Multi-Platform isn’t “one for all”

Tyler Moody
Apr 6, 2015 · 4 min read

What do we really mean when we say “multi-platform”?

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Multi-platform, or cross platform are buzzwords that are losing meaning, if they aren’t already meaningless.

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I’m talking about producing content, not writing code. (A website needs to be optimized for multiple OS platforms so it works across phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and all the varying OS’s.)

I’m talking about content producers that claim to be “multi-platform” and/or require it from their employees.

What does “multiple platforms” mean for radio? This morning I saw this line as part of a job description for a morning drive time news/talk radio show producer: “Must be able to produce an entertaining, informative, relevant show for multiple platforms.”

That’s crazy. The person advertising for the job either doesn’t understand what multiple platforms means, or they don’t know how to make relevant platform specific content, or… they actually expect one person to do what they have described.

Why is it a problem?

For example, when the successful Harry Potter books were made into movies, they didn’t just point a camera at a book and turn pages. They actually MADE A MOVIE. Get it?

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Writing a good book is different from making a good movie, which is different from making t-shirts, and video games, and coffee mugs. You see what I mean?

Books are different from movies, movies are different from TV shows, radio and TV are different. It seems like I’m stating the obvious, right? Twitter is different from Instagram, which is different from Facebook and LinkedIn. Understand?

The content you produce should be a good fit for the platform you plan to publish on or distribute with.

Back to radio:

What do you think they are talking about? First of all they need a quality morning radio news-talk show. Since we’re talking about audio, should we assume the employer wants a podcast? Let’s also assume they have a website. They will need articles, pictures and videos.

What makes a good morning radio show? Timely headlines, traffic reports, and weather are the most important. Does that make a good podcast? (no)

What makes good video? People sitting in a radio studio reading headlines, traffic and weather? (unless someone gets hit with a football to the groin, no)

Good Books? Magazine articles? Good photography? They all have distinct qualities for content to be “entertaining, informative and relevant.”

Can you imagine a job description for the Harry Potter franchise that says “must be able to write books, direct movies, design clothing, create video games, toys and other merchandise.”

MULTI-PLATFORM EXISTS, AND WORKS:

TV shows work pretty well on computer screens, and even phones. It’s not impossible to make one piece of content that works on more than one platform, but you need to tailor the content to each platform.

That’s important. A book can be used to create a screenplay for a movie. A movie’s story and characters can be used as the basis for creating a video game. And so on. You can take the heart of one piece, and create another piece specifically tailored to another platform.

A great example is The New Yorker and Don Nicholas calls it “content recycling.”

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END OF RANT:

Since we know that’s not likely, let’s stop pretending that producing one thing on one platform (radio) can simply be duplicated in a relevant way on multiple platforms.

How about this: “Must be able to produce an entertaining, informative, relevant show for radio, and companion content for multiple platforms.”

Thanks for reading, you can find more ways to connect with me at www.tylermoody.com

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