Without rehashing what has already been well-written by Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman, the recent deal between the New York Times and third-party app Flipboard is an interesting agreement that raises some questions for publishers and news orgs in general.
Sonderman laid out “four things” for us to ponder, but I want to focus on the last one: Content is King vs. Costumer is King.
In a nutshell, this concept comes down to what news orgs value more: having their content available on several different third-party platforms and applications so that it can reach more readers or having their content available on their own products so they can control the message and maintain the “closeness” of the relationship with their readers.
My take? It doesn’t matter.
This deal, to me, in my “humble” opinion, just goes to show that there ARE ways outside of banner ads to make money in the digital space and the news orgs that haven’t began exploring those options are way behind.
You can stick with the Customer is King philosophy and, through local advertising partnerships, original and creative sponsorships of online content, “daily deals” sites and the like, sustain a digitally-focused newsroom.
Or you can go with the strategy the New York Times has chosen and work with third-party developers to create an arsenal of products to showcase your content in several different ways- that way, the reader gets to decide where and how he or she wants to consume your content (as long as they have a paid subscription).
Your third option is to create a balance between the two strategies.
You do not have the option of going with none of the above.
Your move, print media.
(sidenote: I’ve loved Flipboard since I first downloaded it on the iPad a year ago. It’s a reader-friendly, newspaper-esque display app that aggregates your Twitter feed, Facebook timeline and more. You should check it out if you haven’t already)