Somehow, they never accounted for the success of The New York Times long-form article "Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek" by John Branch. Here you can read it. And the odds are that you will be doing that via your smartphone.
In the current issue of Wired, Frank Rose documents how, on smartphones, readers are patiently absorbing whatevers which require an average of about 25 mintues. His article is "Immerse Yourself - Why The Smartphone Means A Golden Age for Journalism" (not yet online). It also helps the present and future of long form that Google rewards unique content that is well put together.
This has major implications for how we guide clients in configuring their content. On the one hand, it has to provide authentic insights and be cool in its mode of presentation. Today, "cool" is code for "explosive." On the other hand, they can take their time making their case. No, they don't have to restrict their message to 300 or 600 words.
Nothing is new about this. Clients who got attention and moved the dial on influence recognized that they had to be provide information and insight not easily available elsewhere and package those in seductive ways.
What is new is the medium. Content for smartphones has to be put together in small bites. Forget run-on sentences. It also must guide readers through points made. That means smart rhetorical devices. In addition, every paragraph has to be worth the time. Otherwise readers will click off and return the calls which have come in.