Evolving Distribution Platforms in a Fractured Media Environment

In a previous post, I mentioned a quote about making the entire Web social.
It also makes me think of the never-ending challenge for publishers trying to reach audiences that are no longer visiting their sites to receive the same information elsewhere.
Another quote from Razorfish’s 2008 FEED report sums this up nicely:

“Distribution must evolve into a science, as reaching consumers in a fragmented, personalized environment will become increasingly complex… Major publishers are now forced to completely rethink the way they reach consumer in a fractured distribution environment. “
Part of the reason I think that users are embracing media across other areas of the web is not that larger publishers are producing stale content or uninteresting media, but as a result of the way in which content is presented, as well as the lack of tools and features on these sites. This has caused users looking elsewhere to help them participate in and personalize their experience around the same content.

Per recent comScore data, media entities that are conversational in nature, such as posting comments, blogging, and other forms of social media are seeing the fastest growth in total minutes spent and number of visits by audiences online. While this a no brainer, the good news is that some larger publishers are already in fact making progress that will bring users out of their social media ghettos and back into the mainstream light where personalization and participation can occur.

To further prove my point, comScore is also reporting an increase in time spent on top news and content sites. However, this trend is not entirely attributed to consumer trends in hyperconsumption, but also as the result of publishers who have been smart enough to revamp their sites, making them easier to navigate and easier to consumer content.

As publishers begin to get what makes their readers come back for more and engage with their content, larger web properties have made efforts to improve their sites, such as providing more snack-size video, providing areas for users to comment on articles, send-to-a-friend/sharing functionality, and even embedding the now standard web 2.0 icons allowing users to bookmark on delicious, post to facebook, embed video on their blog, digg articles, and so on.