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.
Apparently 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.