Credit: Image by blue2likeyou on Flickr. Some rights reserved
Brands, including news outlets, should focus on creating content in real-time to take advantage of the range of new devices available today, Circa co-founder Ben Huh told the the Guardian's Changing Media Summit on yesterday, Wednesday 19 March.

"We live in an environment where there are a lot more devices that are available than ever and these devices are different," he said.

"And so the question then becomes - what kind of content do we create to take advantage of these new devices?

"If you think you can just shoehorn something from the past and put it in the new format, it isn't going to work out that well."

Real-time content, such as live blogs and video streaming, is used by many media organisations to deliver a more immediate and engaging experience, particularly in breaking news situations.

Huh, who co-founded the mobile-first news outlet Circa in February 2013, said that real-time content was key to what he called "native formats," defined as "a scalable method of presenting content that takes advantage of the unique benefits of a new device".

"A native format for the internet has been, let's say, an internet meme," said Huh, "something that people can edit, remix, understand the rules of the game and pass it onto somebody else who will then create their own version."

By contrast, he added that gaming is a native format for mobile, referring to free and easily downloadable games featuring in-app purchases "versus something you buy off the shelf for $20".

Content should be specifically designed to create the best user experience on a particular format or platform, whether that is desktop, tablet or mobile, he said, rather than creating content for one platform and then adapting it for another device, for which it might not be so suitable.

"In the past if you wanted to read or listen or watch you actually had a device, a format, that was specific to that medium," he said, "each device had it's own compartmentalised usage. Today that has radically shifted. Every device can do pretty much everything."

"So one of the questions we have to ask is, what are they supposed to do? What are they best for?"

Real-time content offers "creative freedom" and the potential to grow audiences, Huh noted, although it also brought risks of "foot in mouth", where content creators may make mistakes when working quickly, due to lack of experience or constraints on resources.

The key thing, he said, was figuring out how to "leverage today's conversation – what people are doing around the world and talking about right now – to create a moment in time that everybody will pay attention to".

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).

blog comments powered by Disqus