In a series of articles we will build the business case for VersoView. Our first article gave a general introduction of VersoView, in this second article we take the perspective of the reader.
The reader is the key stakeholder within the VersoView ecosystem since it’s the end market for our publishers’ stories. For building the VersoView case, it’s important to understand the reader and the current challenges he or she faces.
Before we take their perspective, let’s take a look who this reader is, or can be. VersoView aims at multiple different markets, which leads to a variety of content forms targeting different audiences.
At VersoView we believe in the power of stories and therefore we think story-first. We can distinguish a variety of story categories: entertaining stories, informative stories and instructive stories. Stories can be published by magazine publishers, companies and brands, educational partners and events. For example, a reader can be a magazine subscriber, an e-zine or e-book reader, a student, a fan of a brand or a sports club or an attendee of an event. From a business perspective, a reader can be an employee or another stakeholder of a business consulting a corporate publication or presentation. In most of the cases ‘the reader’ turns out to be a reader of several of these types at once since VersoView integrates all these story categories and content forms within the ecosystem.
Let’s zoom out and take a look at the options for finding and reading high quality digital stories in a seamless way currently. Although technology offers us many opportunities, technology is not always being used to enrich the reader experience.
In an environment of an abundance of information like the (digital) world we’re living in, it’s often a challenge to discover new stories, with new insights, based on the reader’s specific interests. Finding our way through this jungle of content is a struggle. Besides that, the filter bubble is real. Current personalized filters serve a kind of invisible autopropaganda, amplifying our desire for things that are familiar and leaving us oblivious to the dangers lurking in the dark territory of the unknown. Author and activist Eli Pariser sums up the result of extensive filtration: “A world constructed from the familiar is the world in which there’s nothing to learn”. VersoView’s VersoPlus technology spurs the reader’s exploration of new relevant stories and content in a totally new, AI-driven, way.
Another challenge for the reader is quality. The quality of content matters more than ever because of an increasing amount of fake news, clickbait and bad quality publications. ‘Quality’ is of course in the eye of the beholder. If you are someone who can’t wait for updates on a Hollywood star’s love life, you simply have a different reader profile than someone who relishes every page in an adventure exploration magazine.
Using AI and big data — coupled with media profiling — users can choose to enter anonymous demographic details which will marry with the profiles that publishers are seeking. Established brands and publishers know their audiences inside out. Those key datasets will help push curated suggestions to users that will be relevant and inspire. Should you find another brand or publisher that you enjoy, you can then also subscribe to their title to unlock their other content. That could be investigative, long form writing or glossy gossip, depending on who you are as a reader. Importantly, users can exclude whole swathes of content that in the current media environment would be forced upon them, as they are lucrative for advertisers. Shocking and sticky sells. Yes, it might be getting millions of views, but does it have any relevance to that reader? VersoView will allow that style of click bait to be excluded.
VersoView respects it’s readers preferences and builds upon those, rather than throwing high-volume sticky content at them. In the short-term the clickbait content is more valuable, but in the long-term you lose the audience.
Not only does the quality of the story matter, the quality of the digital reader experience of publications is of the utmost importance. The current experience we see in the industry is underwhelming; hard work, inelegant, and often frustrating to the point of giving up. Digital PDF page-turners exist, but the user experience is very poor and complicated to ‘read’. VersoView’s OpenView solves this problem. As well as a simple, elegant, intuitive interface, the reader can also listen to an audio conversion of the story.
Also, readers are often largely unable to comment, instigate or participate in any debate on the content or create communities around publications. A core element of VersoView is to allow subscribers to connect, comment on, highlight and discuss the editorials that pique their varied interests. Readers are more likely to enter into a discussion within a secure, closed user group, rather than posting comments on the wider internet that anyone can read and assign to them. VersoView offers the opportunity to create niche communities around publications of all forms (in the next article we’ll take ‘The Community’ perspective of VersoView). Additionally, VersoView introduces an exclusive, blockchain-based, social token for every community built around a publication. This social token can be used to encourage engagement, reward readers and let readers reward content creators and one another.
