New Digital Media Trends for Real Estate in South Salem | South Salem NY Homes

Digital media, as many a Mashable reader is aware, is evolving at a rapid pace. It’s three months in to 2011, and already we’re witnessing the realization of many of our predictions for news mediadigital advertising and startups this year.

Social tools, such as Facebook and Tumblr, are coming to play a new role in news reporting and distribution, while brands are taking on the role of the media by creating and publishing content themselves. Meanwhile, consumers are beginning to access digital content across more devices, often simultaneously, and content creators are responding by creating content for multiple platforms and selling access to them in new subscription offerings.

Those are just a few of the trends we’re observing across digital media, which we explore in greater depth below.

1. New Tools for Reporting and Distribution

Twitter, YouTube and RSS, among other platforms, have long been lauded for their roles in news reporting and distribution in the age of real-time and social media. Now, a new crop of tools is emerging to help journalists tell stories, engage audiences and expand their reach.

Although hardly a new player, Facebook is playing an increasingly important role for working journalists, asMashable‘s Vadim Lavrusik pointed out in an article last week. During what has become known as the January 25th Revolution, Facebook helped journalists in North Africa and the Middle East identify planned protests, gather information and find relevant sources, among other things, notes Riyaad Minty, Al-Jazeera English‘s head of social media.

Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, on the other hand, uses the platform as another distribution outlet, posting regular updates to the 200,000 fans of his page, and NPR regularly posts messages to find sources.

In some cases, Facebook itself is part of the story. In a recent article for The Washington Post, Ian Shapira used screenshots of Facebook status updates to illustrate the heartbreaking story of a woman who died from post-pregnancy complications, showing — rather than telling — exactly how much her friends and associates valued her.

“Facebook has dramatically transformed the way journalists do their jobs,” Shapira observes. “It’s become an essential tool, making our jobs far more efficient.”

Beyond Facebook, news organizations such as The Atlantic and Newsweek are using Tumblr to tell the stories behind the ones they publish, start conversations with readers, and curate and share third-party content.

Photo-sharing iPhone app Instagram is also proving a popular tool for distributing topical imagery, soliciting feedback and attracting new followers, while Storify, which recently received a $2 million round of funding, is helping news organizations tell stories by pulling together a variety of different sources in a single, embeddable format.

2. Brands Become Media

Platforms such as YouTubeWordPress and Twitter have made it easier and more affordable than ever for brands to create and distribute their own content, thereby becoming media companies in their own right. Brands are investing accordingly — whether they’re hiring editors, producers and social media managers, or expanding the roles of their existing teams — to create editorial, visual, audio and other kinds of content.

Fashion label Tory Burch, for instance, hired away InStyle editor Honor Brodie to run its blog, awarding her the title of editor in chief — a first for the brand. Brodie has used the blog to transform the label, which was previously known almost solely for an iconic line of medallion-stamped ballet flats, into a full-fledged lifestyle brand. Brodie and her team post profiles of interesting people (authors, philanthropists, artists, bloggers, etc.), places and things on a daily basis.

“Several years ago, I noticed that a lot of style-conscious women were searching the web for both content and a retail fix,” Brodie says. “The laptop was competing for attention with TV and fashion magazines as a way to entertain and inspire. In this new world, it seemed to me that brands could become a trusted destination for content,” she recalls. is now a site, Brodie says (and we agree), “where content and commerce work together in a very twenty-first century way.”

In similar fashion, online retailer Net-a-porter has created a magazine that blends entertainment with e-commerce, while WEBS, the largest independent retailer of knitting, crocheting and weaving supplies, has used an informative podcast series to drive sales on its website.

In addition to lifestyle content, brands are often electing to announce new products or hiring decisions via their Twitter accounts and blogs, rather than through (or in addition to) formal press releases distributed to individual editors and presswires. Google and Twitter announce many of their new products that way, sometimes even setting press embargoes in time with the publication of their own social media posts. And Lady Gagapremiered her latest music video not through VH1 or MTV, but on Vevo.

3. New Aggregation and Curation Models

Consumers, publishers and developers are looking at new models for aggregating, curating and delivering content on the web and on mobile devices, blending editorial (human) curation with algorithmic and social recommendations.

On the web, we’ve seen the rise of RSS, Twitter and Tumblr for aggregating content in an individual way (i.e., users seek out and select their sources), while more formal aggregators such as Techmeme and Mediagazerlet third-party editors do it for them.

Still other models are emerging. Following the release of the iPad in 2010, a number of news-reading apps — in particular, FlipboardPulse and NewsMix [iTunes link] — surfaced, aggregating news from RSS, social networks and internal, algorithm-based recommendation models, and presenting them in a magazine-style format.

Even traditional news aggregators — i.e., the mainstream media — are changing the way they gather and deliver stories to readers. For time immemorial, the editors of The New York Times have determined what appears on the front page of the paper and, beginning in 1996, what appears on the front page of

Now, the front page of shows recommendations from one’s Facebook network alongside stories chosen by Times editors. Visitors can easily navigate to the “Most Popular” tab to find stories that have proven most popular among bloggers and readers. And recently, the Times rolled out a new, algorithm-driven recommendations system that serves up a list of content based on recently read items.

In the future, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the front page content of the divided into three sections: one for stories recommended by human editors, another with stories recommended by one’s social network and a third that delivers stories chosen by the site’s internal recommendations engine.

4. Rise of the Second Screen

Many consumers are no longer consuming digital content on a single device. Instead, they tweet on their laptops while viewing a TV program, watch another show on their tablet during a commercial or look up lyrics on their smartphones while listening to a song on the radio.

Content producers are playing up to this new behavior, incentivizing viewers to log in and discuss content on social networks and applications, and creating companions on secondary devices.

ABC released an app in September that pushes exclusive content around the show My Generation to viewers’ iPads in real time. USA Network launched a similar app for the show Psych in December. More recently, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC released a companion app for the Academy Awards that enabled viewers to go behind the scenes before, during and after the ceremony.

It’s a trend we expect to flourish further as publishers create additional, more feature-rich experiences on secondary and tertiary devices.

5. Multi-Platform Subscriptions

As consumers begin to access digital content from a wider variety of devices — including, most recently, smartphones and tablets — publishers are beginning to offer subscription packages that allow them to access content on all of those devices for one flat fee.

The Economist, for instance, currently offers access to its iPhone and iPad apps for free with a print or digital subscription. And Sports Illustrated recently introduced two different subscription packages to readers:

  1. a print and digital bundle that offers print delivery plus full access to web content, as well as access to the magazine’s apps for Android-powered tablets and smartphones, and
  2. a digital-only option that grants access to content on the web, and tablets and smartphones that run Android.

Notably, Apple’s popular iPhone and iPad devices are missing from that list, largely because a) Apple insists on a 30% share of subscription revenue initiated in the App Store, and b) Apple won’t share subscriber data with publishers. For now, those who prefer to read Sports Illustrated on their iPhones or iPads can continue to purchase and download single issues of the magazine through the apps [iTunes link] designated for each device.

We expect to see more of these kinds of subscription packages in the future, as well as the rise of more services like NetflixHuluRhapsody and Ongo, all of which allow users to access a variety of content on multiple devices for a flat monthly fee.

Digital media, as many a Mashable reader is aware, is evolving at a rapid pace. It’s three months in to 2011, and already we’re witnessing the realization of many of our predictions for news media, digital advertising and startups this year.

Mashable Story

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