they’ve been doing with Telenor in Sweden in which they’ve created a hub where channels (brands) are aggregated and monetized.
I may be missing something, but it felt fundamentally flawed; do we really want to replace the walled gardens of telcom companies with an ad-funded mobile EPG?

That said, the aggregation framework looked promising, a navigation bundle that operated in a similar fashion to the way you can browse album covers on a iPod.

But far better to let users populate the channel lists with their own chosen favourites and, in my case at least, without the ads.