In the UK, visits to museums are decreasing year on year across all categories, including a 6.9% decrease in educational visits and on-site activities for under-18s. Meanwhile, technology and the internet are playing a rapidly increasing role in our lives. A superficial reading of this would suggest
The announcement of the long-mooted AppleNews+ was, broadly, not a surprise. Publishers had been aware that a new subscription product from Apple was coming down the pipe for months, and based on leaks we mostly knew exactly what was being announced.
AppleNews+ is a subscription-based magazine and news app that builds on Apple’s existing work with Texture. Priced at $9.99 per month in the United States, the service sells itself to news and magazine publishers on the basis that it gets them into the pockets of potentially every single person who owns an iPhone.
However, what was a surprise (albeit a welcome one) was the reaction of the newspaper organisations, of which only the Wall Street Journal was tempted into the AppleNews+ scheme. For the most part, where the reaction wasn’t muted, it was very negative, with people pointing out the offer to publishers was a recipe for brand destruction. It appears that – finally – news publishers
According to the headlines (and backed up by recent studies) millennials are killing industries: the divorce industry, the diamond industry, and the oil industry, to name a few. For young consumers, it is appears that ethics trumps other concerns when looking for brands to support. This impacts where they invest, what they watch and where they work, with 14% of millennials saying they would not want to work in the oil and gas industry, the highest of any sector.
Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign saw a 3% dip in its share price, which would initially appear to be a red flag for the brand. However, a closer look reveals
Can you name the website that receives the most hits in the UK after Google, YouTube and Facebook? Clue: it’s not the BBC, Amazon or Wikipedia. It is Reddit. On average, people also spend more time on Reddit than any other website in the top fifty.
The dangers of social media are a hot topic at the moment. Whilst the pros and perils of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are openly discussed, less commonly mentioned are the so-called ‘hidden’ forums like Reddit, Voat and 4Chan.
The hidden internet is creating safe space for people to express opinions they would not feel comfortable discussing in real life and risking real life relationships. They can help previously
With all the noise from Google and Facebook over projects to help fund journalism, from the Digital News Initiative to Facebook’s forays into funding local journalism, you might think that those giants are finally putting their weight behind an industry that they’ve been accused of undermining.
Similarly, as publishers abandon scale in pursuit of subscription models, you can easily believe that news publishers and search and social giants are no longer in direct competition for ad money and that therefore the lopsided competition between the two is at an end.
Both of those statements are true, to an extent. Google and Facebook are
The ball-tampering issue is not just about cheating in sport. It is about bad employment practices. It is about abuse of power.
For those not familiar with or interested in cricket, stick with it. There are some lessons to be learned for wider business here. Briefly, though, there was a cricket match between South Africa and Australia in which the Australian team were caught cheating. The technicalities are unimportant. The important thing is that in this case, a young cricketer, with only eight matches under his belt, was apparently cornered by a member of the ‘leadership group’ and asked to cheat for the ‘good’ of the team.
In normal employment terms, Cameron Bancroft, the man caught scuffing the ball and then lying about it, is an apprentice, or someone still serving his probation period. The player who approached him, it seems, was the vice-captain, David Warner. Let’s call him
George Orwell wrote that jargon and obfuscating language contributes to the degradation of the English language to the point that meaningful dialogue is impossible.
He might have had a point, too: The term ‘fake news’, which the Reuters Institute recommended should be stripped from conversation around online misinformation, was meaningless almost as soon as it was born, allowing it to be hijacked by politicians with an anti-media bent. One of the people who coined it, BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman, has admitted culpability in that (though he can’t really be blamed for not predicting how it was to be co-opted), and I’ve been arguing it should be retired as a term since August of last year. Because it was jargon, ‘fake news’ has made discourse about misinformation impossible.
New report, published today by @EU_Commission High Level Group on disinformation, contains: “a clear and unequivocal abandonment of the term ‘fake news’. @rasmus_kleis #fake #news https://t.co/UbKwHmW2x8
— Reuters Institute (@risj_oxford) March 12, 2018
‘Millennial’, too, has drawn ire as being completely useless as a description of an entire generation’s habits and trends. It has led to
There’s a predictable rhythm to the online aftermath of any sort of mass shooting. After the initial outpouring of sympathy and grief, you can expect the media coverage to turn to the reactions of the alt-right, both through morbid curiosity and a genuine attempt to explain how conspiracy theories get disseminated online. As sure as The Onion publishes its savage takedown of the Republican response to mass shootings, you can expect the exposés of reddit’s r/The_Donald subreddit to follow.
Things were no different in the immediate aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentines Day.
Back when I was news editor for TheMediaBriefing, we had an editorial matrix designed to ensure we wrote about the different topics which our segmented audiences were most interested in. It was carefully constructed, with the sort of care you might take over a house of cards or a matchstick model, so that B2B, B2C, digital pureplays, platforms and the like all got equal prominence on the homepage.
As early as 2015, media companies had a sneaking suspicion that third-party platforms might not have their best interests at heart. The term that got bandied around to describe Facebook and Google was ‘frenemy’. Not even a handful of years later, the rhetoric is less ambiguous – the platforms are the feudal lords, and publishers are the serfs allowed to till their land.
The pushback against that situation is now underway – through campaigns organised by the industry, through lawsuits designed to level the playing field, through dialogue with the platforms – but the truth is that the power balance is still skewed against publishers.
And it was a situation that the publishers should have (and probably did to some extent) see coming. Journalism trainer Adam Tinworth points out that Facebook had already done exactly the same rug-pull with marketers, but unfortunately, the promises of revenue from the tech giants ultimately proved too alluring for publishers.
Regardless of how the attempts to redress the issues with Google and Facebook go, hopefully media companies have finally learned that every other entity in the media landscape, at every step of the value chain, is a competitor. And if not, lessons can be learned from the following examples of the rug being pulled out from players in the media industry…
Of all the things 2017 can claim to be the year of, it has also been the year of the Twitter faux pas. Or at least, the year prominent media types started to be held accountable for their previous social media activity.
Two of the more recent prominent career-altering social media incidents have been provided by Josh Rivers, the now-fired Editor of Gay Times, and Jack Maynard, the YouTuber-turned-I’m A Celebrity (not quite) star, who made their offensive tweets between 2010 and 2012. Whilst many deleted tweets resurface after being saved by fellow users, Maynard and River’s tweets remained active and undeleted until news broke.
The important lesson for users of social media is one that has been absorbed by media businesses over the years: that by uploading something to the internet, you effectively surrender control over how that content is used, circulated and interpreted.
As media headhunters, we know that employers do check the social footprint of their current and potential employees. A 2017 YouGov survey found
The race between Google and Facebook to see which can make itself least popular among content publishers has taken another turn, with Mark Zuckerberg’s company taking a decisive lead. Over the past week publishers in six countries – Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia – have seen their traffic from Facebook fall by up to two thirds as a result of an ongoing test in how publisher content appears within the social network.
In an excellent Medium post flagging up the extent of the change Filip Struhárik, editor and social media manager for Slovakian publisher Dennik N, notes that (emphasis mine):
“In main newsfeeds are now just friend and sponsored posts. Yes, you log into Facebook and you can see only posts from your friends and ads. You have to click on Explore Feed to see posts from pages you follow. If you want your Facebook page posts to be seen in old newsfeed, you have to pay.”
A Facebook spokesperson has indicated
Following our blog earlier in the week about the declining influence of print in elections, two sets of figures have come to light which emphasise the trend. But they also lead to some profound questions.
It was widely reported this week that Labour won the social media war, as we had suggested on Monday. The bald numbers look poor for the Tories. Over the course of the six week election period, Jeremy Corbyn posted 925 messages on his official social media channels, gaining a combined 2.8m shares. Theresa May posted 159 messages, and they were shared a mere 130,000 times – less than 5% of Corbyn’s total.
Corbyn increased his followers on Twitter and Facebook to a combined 2.4m (there is no figure on the overlap between the two audiences, though it is likely to be significant): May manages
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has launched a new website to help combat fake news.
The crowd-funded Wikitribune aims to be a “new kind of news platform” that will take the fight to the producers and facilitators of fake news by “bringing journalists and a community of volunteers together”.
