Many people seem to have fallen victim to what I want to call TES ( Tech Expectation Syndrome ) They get lost in the ocean swells between over-hyped pre-exploitation excitement , and gradual market development under a different guise ia a different context . Looking back through my file of words that seem to have disapointed at the top of the typical Gartner expectation spike and are now safely on the plateau of exploitation , I find things like VADs and VANs ( now our digital network s) , GIS ( now a part of every activity known to man since geolocation became the bedrock of mobile telephony ), AI ( now becoming the M2M nexus of the working world , and so terrifying that even Stephen Hawking cannot exorcise it ) …and , of course , VR , the wonderfully exciting 3D environment that we fell in love with , and then decided that headsets were not for us , and that this would only work for dedicated gamers .

And if fogetfulness about how much unexploited tachnology is available to our new product and service development cycles is one of our sins in the publishing and media marketplaces , let me add another while the Sunday afternoon mood of self-flagellation is upon me . After sustained efforts of re-invention , we keep falling back on PSP ( product simulation psychosis) . We put extra stuff , more video , longer text , archival support and other elements into the digital “version” and then promote it and sell it just as if it were analogous to the print “version ” . We know these things are growing apart but we seem reluctant to acknowledge the difference . No where has this been more marked than in the newspaper industry , which strictly speaking we should now stop calling the newspaper industry . If we called it ” news media ” we might get closer to seeing how differentiation is taking place , and mark the points at which the digital service elements are going out on a track that print can never follow , and creating information in formats which will become the hallmark of communication . They are the defining moments in the separation of print and digital , and we should point to them whenever some senior executive says ( so many do , I am afraid ) ” There will always be a market for print” or ” digital is neat but what are its real advantages for which I would pay extra ”

They still say these things and there have been moments when I have thought the entire news industry would go the way of Yellow Pages , despite Vox , Buzzfeed , Fast Company ( and that stubbornly non-innovative digital analogue of print , the Huffington Post ) . And then last week I saw surprizing green shoots of change , and not from the new digital news industry , but from those good souls who have huffed and puffed up and down the the peaks of inflated expectations a time or two , the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal . The latter have been celebrating Nasdaq’s birthday in fine style . They have taken my pathetic wave metaphors in a different context into a graphers delight , a 3D journey around the index from its inception ( . Use it on your mobile , walk round the room with it , or ( get this !) get the WSJ headset and really appreciate it . This is not just a beautiful birthday card – you are looking at the way graphical information will be read , or , rather experienced , as the years go on . Here we move away from anything which can be “printed ” , and once this style of activity does become the way in which we experience and record change , then only the network can deliver it.

But I would have to reserve special praise for what the New York Times did last week on an architectural review of the new Whitney Museum building (
This is a delight to the eye . Once you have seen this you will never want to read a review of a new building which does not include this type of 3D analytical effect . It enhances every readers’ appreciation of the points Michael Kimmelman is making , yet this is VR lite , needing no headset and simply deploying great VR graphics to display the planes and vistas of a new building in a moving dynamic . And until they start moving you think you are just encountering another illustration in text . This answers the question – what would you pay extra for – because it adds a new dimension to understanding which could only have come from this environment .

We have noted here before the way in which old businesses can survive , despite and sometimes because , they are family businesses with a history of transition . A few months ago the Holtzbrinck family cashed their “get out of newspaper jail ” card with Springer ; both DMGT and Hearst have made huge strides in diminishing the effects of blighted newspaper advertising cycles by becoming experts in B2B data businesses , to the point where these assets begin to dominate all others . But if the Sulzburgers and the Murdochs are to escape then it will probably have to be re-invention that does it , and until last week there seemed to be few signs that this was likely to happen . But here , rather than playing games with the paywall business model , or buying related digital businesses that are not well understood corporately , both of these traditional market players showed early signs of trying to understand how technology could be deployed to add new value for the user . These are late conversions on the road to digital Damascus , but perhaps even more welcome as a result .

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