One of today’s challenges in the world of publishing is advertising. Back in the 70s, it was reported that the average person saw between 500 to 1600 ads per day. Fast forward to 2021, and although there are no official figures, the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day! It is not a stretch to say that the competition for our attention is fierce. This is one of the reasons traditional advertising is less effective today, especially when advertisements are less relevant to the reader. Readers are often annoyed by another irrelevant advertisement disturbing their reading experience.
At VersoView we believe that advertising brands should not annoy the reader, but should add value to the reader experience. VersoView’s technology ensures relevance to the users. Not only the relevance of stories but also the relevance of brands and products getting access to the reader. The introduction of social tokens in content specific communities ensures an economy is created within a niche. This offers advertisers a completely new way to connect with their ideal audience. Readers could earn social tokens interacting with content, other readers and advertisers that have been curated to appeal to their specific interests. Social tokens grant the reader access to a certain tiers of perks offered by brands relevant to the community and the reader. This creates a symbiotic relationship between publishers, advertisers and the reader.
Last but not least… PRIVACY!
VersoView believes that privacy is paramount for the reader. There are growing concerns about invasion of privacy, most notably in relation to Google and Facebook, but also Amazon and other big tech players. As additional proof we see an increased usage of ad blockers and privacy-based browsers, and the growth of search options such as DuckDuckGo. VersoView supports a movement towards greater reader privacy. That’s why we only use anonymized data and give more power to the reader over their own user data. We will elaborate more on this topic in the near future.
Allow us now unfold how all the above would work in a user case.
We’ll make up a publication, and call it Safari Journal.
Safari Journal (SJ) is a niche publication aimed at high-earning individuals who roam the continents each year spotting elusive species, or colossal migrations.
For existing subscribers to their hardcopy print and/or print and digital magazine, SJ readers would be able to view, or listen to, all content within each title, and be able to enjoy their complete inventory of previous editions. For non-subscribers, SJ publishes selected feature(s) from each edition to be discovered on the VersoView platform, employing VersoPlus AI to be discovered. To unlock all features and the back catalogue, new readers would become subscribers of SJ.
Just read a piece in SJ about how Nile Crocodiles arrive just before the wildebeest cross the Mara River? You’ve actually seen it and have photos and video from your time in Tanzania. So you can share that experience akin to a social media platform with other SJ subscribers. Those who are outside of the SJ community do not get to see those comments, highlights, ratings, images, or discussions until they also subscribe.
Readers can get rewarded with social tokens for their engagement within the community. Using Social Tokens, the most avid readers may get special incentives such as exclusive pre-release access to limited edition prints, or doubling their chances in prize draws. Using our reader-centric AI, SJ readers would be interested in discovering features from other adventure-based titles, such as POWDER, Tiny Atlas, or Sidetracked. SJ readers interests would also include investments, watches and jewelry, fine dining, and fitness.
Brands that would want to attract SJ readers would overlap with all the above, and extend beyond, such as technical apparel, electronics, off-road cars, and yachting. Our AI will continually refine and inspire. Social tokens enable brands to offer rewards, special offers or discounts specific to the readers of SJ.
At all points VersoView adds value. Existing subscribers get to enjoy a digital experience — it’s beautiful to read, and easy to share and comment on (OpenView). They also find new writers, photographers and publications that otherwise would not come across their radar (VersoPlus), and are rewarded for what they enjoy. Brand-reader interactions become fun instead of an annoying interruptions. Publishers get new digital and hard copy subscribers, which is their lifeblood. Publishers, advertisers and brands can connect with a defined, relevant, highly-targeted audience, and all ‘sides’ get to share social token rewards, creating an authentic transaction of emotional/commercial value.
And last but not least: the reader’s anonymized data are treated with respect.
VersoView positions itself at the intersection of content, communities and brands, with the VVT token at the heart of it all. In a series of articles we will build our case and explain the added value of VersoView, and the role of the VVT token, from different stakeholder perspectives: