Chief executive of newsroom technology provider Norkon Eirik Næsje answers Press Gazette’s questions about the future of live blogging and media technology. Norkon’s tech services include a live-blogging platform and stock market gamification.
What is the big challenge facing news publishers in 2023 and how can you help them address it?
“Today, news publishers compete with hundreds of media and entertainment platforms. To make things even more challenging, the attention span and how users consume news have changed dramatically over the last decade.
“We aim to provide publishers with tools to mitigate these challenges and attract modern readers while enhancing loyalty.
“Given that all markets are different and that there is no silver bullet to success, we provide tools and products that give our customers enough flexibility to apply them to their specific markets. For example, the customisable features of our live coverage software, Live Center, promote user loyalty and drive habitual behaviour.
“Our financial solutions are built to attract new demographics to the financial sector of news media. In essence, our solutions aim to create new behaviours and habits that motivate users to return. This allows our customers to monetise new users and readers while ensuring the retention of existing audiences.”
How is live blogging going to change over the next few years?
“Live blogging will still be a significant traffic driver, but we foresee two major changes in the future.
“On the media side, live blogging will become the new freemium for publishers while a greater amount of content will be gated behind paywalls. A live-blogging software like Live Center will be optimal to promote subscriber-only articles and guide new users behind the paywall.
“On the technology side, live blogging will move from monologues to dialogues. We are adjusting accordingly and are developing new functionalities in Live Center that offer deeper interactions with readers.”
What’s working? What are publishers doing well at the moment?
“We are fortunate to find ourselves in a unique observer position to see what works well with large and smaller media outlets.
“With our gamification solution, Fantasy Funds, our customers were able to achieve 30% of newly registered users, which were entirely new to the site. The metrics also indicate a higher usage and activity level among existing users, driving to the conclusion that engagement is key.
“For our live-blogging solution, Live Center, our customers were able to experience higher traffic numbers to their website, higher ad impressions per visit, as well as a traffic increase to paid articles.”
What is the USP of Norkon solutions for publishers when compared to other tech platforms out there?
“Our experts have extensive media industry knowledge and understand how to attract readers and build engaging products.
“We offer best-of-breed solutions that can be tailored to fit seamlessly into our customers’ media landscape. By customising our solutions to each customer’s unique needs, we help them bridge gaps in their audience engagement and subscription funnel.”
How do you see news gamification developing over the next year?
“As the media landscape continues to become increasingly more competitive, publishers will need to adopt engagement strategies such as gamification to stay relevant.
“The reason for this is that the new generation does not retain information in the same way. One successful way to overcome short attention spans is to offer interactive content to keep readers focused. Gamifying information has proven to be an efficient way to engage readers and increase retention, a strategy that has worked for newspapers like Nettavisen or the Washington Post.
“As a result, gamification will come to play a more prominent role in multiple areas across newspapers.”
What impact is AI technology like ChatGPT going to have on live blogging and gamification?
“ChatGPT is a truly remarkable technology that has the potential to improve how journalists work, and we are working towards pairing ChatGPT with our live-blogging solution, Live Center. The ability to receive automated suggestions in real-time can significantly enhance the speed of reporting and give journalists more time to focus on the bigger picture.
“The concept of giving journalists superpowers with automated suggestions is ground-breaking. With ChatGPT’s powerful algorithms, journalists can access a wealth of information in real-time, including background information, contextual analysis, or expert quotes. This can be a great asset to leverage to create more in-depth and nuanced coverage.
“Norkon is currently utilising ChatGPT in a research project to enhance journalists’ coverage of financial markets. We plan to extend this functionality to all types of live events, including sports events and political rallies. We are excited that Live Center contributes to the future of live blogging, and we believe that our integration with ChatGPT will empower journalists to take news reporting to the next level.”
How do you see the outlook for news media over the rest of this year?
“Historically, we have seen that people turn towards trusted information sources when society faces uncertainties, like during the pandemic. Especially for financial news providers, the current times provide an excellent opportunity to bring back users from alternative news channels such as social media and community forums.
“On the commercial side, retaining existing subscribers has become more crucial than generating new conversions. Innovative engagement tactics will play a key role in achieving this.
“Last but not least, customisation is becoming the highest-value asset for paying subscribers. In response, we’ve released a new version of our financial platform, Pulse, that incorporates more customisable features. We expect this trend to continue and hope our solutions will help publishers stay ahead of the curve.”
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