For more than 400 years, publishers have seen success with a product we are all familiar with: the daily newspaper edition. This is a product that has been perfected and innovated on throughout centuries, has been loved by readers across the world and has served as foundation for successful publishing businesses.
Through newspaper editions, the publishers offered readers the service of curation of content, interpretation of data and judgement on current events. They mastered the art and craft of the perfect layout and aesthetics. They incorporated smart ways to help readers comfortably navigate through content, like fixed structures, sections, hierarchy and finishability. They have developed an infrastructure of production and distribution that allowed readers to form and maintain daily habits. The daily newspaper edition. Has been a very rich product and this richness has not always been translated into the digital news experience we know today.
When newspapers first went online in the early 90s, publishers viewed their value proposition as purely the content they created, so articles were simply published to their websites. The design and hierarchy that had been perfected over time was missing. Publishers stepped away from the principles of the product they had worked hard to craft and offered their most valuable resource, the content produced by newsrooms of hundreds of journalists employed for free online.
Today readers have more choices for news than their grandparents could ever have imagined. To stand out in this crowded space, publishers need to provide something innovate and differentiate with products that readers cannot get elsewhere. It’s the service of curation in today’s busy world that stands out as valuable for many readers. While they can access free news anywhere online, they cannot freely receive an expert’s opinion on the exact order of the stories they need to read today. The daily edition has fulfilled this need since the first newspaper was printed, but what is the digital equivalent?
Power of editions
“We believe in the power of editions. Our readers love the curated order, finite experience and editorial choice. In times of limitless information and limited time, editions provide the valuable service of selection and judgement.”Alan Hunter, Head of Digital at The Times & The Sunday Times
In the past years more and more publishers have tried to replicate the edition experience by putting up pure PDFs of the printed newspaper on their website. While not seen as an innovation at first, this product is surprising many publishers and analysist as it continues to grow every year.
Having a collection of curated stories, placed in a well-thought-out order, in a format that readers are familiar with and know how to navigate is especially important in today’s world where keeping up with the news can feel overwhelming.
But there is certainly more than the replica ePaper when building the newspaper edition of the future. At Twipe we have spent the past years in research and collaboration projects, digging into the data, analyzing reader behavior and designing new technologies to create a Digital Edition that provide the best reading experience on new digital channels such as mobile devices.
As part of our research we have ran a survey with more than 4000 readers to understand their edition reding preferences, Edition readers have often been a neglected reading group, with a general feeling that there is something old-school or dusty about ePapers and digital editions. But the research showed that half of all readers do prefer to consume news in the edition format. This was true across countries, but also across age groups, with younger readers just as likely to prefer editions as older readers.
Having a collection of curated stories, placed in a well-thought-out order, is especially important in today’s world where keeping up with the news can feel overwhelming.