In the second of the two-parts, ScribbleLive co-founder and CEO discusses media in the digital age and why he hates live tweeting
The technology business is unforgiving. Change moves quickly and businesses that don’t keep up won’t survive. Michael De Monte has made a point of not only staying ahead of the curve, but driving change. “I helped hammer the nails into the coffin of the typesetter industry in the early 80s,” he says. The CEO and co-founder of content management and publishing company ScribbleLive has been on the cutting edge of new media for more than 30 years and has no intention of slowing down. Born and bred in Toronto, De Monte was involved in desktop publishing before it revolutionized the publishing industry, and was working on Internet start-ups before slick browsers and search engines made the web accessible to school children and mommy bloggers.
After De Monte’s stint with CTVGlobe Media’s online production team, two things became clear; the proliferation of the social web meant that readers with increasingly short attention spans demanded more coverage of breaking news and events at exponentially greater speeds and newsrooms did not have the resources to meet those needs. As a result, outlets that were fighting to keep up with the changing media landscape looked to crowd-sourced content on platforms such as Twitter to fill the void.
This, according to DeMonte, is where online outlets went wrong. “The news-consuming public demands real-time updates of breaking news stories but they are hungry for authoritative, quality content,” says De Monte. “They are not interested in uninformed rumors that online editors pull in from Twitter to fill the white space in reporting. Consumers are looking for content that offers value, and if they’re not getting it from traditional news sources, they will look elsewhere.”
That is why De Monte and his business partner Jonathan Keebler created ScribbleLive and the Syndication Marketplace, which allows online outlets to syndicate news content from expert sources in real-time.
“We are not a technology company,” says De Monte. “The minute we call ourselves a technology company, we’re dead. We’re a content delivery company. We offer news organizations the opportunity to contextualize and monetize authoritative coverage of globally significant events as they happen, and measure engagement with that content to the second.”
That same lack of accurate measurement, authority and ability to monetize content is exactly why De Monte is taking on platforms such as Twitter as a source for news.
“I can’t understand why a news organization would ever allow one of its journalists to live-tweet,” says De Monte. “Live tweeting does nothing to drive page views; it functions only to build the journalists’ personal brand capital. Media outlets need to focus on building their own brands in order to survive.”
De Monte believes that effective media companies can use Twitter, Facebook and the like to give a nugget of information that drives readers back to their websites for the full real-time coverage. “All of those eyeballs staring at Twitter streams are not monetizable,” says De Monte. “Content producers need to understand this.”