News sites cede control of content consumption to “push” media

I made an observation back in February that content providers were losing control of the consumer’s experience as readers increasing found content by way of a search result page, as opposed to the provider’s own navigation. The content I was referencing was customer support documentation and knowledge base entries. Now comes evidence that the phenomenon is much broader.

News sites lose content controlApparently what goes for marketers’ web sites also applies to The New York Times, and presumably other news portals. Zachary Seward in the blog Quartz reports that traffic on the Times’ home page, section fronts and even the mobile app is in freefall as readers access content from links pushed to them in social media, bypassing the news organization’s navigation. Habits are changing; people no longer sit down to read the news, but consume it largely in occasional bursts at various points during the day.

When it comes to content consumption, the reader clearly is in control, and is consuming in bite-sized snacks, pushed to him by acquaintances in social media. Is the home page really dead? I doubt it, but it’s increasingly becoming an afterthought.

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1 Comment

Filed under content marketing, social media

One response to “News sites cede control of content consumption to “push” media

  1. I don’t think the classical push-pull dichotomy (e.g. http://www.uvm.edu/~tpatters/pcom/pullpush.html) is really apt for what you and Seward are trying to describe. Shared links on social networks still require users to click on the links: the headline may be pushed, but the content certainly is not.

    And then there is technology like GoogleNow which builds heuristic database of your preferences in news consumption. The question now becomes: if you had hired a secretary to read the news and tell you only the bits interesting to you, are you consuming the media by push or pull?

    The main difference, as I see it, is not so much that there is a shift from pull to push. The main difference is the vast increase in the choice of media in recent years. If anything, to handle the large quantity of information the users are developing a more “pull-centric” habit of consumption, with emphasis on more efficient filtering of “uninteresting content”. From my point of view the use of social media (friends, family, coworkers) and technology (news aggregators, GoogleNow) to alleviate the burden of filtering content is actually an extension of the pull paradigm instead of the push.

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