Executive Producer, Digital, at CBC News, Pras Rajagopalan, visited Marlene Murphy's course COMN 4222 News Next: Creating News in a Platform Society on September 20. Rajagopalan was there to present on analytics/metrics, audience development, evolving storytelling on digital platforms, and the challenges he and his team face in today's online landscape.
Pras began by discussing elements of change that news publishers have been dealing with over the past few years such as: referral traffic, aggregators, and recommendation systems. He then moved onto the major challenges, which are the ease of use on various platforms, the user's expectations that content will be targeted, competition, and time.
“...it's an attention economy and time is the currency. We’re competing with anyone who spends time on digital. Of your available time in a day, what do you spend it on? What are you going to gravitate towards?"
One of the biggest hurdles, according to Rajagopalan, is standing out. The internet has many equivalent news choices; if it all looks similar, how does one choose a particular site and/or publisher over another? We now live in a world with too much information, information of varying qualities, and scan behaviour - so how does a news organization differentiate itself?
He concluded by explaining how CBC News is now shifting towards a model that is less focused on page views, and more on being a part of the user’s daily routine. From reach to loyalty - this is done mainly via membership and subscriptions.