Quick Takes – Marketing and Media News for 2/22/18

Media

As many people have pointed out already, this Newsweek story about the news brand’s parent company is enough of a media story in and of itself, but the editor’s note that appears at the top is a whole issue in and of itself.

SHOT: Vox Media is the latest company to engage in a round of significant layoffs, with many of the cuts coming from its video production team, with the news specifically citing how those efforts aren’t resulting in substantial audience or revenue growths. Another example of how all that “pivot to video” garbage over the last two years was exactly that since Facebook, which pushed media companies in that direction, never had any intention of sharing the wealth.

CHASER: Snapchat wants more publishers to make original video shows and you just know there are going to be plenty who didn’t learn a single lesson from what *just* happened with Facebook.

A ton of interesting updates about Tronc and its various business dealings in this Nieman Lab report, including how it viewed dealing with a unionized L.A. Times newsroom as a potential roadblock to its distribution strategies, a perspective that lead to its decision to sell the paper.

FiveThirtyEight has a good overview of how basically all media outlets pushed the same “conventional wisdom” narrative about John Kelly when he was named Chief of Staff at the White House. That initial framing has continued throughout all the instances over the last few months where it was proven inaccurate, which media acting like they were shocked their initial assessment turned out to be wrong.

Marketing / Advertising

Dear National Rifle Association,

I understand this is a rough time for you. I do. I don’t care, because you absolutely deserve it, but I understand. In the spirit of constructive criticism, let me offer you some advice regarding crisis communications:

  1. Pushing the falsehood that kids who just watched 17 of their classmates be killed by an assault rifle are all paid “crisis actors” was never a good idea since those claims are easily debunked, especially by the kids themselves, who have grown up with the tools and culture to call out the very kind of BS you’re peddling.
  2. Sending out the same woman who’s starred in a number of organization-produced videos that come within a hair’s breadth of calling for armed rebellion against the media and a not-so-thinly-veiled “other” population to act as your spokesperson in a nationally-televised town hall was not a great call.
  3. Certainly – CERTAINLY – don’t, having done just that, congratulate her on Twitter with a GIF of a TV show character who 1) repeatedly made it clear she was not a fan of gun culture and 2) was ALL about love and understanding and harmony. And CERTAINLY CERTAINLY don’t do so when the very vocal cast and crew of that show is active on Twitter and is ready to drag you for doing so.
  4. Don’t make your first two public statements – outside of that talking head at the town hall – declarations that anyone calling for gun control laws “hates individual freedom” or that the “mainstream media loves mass shootings” and is therefore the *real* cause of people dying.

These were all unforced errors that were easy to avoid. You chose not to, which tells me everything I need to know.

Best,

–Chris

Social Media

Facebook has made it easier to add people to in-progress Messenger calls.

Anchor has upgraded and updated its app to basically be a professional podcast creation tool.

Technology

More warning against the rise of technology that can easily create videos that are completely fake and which are indistinguishable from the real thing, raising all sorts of potential issues, though some of the people working on it of course see nothing but fun, innovative potential.

Uber Express Pool brings the company just one small step away from successfully recreating the mass-transit bus system. On that topic, this is a good analysis of where we are in regards to ride-hailing companies, mass-transit, municipal governments and more.

The latest example of the Trump Administration being filled with terrible people is how FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants to change the “Lifeline” program that has helped connect low-income populations to high-speed internet in such a way that it does everything *but* that. While it’s not technology-based, there’s also the proposed changes to rent subsidy programs that would essentially kick hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes by drastically and cruelly cutting the program’s budget.

Speaking of the FCC, you can read all the inconsistent logic and poor reasoning behind its repeal of net neutrality, which is now set to expire on April 23rd, for yourself.

Another round of cleaning out of bots has resulted, predictably, in another round of white supremacists and other jackweeds complaining about how their follower count was being damaged in a liberal plot to diminish their influence. The lack of self-awareness in that crowd is only slightly less concerning than literally everything else about them.

I was wrong the other day about Spotify’s plans. It’s not that it wants to sell you things through the app, it’s that it wants to create its own native smart speaker. That sounds cool, but it’s another sign that the open web is increasingly being relegated to the past.

Google is expected to make a significant augmented reality announcement at Mobile World Congress that will likely involve upgrades to the mobile AR experience on its Pixel devices.

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Author: Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.