Ten journalists will be hired to produce “professional, standards-based journalism that incorporates the radical idea from the world of Wiki – that a community of volunteers can, and will, reliably protect and improve articles”.
Last year was a busy 12 months in terms of tech business manoeuvring. The big moves, however, were takeovers, mergers, launches and collapses – there didn’t seem to be that many public offerings.
Much of the movement in 2016 was established businesses buying content firms or platforms that provided a link to sizeable audience. Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.8bn, Microsoft paid $26bn for LinkedIn, and we also looked at telco convergence generally. Yet, other than flagging up the expected IPO of Snapchat, Tech IPOs didn’t seem to impact the media world in 2016 to such a degree.
Now, thanks to a study from PwC, the reasons for that have become somewhat clearer – as 2016 marked the decade’s low point for global tech IPOs.
So, Fake News is in the news again. This time, the Culture, Media, and Sport committee is to hold an investigation into the phenomenon – which is admirable. What it hopes to achieve, though, is perhaps more open to question.
Certainly, it is a trend that ought to cause alarm. Social media has made it incredibly simple to spread any kind of malicious or just-plain-silly story. Concerns have even been raised that fake news might have influenced the US election: BuzzFeed reported that, in the last three months of the election, the top 20 fake stories were shared 8.7m times, compared with 7.3m shares for the top 20 stories from reputable sources.
While I was writing my most recent blog post – on the need for journalism of the highest standards in this ‘post-truth’ world – BuzzFeed went ahead and published the full text of the dodgy Trump dossier.
This was in the week before Trump was inaugurated. In an email to our subscribers, we were critical of Buzzfeed’s decision to publish. Despite Jim Edwards’ excellent arguments on Business Insider, we felt that the BuzzFeed approach had failed to fulfil the two critical functions of journalism: to scrutinise the facts, and to guide their readers through them.
The fear was that publishing unchecked allegations would make it easier for Trump to dismiss the entire document, and to attack the media as a whole.
By anyone’s standards 2016 has been a peculiar year. But, at Facebook HQ, the last 12 months has been largely business as usual. Of course, business as usual for the social networking giant can have a huge and lasting impact on countless other media businesses and (as we’ll see later) on billions of people across the globe.
With Snapchat valued at as much as $35bn ahead of its forthcoming IPO, now seems like as good a time as any to look into the chat app’s explosion, and what it means for media businesses.
Over the last few months, I’ve spoken to dozens of senior digital executives, not just those in commercial and editorial roles, but also those in disciplines like social media strategy and audience development. Two things have become apparent from those conversations: firstly, chat apps are becoming an increasingly important part of online publishing strategies; secondly, no one really knows what to do with them, or how it’s going to play out.
In a previous post, we looked at the broad role the media played in Donald Trump’s stunning electoral victory last week. Here, I want to look in a little bit more detail at one significant aspect – social media. Or, to put it more bluntly, we’re going to look at how Donald Trump bypassed the mainstream media and used Facebook and Twitter to help win the election.
Data from EzyInsights, an organisation that normally helps news publishers understand how stories play across social media, shows that in the run up to the election earlier this month Trump was often gaining three times more Facebook engagement – likes, reactions, shares, comments – as Clinton.
This is not a sentence that I will write very often: Michael Gove was right. The public are sick of experts.
Latest evidence, clearly, is Trump’s stunning electoral victory – despite every expert telling the US public that he was unfit for office. Earlier evidence of the public’s growing distaste for experts came in the form of the Brexit vote and, from a different direction, Jeremy Corbyn’s double-header victories, both against the grain of ‘right-thinking people’.
Whatever you think of these events, they are all indicative of the same sense of anger and distrust. Anger with the political classes and distrust of the ‘mainstream media’, which is seen to carry their voices and echo the consensus.
So, people are bypassing mainstream media altogether.
In less than a month since launch, Pokémon Go, the location-based, augmented reality game for mobiles, has become a phenomenon and a record breaker.
It’s the fastest game to ever top the App Store and GooglePlay. In its first week became the most downloaded app of all time, and it’s also become the most actively played mobile game in the US ever.
