...differing approaches illustrate a divide in the media industry over how best to put content on the Web while also keeping customers hooked to their TVs. In 2009, cable giant Comcast Corp.and Time Warner — parent of TNT, TBS, HBO and other popular channels — unveiled TV Everywhere, an initiative that was to be a blueprint for the pay-TV industry to develop a platform to let subscribers watch content on their computers, phones or tablets. The proposition was simple enough: Take all that is good about television — lots of channels at the click of a button — and transfer it online. The hope was that by offering subscribers more content online, people would be less likely to cut the cord to their cable or satellite TV service in favor of so-called over the top services such as Netflix, Hulu and Roku. TV Everywhere was also meant to discourage programmers from giving away their shows for free online. But in the three years since it was conceived, TV Everywhere has struggled to gain traction. "It's simply a mess," BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield said. "A complete and utter failure." Andy Heller, vice chairman and TV Everywhere point person for Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, believes "the real stumbling block has been deals." Some programmers and distributors, Heller said, are using TV Everywhere contract talks as an excuse to try to "change terms and conditions" of other contracts. Another problem is that neither the programmers nor the pay-TV providers can decide who should be the gatekeeper for content online. Some consumers have to register at multiple networks to watch content, while others can do one-stop shopping through their distributor. "We're trying to figure out, can you have a single access point?" said Mike Hopkins, president of distribution for Fox Networks. "It's technically complicated but not impossible."
...While planting your face in front of a tiny screen is perfectly acceptable on trans-Atlantic flights, it can be a little odd at home. But if you give yourself over to the tablet, it's actually a pretty awesome experience. I'm not claiming an iPad beats the big screen, but I will say this: Watching shows and movies on a tablet feels closer to what television viewing should be like in the 21st century than what 21st-century TVs actually deliver. Yes, there are "smart" televisions that come with Wi-Fi and video-streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus baked in, but they feel sluggish compared to tablets. Devices that help bridge the gap between Internet-based content and your living room's television, like Apple TV and the Xbox 360, are pretty excellent, but once you've become accustomed to the speed and intimacy of using something like an iPad to watch your shows and films, it's hard to deal with tech that's not as responsive. Even simple things on a tablet, like briskly flicking through a menu of movies or accurately rewinding with the tip of your finger, can be pleasurable. As the gadgets in our pockets and handbags and briefcases become the most impressive technological objects in our lives, the good ol' TV setups in our homes can feel painfully slow and antiquated. And what these futuristic slates lack in eye-popping bigness, they make up for in deft portability. Want to watch "Monday Night Football" in your backyard for a more tailgate-like experience? You can do that. Spouse kick you off the big screen to watch "Glee?" Grab the tablet and head to the attic. The tablet can be a marriage saver in one-television households. It's also the best thing to happen to lazy Sunday mornings since breakfast in bed...
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