Time’s Peter Meirs Discusses Emerging Technologies at MPA Luncheon
A mixed bag of New York’s media community listened attentively to Peter Meirs, director of alternative media for Time Inc. on Tuesday, as he examined the practicality of the various technologies shaping the media.
As part of MPA’s "Meet the Innovators" luncheon series, Meirs’ speech, titled, "Technologies Shaping Media: Practical, Emerging, & Disruptive," touched on new technologies, including digital magazines, XML and "Web 2.0" and the idea of community and sharing Web-based platforms.
Meirs classified each of the technologies as being practical, emerging, disruptive, or somewhere in between. Digital magazines, he said, have almost reached the practical level. "New digital media technologies need to be better than the analog versions they replace in order to be accepted by customers," he said.
The future of digital magazines, he said, is looking brighter as magazines are becoming more practical, and infusing digital versions with rich media and flexible screens. "It’s a little like a magazine, a little like a Web site," he said. "A magazine is a linear collection with a beginning, middle and end, while a Web site is an amorphous entity." Meirs mentioned two companies that are working on new digital technologies for digital magazines, Magwerk of Norway and Atlanta, Georgia-based Parallel Publishing, both of which are using new digital techniques like interactive ads, video, audio and interactive games for readers to participate in when reading a digital version.
He also talked about XML, which essentially is using a controlled vocabulary to describe content in a consistent and predictable way that allows for sharing of publications, issues, and article information. The only problem, he said, is that XML is a practical technology that is not being embraced widely by publishers.
Web 2.0 is expected to reach the practical point in the next six months or so, according to Meirs. Web site communities like "Flickr", "Pandora", "Wikipedia" and "Digg", along with blogging, are the new generation of magazine technology. "Consumers are looking to be involved in what’s generated by the media," he said. "It’s about media platforms generating engagement. These types of things are going to be an expectation on the Web."
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