Paywalls are once again the tactic du jour in the media world, with The New York Times cutting the number of “free” articles readers can consume from 10 to five and Wired and Business Insider both adding limited free access before encountering a paywall.
The bad news continues to come for various media outlets, as Buzzfeed is reportedly losing significant chunks of website traffic, TheStreet cuts staff as it deals with a failed pivot to video, Cracked lays off a number of staffers and more.
Oh, and LA Weekly abruptly fired almost all its writers and editors after it was sold to a mysterious group of new owners who later identified themselves. That introduction was meant to disarm critics with charm, but which were later found to be a collection OC bros, many of whom had ties to the Republican Party. Questions were subsequently raised as to this seemed to be part of the trend (Gothamist, etc) of wealthy right-wing ideologues shutting down left-leaning media. Those new owners also announced future stories would come from unpaid “contributors,” not paid staffers.
A new report looks at how publishers are approaching mobile push alerts in terms of timing, use of aggregators like Apple News, the language and format of the alerts and more.
The purchase of Mashable by Ziff Davis has closed, driven largely by what the buyer identifies as the excellent journalism the site has produced. So it makes a ton of sense that 50 of its staffers have been laid off.
Instagram is touting the presence of 25 million businesses on the network, a growth of 10 million just since July of this year. You have to think that’s at least in part because it’s being positioned more and more as not just a visual marketing platform but also one for sales conversions, though that’s mostly through advertising. The fact that it calls out how many views of a business’ updates come from those who don’t follow the account can be read directly as “Because a paid ad inserted it into someone’s feed.”
Facebook is shutting down the API that’s used by third-party social CMS and reporting companies to present marketers with overviews of audience demographics. Those vendors will still get some data, but much of it will now come from Facebook directly, which has many concerned as the company doesn’t have a great track record with providing accurate numbers and the lack of third-party verification doesn’t inspire much trust.
It’s possible, based on a few recent signs and activities, that Facebook could be getting ready to open its wallet to acquire select sports streaming rights.
YouTube is taking steps to address the problems that have recently garnered headlines, announcing it will add more human reviewers to analyze reports of “problematic” content much like it did for violent extremist videos, hopefully working toward a more scalable, automated solution in the new future. In the meantime, it will also be charging advertisers more for some kind of “premium” placement that assures them ads will only appear on suitable and safe videos.
Plaxo is a word that can cause shudders and traumatic flashbacks among those of us who have been online for a long while. The early social network, which used to inundate users with unwanted and irritating updates multiple times a day, is finally being shut down by Comcast, a testament to how long a bad idea can survive in a big company.
Video’s share of mobile traffic is only going to get bigger, with a new report predicting it will account for 75% of that traffic in five years. That’s why net neutrality is so important, by the way, because if that’s what consumers are expecting and it’s what companies are providing, then the ISPs that control bandwidth/access will otherwise be free to throttle and charge more for that video.
I’m not sure why we need a specific podcast network that’s geared toward audiences outside of New York and Los Angeles, but apparently that’s a problem that needed to be solved. It’s part of what seems to be renewed interest in “flyover country” that includes new tech and business investment, though as usual those efforts seem focused on the wealthy and not marginalized groups, either on the founder or audience end.
CMO budgets are falling from recent years, leading many to try and do more with fewer dollars and work harder to retain customers than to gain new ones since the former costs less and has a greater ROI.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.