Commentary

What's A Web Site To Do?

If you believe that most of everything people consume will be gotten through a smartphone or by discovering content via social media, then you’ve got to wonder what the value of a slick Web site should be.

And that, apparently, is what’s bugging Conde Nast.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the publisher of some of America’s biggest and best magazine titles will be scrapping the current version of The Scene, its online hub for video content from several of those publications. It will return with a mobile orientation, with items presented as in a newsfeed, and which users can personalize.

The Scene, as it is now, is not being seen by many. That’s not totally surprising, though its difficulties would have been hard to predict when it began in 2014.

There you’ve got all these fabulous titles--Vanity Fair, W, GQ, Allure and non-Conde Nast partners--all in one spot. It seems tantalizing, but I have a feeling the publisher took all those titles and hid their video content behind a title that meant nothing much.

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Everybody could name all the contributing parties to the site, but what the heck was The Scene? Never heard of it. (And it seemed, to me, to always conjure up video clips of K-Tel “Hits of the '60s.”)

But the idea sounded right, two years ago, when MediaPost’s Gavin O’Malley called it “an aggressive move into video aggregation,” which, indeed, it was, by a company with a lot of stuff to aggregate.

The idea back then--way back when Obama was president and Republicans fought his every move--was that consumers warming to online video would surely like land in one spot to find a lot of it from sources they liked.

That turned out to be true, but lately, the aggregating places became Facebook and Twitter, and the way people watched, increasingly, is through on a cell phone, not a even a laptop.

And after all, what’s to become of the PC?

Gartner, the info tech research company, reports that worldwide sales of PCs declined 8% last year, the fourth year running of declines. In  the mobile-first environment a lot of publishers are considering their new reality, and running a snappy Website might seem a little old fashioned.

Yet, the WSJ noted, while The Scene may not be happening, video viewing on some magazines’ dedicated Websites is going up. “Collectively, the number of video views across Time Inc. properties on desktops jumped over the past year from 18 million views in December 2014 to 49 million last month” the WSJ reported, citing comScore data, and Conde Nast titles likewise, report big gains on desktops. 

What this might mask is that social media and quick-hit smartphone-sized videos are drawing users to publishers’ Web sites. That’s just the way you’d think God intended it, with some interesting diversions.
pj@mediapost.com
1 comment about "What's A Web Site To Do? ".
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  1. J S from Ideal Living Media, January 19, 2016 at 2:50 p.m.

    YouTube and Netflix appear to be rapidly consolidating all video online. Other players seem further and further behind. Both offer revenues to those who share content on their systems. Meanwhile 


    Meanwhile, Facebook and other social media networks not only do not share revenues, but charge for their content to be shared via promoted posts. Facebook in particular has reduced automatic shares for popular users to near-zero percent. Of their followers.


    I am advising my clients to focus on YouTube as their primary social network, and ignore the others. Pinterest helps with women, but the odds of female followers stumbling upon your posts in their bloated feeds is increasingly unlikely.  Instagram doesn't even allow links at all, and personal, "shared experience" posts get few "likes" at all. Most social networks are being rendered pointless and wasted effort. 

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