Friday, July 22, 2016

'Distributed content' expands reach, weakens influence of news organizations

The following is an excerpt from my chapter of a book on digital news media that will be published shortly, in Spanish. 

Among the most important developments in digital journalism in 2015 was the emerging practice of creating, distributing, and monetizing news known as "distributed content". 

Bell: "Facebook is eating the world"
What it means: news media organizations hand over their content to platforms like Facebook without linking back to their own websites so that smartphone users can get nearly instant access to the content without having to wait five to 10 seconds for it to display -- an eternity for impatient mobile consumers.

Versión en español

Snapchat was the first platform to stake a claim in this new territory of competition when it launched its Discover channel in January of 2015. Facebook followed in June with its “Instant Articles”, and others such as Google, Instagram, and Apple quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

These social and technological platforms had at least three motivations, according to Josh Constine of Tech Crunch. They wanted to avoid having users abandon a link to news content because of a slow download; they wanted to keep users in their own walled gardens to prevent them from going to other platforms; and, finally, they wanted to take advantage of the audience's attention to send them targeted advertisements, tailored to their personal tastes, preferences, and buying habits.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Forget about the big numbers; go for loyalty, trust

Anyone who has studied the metrics of the internet in any detail knows about the Big Lie: those big numbers of total users and page views that everyone relies on are practically meaningless.

Jon Slade of the Financial Times
In other words, millions of clicks or millions of users are not an indication of trust in a particular news brand or loyalty to that brand. We need new metrics, better metrics.

Versión en español

So it was heartening to see this reality affirmed by of one of the leading lights of digital media innovation, Jon Slade of the Financial Times, in an interview with Ian Burrell (thanks to NiemanLab for the lead):
“I've seen data recently that says that of all the pages on the internet less than 1% of them are from newspapers – the vast majority of time spent is with social channels and they are always going to be much bigger than you are – so if you’re trying to play a game of scale then you’re going to lose.”
There are only a few international brands that have even a slight chance of competing with the likes of Facebook and Google for the digital advertising dollars that are based on the number of eyeballs delivered to specific ads.