For those who are not regular subscribers to Thrillist, it’s one of the hottest email newsletters amongst the young, affluent male set.The publication has a presence in over 50 markets across the US and UK, reaching more than 1.8 million readers. While reading an article from the Wall Street Journal’s “Venture Capital Dispatch” blog recently, I was struck by the comments from Ben Lerer, one of Thrillist’s co-founders. In the post, Lerer states that the modern media company will be “Content plus Commerce.”
Lerer is right. As media becomes more interactive (see the iPhone, iPad, the dawn of Internet-connected TVs), commerce will be infused into every user engagement. Commerce will be blended into the fabric of all content.
It will be done in ways so not to infringe upon the media experience. It will function as an “always on” feature that consumers can activate at any given time; an invisible layer that weaves between online articles, TV programming, and out-of-home media. Whether that be in the form of clicking on an actress’ dress in a web video to access a virtual storefront, or snapping a mobile barcode within a print publication to purchase the product advertised on the page, commercial interactions embedded within traditional and emerging media platforms will forever narrow the path to purchase.
With the proliferation of smartphones, always connected consumers devour content at all times throughout the day. The greater the connections between the content they’re absorbing via their personal handsets and the commercial activities that they are doing, the greater the relevance of the advertising messages they receive. As content channels permeate the various aspects of our lives, consumers will come to expect single click-through purchase experiences everywhere they go.
As more content publishers lose advertising dollars to upstart media entities, they will further supplement their revenue streams by forming branded content relationships that merge commerce and content in ways that benefit all parties involved. The last thing consumers want is for magazines and online entities to read like catalogs, but they do want recommendations from trusted sources. They want to be able to pull product information from editorial photographs. They want to access digital information within the fabric of their content experience.
We want to do eight things at once. We are happy to do so. We want to read, learn, purchase, read some more, consumer video, listen to iTunes, buy songs, recommend clothes to our friends, and so on and so on… In bridging the world’s of commerce and content,. consumers can move between both worlds without any lag. They can jump back in forth between consuming content and purchasing products as though they were moving through a doorway.