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Industry Insights: Facebook’s distribution conundrum

May 12, 2016
Industry Insights

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Industry Trend of the Week
Facebook has eagerly accepted the mantle of distributor-in-chief but now faces the age-old question every media outlet has faced: how to not exude editorial bias? The company has relied on algorithms and  actual humans to curate users’ newsfeeds; but bias is inherent in algorithmic programming – the same as a person gets from life experience. With more than 60% of younger people getting their news from Facebook, the company should take the opportunity this week’s kerfuffle presents to gain a deeper understand of its position as distributor-in-chief and then embrace greater transparency regarding news feeds.

Story of the Week
Facebook Must Own Up to Being An Increasingly Powerful Media Outlet
Ingram nails it when he says that Facebook has become the go-to news source for a lot of younger readers. The company distributes content from many major media companies – its algorithmic newsfeed dictating the news that most people see. Fairly distributing the news is a conundrum the media industry has faced since inception and a responsibility that so far, Facebook has ignored.

Facebook accused of censoring conservatives, report says
Tech blog Gizmodo broke the story about Facebook censoring stories with a conservative slant, keeping them off the “trending news” sidebar. More importantly than conservatives being shunted aside is the question of what happens when social media algorithms become the only determiners of what people see in their Facebook feeds. Keep reading

Industry Insights: The Paywall turns 20!

May 05, 2016
Industry Insights

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Industry Trend of the Week

The paywall turned 20 this week when The WSJ celebrated two decades of charging for content on its website. Even though almost all online media now regard subscription revenue as an essential revenue driver, it remains difficult to ramp up revenues as we again learned this week when The New York Times announced in its quarterly earnings report that despite growing digital subscriptions by almost 20%, the company did not generate a profit. A combination of innovative ideas, audience segmentation and targeted user offers will certainly help media companies on the path towards sustainability, but it won’t come without difficulties and costs.

Story of the Week
The Wall Street Journal website — paywalled from the very beginning — turns 20 years old today
A really nice read about the history of the Wall Street Journal’s paywall and the thought process behind their decision to launch it and of course, the ramifications for the industry over the course of the next twenty years.

The New York Times thinks digital growth will outpace print losses — just not yet
The latest New York Times revenue driver is…. crossword puzzles. Yup, there are sufficient crossword subscribers to merit their own category in the latest NYT quarterly earnings report and it’s driven digital subscriptions up almost 20%!

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Industry Insights: Facebook dominates everything

Apr 28, 2016
Industry Insights


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Industry Trend of the Week

Facebook is everywhere. A couple of weeks ago at the F8 conference Mark Zuckerberg announced his vision of the future of the Internet. Yesterday the company announced an almost 30% year-on-year earnings increase. While dominating the news, they increasingly dominate the publishing space, acquiring more users (1.65B and counting) who spend more and more time within their walled garden. For publishers hoping to carve out space on the Web, it’s mission critical to understand, adapt and work within the boundaries now being defined by the social media giant. As much as the Internet has evolved, things seems to be rewinding to the early 1990s when walled gardens were the only way to get information online.

Story of the Week
How Facebook’s News Feed Works – As Explained by Facebook
Let’s face it, if you are using Facebook’s Instant Articles to drive reach and expand your audience, you need to understand at some level, how Facebook is tweaking their algorithms. This article explains how Facebook ranks stories and provides tips and tricks from to help increase story views so more traffic can be driven to your digital properties.

Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Tweak Could Be Good News for Serious Journalism
Facebook is adjusting its algorithm to account for how long users are spending reading instant articles. This move, they say, will put stories into users’ feeds that they are more likely to read in depth, rather than skim and move on to something else. Keep reading

Industry Insights:  New Media facing the same headwind as Old Media

Apr 21, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week
BuzzFeed, a new media startup, announced they were going to miss their earnings by half; Mashable chopped most of its news team and is pivoting to video; the media ad-spend is being hogged by Facebook and Google. Even though new media companies have acquired huge valuations and massive reach, they are experiencing the same difficulties that old media has faced, but without the loyalty that old media companies have earned. How they react to these new challenges will go a long way to shaping the media landscape of the future.

Story of the Week
Newsonomics: With new roadblocks for digital news sites, what happens next?
With BuzzFeed missing its earnings targets, has the time come for new media companies to reinvent themselves in the guise of old media companies? Video is big now, but will it be big when VR hits the mainstream? Ken Doctor analyzes whither new media now that these companies are encountering their own headwinds.

Media Websites Battle Faltering Ad Revenue and Traffic
As audience increasingly turns towards social media for content, the ad spend is following, in the first quarter of 2016, 85% of the ad spend will go to Google or Facebook. Also, news is increasingly being consumed in mobile apps, not on the web and so, the transformation of an internet of websites to an internet of mobile apps is no longer the future, it’s here.

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DC Thomson gets a closer look at Composer

Apr 20, 2016
Piano news

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Piano had the opportunity to welcome two awesome clients, Scottish publisher DC Thomson, to our Bratislava offices yesterday. Kirsten Morrison, Head of Digital (C) and her colleague Craig Brown, Head of Digital Operations (R) came to get a closer look at Piano’s newest software offering, Composer, being demoed in this photo by Tomas Vasko. The two media executives were visiting Piano’s offices in Bratislava prior to attending the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Europe conference. They came away extremely impressed with the software, especially its capacity to segment audience and  show differentiated offers and user landing pages that help convert registered users into subscribers. They also liked that installation required no tech resources and once the JavaScript was installed across all pages on a website, the drag-and-drop composer interface is used exclusively to make changes on the pages. After the demo, we shared some beers on a roof-top bar while overlooking the Bratislava castle before the pair zipped back to a dinner engagement in Vienna.