Removing the Friction in News Media

The effects of Social Media have been felt by traditional News Media for some time. Traditional eCommerce Sites maybe about to feel the same effects from technology -centric startups. An experience with the New York times led me to think about how news sites should examine possible friction points and work on ways of removing them

This morning I saw a post on Tobey Fitch's Facebook wall discussing an article in the NY Times. By the time you get to this, it will be a broken link, I promise you.

I clicked through, liked the article and wanted to Tweet it - which would send it via Twitter to my Facebook, so sharing with a broader audience. Most sites I frequent, will pop-up a Twitter or Facebook log-in screen (or just pick up my current authentication with either of those sites) and allow me to post - even writing a summary and providing a shortened link.

Not so with the NYT, instead I get a small hurdle to step over in the form of a registration screen that asks me to register directly with their publication.

Login Screen for NY Times (Twitter Connect)

On any normal weekday, I'd move on pretty fast, however, today is Boxing Day and I have a few minutes on my hands to ponder the motivations and consequences behind the little hurdles that we are forced to jump online and where businesses can learn from the journalistic model that seems to be slightly ahead of it.

  1. NY Times has a paid subscription model that it intends to protect

  2. There are other places where I can find the same information that might be free (with the usual arguments between curated journalism vs social media and their relative biases)

  3. So to protect the Times advertising-driven business model they have created a small hurdle - however, as I am used to zero friction this is enough to put me off

  4. How can the NY Times build a new sustainable model that has zero or minimal friction?

  5. What can we learn from the disintermediation of News Media by Social Media?

  6. CUNY recommends the new model for News Media will incorporate Hyper-Local, New Smaller Organizations and Not-For-Profit models.

  7. Traditional Retailers struggling with their market share being eaten by new technology start-ups should take a moment to understand forces that are changing their customers expectations

Back to the NY Times, here are my requirements:

  • Facebook and Twitter are my access point to the web

  • They will maintain my profile and I will ensure it up to date

  • They will authenticate me (as they now provide the effective OpenID)

  • I will allow the NY Times to access my profile from there

  • As Facebook provides me with fine control of permissions to my profile, I am happy sharing things with NY Times via Facebook

  • For premium content that the NY Times does not want to give away, I would be happy paying with a micro-payment model (such as EmanciPay)

  • In general, what I want is for any site to remove any points of friction from my experience, particularly if you want me to pay for stuff