In under four weeks, the game has been made available in 35 countries and has more than doubled the share value of Nintendo, which made the original Pokémon game in the 1990s, to $42bn.
That’s incredible, not only for the sheer escalation, but because Nintendo doesn’t even produce the new game. It’s made by Niantic, of which Nintendo owns a share and from which it receives a licensing fee.
As the fallout over Brexit rumbles on, with infighting on all sides of the debate, it’s perhaps worth considering the part the media played in the run up to the polls.
The three main media influences – broadcast, newspapers (and their digital equivalents), and social media – all played very different but significant roles in the debate. For one reason or another, and whether through omission or policy, it is my view that all three ended up broadly supporting the intentions of the Leave campaign.
Little over a fortnight after Microsoft paid $26bn for the social network, LinkedIn has introduced a mechanism for advertisers to buy programmatic ads that will display across the site.
In an effort to draw fresh revenue from LinkedIn’s 433m users, the new system will display banners across the LinkedIn desktop and supplement the subscription fees paid by premium users and sponsored content as the main sources of earnings.
For the uninitiated, programmatic ads are administered by a system that relies on complex algorithms to trigger ad deployment to a set of specific criteria. The process is versatile and quick. It allows advertisers to save resources by automating media buying at pre-determined rates, and book and optimise campaigns via a web interface. Optimisation ensures ads are only shown to desired audiences and on relevant pages – and with LinkedIn’s wealth of business professional indexed by industry, job type, gender, nationality, interests, skills and much more, brands will be able to really drill down to find the most valuable audiences for their ads.
The proposed acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft raises an interesting question: how much would you pay for your audience?
As I noted in an earlier blog, predictions have a habit of making you look foolish: but the $26bn valuation for a business with $3bn revenue and no discernible profit looks optimistic, at best. Given Microsoft’s earlier forays into unchartered waters (Nokia, Yammer) it would be best to view the move beyond its core competencies with caution.
LinkedIn is not dying: but a decreasing habit among its users suggests that it is not reaching the parts that other social media cannot reach.
Each week I receive roughly 150 marketing emails. The majority get deleted without any consideration of the content, but last week two emails caught my eye and caused me to investigate further. Why? Believe it or not, they stood out from the rest because they used emojis in the subject line.
For the uninitiated, emojis are little graphics that are commonly used in text messages but are increasingly moving into other forms of communication. The two that caught my attention were an image of a car to start the subject line of an email about car finance and, similarly, a party image in a service upgrade message from one of my tech providers.
Well, so far, you might think, so boring; but there is a point to all this: according to a recent survey Brits are 63% more likely to open an email with an emoji accompanying the subject line.
Barely a month seems to go by without us writing about ad-blocking – if we’re not discussing its rising popularity, or increased use on mobile phones, we’re examining the fear it engenders in digital publishers.
In fact, ad-blocking has been such a prevalent topic, I think Martin’s pretty bored of it! And I was prepared to leave the subject well alone, but then the issue was ratcheted up several notches last week when John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, used his speech at the Oxford Media Convention to wade into the debate.
2016 marks twenty years since I became a headhunter. While that makes me feel incredibly old, it has been a fascinating time to be an observer of the media landscape across the UK and beyond.
When I first started, the internet existed, but was a hard-to-use and limited resource with dial-up access. Email also existed, but not in my office (we relied on faxes). Things were changing, yes; but no-one had really grasped the magnitude of what was about to happen.
If you really want to know how much the media world has changed in the intervening years, imagine saying this back in 1996:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
It is one of the most derided quotes of all time: simultaneously mocked both for its obviousness and its obscurity, Donald Rumsfeld was trying – ham-fistedly – to explain US foreign policy in Iraq. And we know how well that turned out.
With Christmas round the corner, some retail advertisers are raising fears about the effects the rise in ad-blocking could have on their digital operations. But where the focus was once solely on desk and laptop computing, experts are now asking what steps need to be taken to prevent mobile consumption suffering the same fate.
Earlier this month, my colleague Matt looked at the public appetite – or lack of it – for viewing ads online and suggested some of the creative ways publishers are attempting to combat that antipathy.