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Industry Insights: Facebook, the publisher’s friend or enemy?

Mar 09, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week

Piano sponsored the Digital Media Strategies 2016 in London this week and the most talked about topic was how consumption habits are changing – where people are reading and how they are engaging with content. Facebook’s Instant Articles, Google’s AMP and Apple News are all pieces figuring into this new puzzle, but there are other pieces too, like lock screens on people’s phones as the new “home page” for content pushed from Snapchat Discover or similar apps. The landscape is evolving quickly and media businesses will have to stay on their toes to keep up and retain their users and influence.

Story of the Week

Facebook is eating the world

This thoughtful essay by Emily Bell, the Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at The Columbia Journalism School talks about how the rise of distributed platforms – Facebook’s Instant Articles, Apple News, etc. – are affecting journalism and what it could mean down the line for those in the news business.

Facebook announces a WordPress plugin that lets publishers easily create Instant Articles
Come April 12 almost anyone who wants to publish to Facebook Instant Articles will be able to. The popular CMS WordPress has developed an open source plugin that seamlessly creates a special RSS feed, automatically optimizing posts to appear as Instant Articles. With revenue from Instant Articles almost level to that from most websites, the temptation to push articles to Facebook will be alluring indeed.

‘Reach and return’: The Financial Times is making its paywall leakier
Piano advocates Value Exchange, enabling content access in return for an action; the FT will finally put articles on Facebook’s Instant Articles because the social network is letting publishers link to newsletter signup at the foot of each article. This is only part of the FT’s new strategy to gain reach and subscribers with their new business model and it ties with how Piano is seeing the sector evolve.

What the Wall Street Journal has learned from Snapchat Discover
The WSJ was the first paper in the US to use Snapchat Discover to push news unique to millennials and, according to their Social Media Editor Sarah Marshall, they are thrilled with the results. Users are engaging with content, spending 30 seconds per snap and frequently making it to the end of each edition including ads.

Fact: The print newspaper’s still quite alive
Nielsen has just released a new study that examines newspaper readership across all platforms and, while mobile readership has grown 12% in the last four years, print retains the greatest share of readership. The article is full of interesting graphs, charts and tasty nuggets of information.

What the editors of The Sun and The Guardian think about the future of newspapers
The Guardian’s Editor Katharine Viner and the Sun’s Editor Tony Gallagher share their views on the future of newspapers with both saying that their publications will not be sustained through advertising revenue alone.

Newsonomics: The New York Times re-invents Page One — and it’s better than print ever was
The NYT redesigned their mobile site mid-2015 and are now reaping the rewards with a user retention lift of 20% and overall new user retention of 60% year on year. Since only one out of eight people actually drives subscription revenue, engagement now counts more than ever.

For La Presse, the tablet is the future as it leaves print behind
Canada’s La Presse turned off its printing presses in Dec., 2015, focusing resources and intellect on its tablet edition, La Press+. Thus far results are encouraging: the publisher reports that 250,000 unique devices are accessing the app daily, more than the greatest number of subscribers the newspaper ever had.

Trinity Mirror and The Telegraph test blocking the ad blockers
Joining Forbes, Axel Springer, GQ and others, The Telegraph and Trinity Mirror are taking a hard line approach to users coming to their sites with ad blocking enabled, restricting content until they agree to white-list the site. More than 40% of users in the UK have ad blocking software installed but, encouragingly, IAB and YouGov have learned that 54% of those users will turn off their ad blockers when they encounter messaging from the publisher.

Most Read Stories From Last Week
Paying for Digital News: The rapid adoption and current landscape of digital subscriptions at U.S. newspapers

The New Yorker’s Henry Finder talks premium content, why they’re not on Facebook Instant Articles, and more