Steve Dempsey: Tech blogger highlights threat to traditional news business model
It looks like more people are turning to social media for the news. Hardly breaking news, but a new report from the Pew Research Centre reveals...
It looks like more people are turning to social media for the news. Hardly breaking news, but a new report from the Pew Research Centre reveals...
Last Tuesday, representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Google faced questions from the US Senate Judiciary Committee. The following day the tech giants were invited to intelligence committee...
Streaming video company Netflix announced substantial subscriber growth in its most recent earnings report last week. It now boasts 109 million subscribers, up from 86 million in the third quarter of last year. That means it's adding around 12,000 subscribers in the US each day and over 56,000...
Now that online advertising is in the doghouse, Google has decided that publishers and journalists need help getting users to pay directly for news. And so the search giant has announced some...
The European Commission's plans to reform copyright have been slowly trundling along for 15 years. The stated aim is as follows: "Europe's creative content should not be locked-up, but it should also be highly protected, in particular to improve the remuneration possibilities for our creators."
Brexit means Brexit, or so we're told. But not even UK legislators know what Brexit means for certain sectors of society and industry. So much so that the House of Lords has to decide to give an ear to advertisers before the UK gives the fingers to the EU.
This week Facebook's assault on TV gathered pace. The social network added a small watch tab to the account of all US users. Sure, it's only a few pixels, but it's a gateway to a whole new stream of content and a new revenue stream, or so Facebook hopes.
Media outlets put on a good show when launching new seasons and programming. In the US the TV networks have the upfronts, a showbiz extravaganza that aggressively courts advertising dollars. Closer to home we've seen RTE and TV3 launch their autumn schedules in recent weeks with slightly less glitzy events.
When you buy a TV, print or outdoor ad you have a clear sense of how many consumers were going to see your ad, and - if your media planning was up to scratch - how many of those would be your target audience.
Can you tell fake news from real news? Misinformation from disinformation? Publicity from propaganda? It's tough going in the modern world, where groups of Macedonian teenagers can become as influential as respected legacy news outlets, and where the term fake news has become close to meaningless and has become a grenade to be lobbed at opponents.
Last week at the Def Con Hacking Conference in Las Vegas chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov discussed artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, electronic voting machines were hacked into, and the US army taught hacking skills to children. Plus a group called the Online Privacy Foundation unveiled research on whether 'dark ads' on social media can sway political opinion.
Earlier this year a study commissioned by WPP ad agencies The&Partnership estimated that ad fraud cost the online advertising industry $12.5bn in 2016. This eye-watering figure is more than...
It's been some time since a new social network was launched. Remember the days when it seemed like there was a new kid on the social block every...
In June 2015, UK pub chain JD Wetherspoons was hit by a cyber attack. More than 650,000 emails and some staff details were stolen. When the breach was discovered, the company's founder and chairman sounded an interesting note on security. "As far as I'm concerned, there's no need for Wetherspoon to hold customer information in future," said Tim Martin, promising that the...
Earlier this year over 70,000 people in 36 countries took an online survey about digital news. Some lucky participants were then invited to attend follow-up focus groups The result is the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017, the world's biggest ongoing survey of news consumption.
Last Monday, it emerged that Facebook is to create a tool that will allow its 1.94 billion users do something they can't currently do; pay to consume news. Cue rubbing of hands and sighs of relief from publishers with a subscription-based business model. Facebook was finally going to play ball.
Ad fraud is where bots - software programs pretending to be real people - generate fake ad impressions, which are then purchased by unsuspecting digital marketers. It's big business.
European regulators have fallen afoul of that old mantra not to pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel. In fact, they've actually picked a fight with 30 companies that buy ink in bulk.
On Tuesday, EU ministers agreed revisions to the EU audiovisual media services directive. I know, it hardly sounds riveting. But bear with me here. According to the proposals, digital services that rely heavily on video - yes, that includes Facebook, Netflix and YouTube - will now be governed by the same regulatory framework as broadcasters like RTE, Canal+ and Germany's ZDF.
There's no shortage of technological fads in the world of media and marketing. And there's no shortage of brands and businesses eager to try and woo audiences with the next big thing. But it's often unclear whether these early adopters are tech-savvy trailblazers or chumps who've been duped into testing something that will deliver PR over profits.
Last Monday, readers of the Guardian, the Times, and the Daily Telegraph in the UK were treated to full-page ads outlining Facebook's 10 commandments for spotting fake news. The patronising pointers included instructions to check the article date and URL and a reminder that some outlandish stories may be satirical.
Last week, GroupM published a forecast for digital advertising growth in 46 markets. Nothing too shocking: digital advertising is growing faster than TV and will account for 77pc of new ad spend in 2017. TV, for its part, will account for 17pc.
Google is flexing its muscles at the moment, in an effort to cut down on bad ads and fake news. It has changed its search algorithm to combat fake news, and is reportedly going to add ad blocking to its Chrome browser. People searching for news online should be shown more reliable stories, and they should be less likely to have to wade through pop-ups and pre-roll ads to consume it. It's win-...
Facebook held its annual love-in for developers this week in San Jose. The F8 conference is very much targeted at a technical audience, but I thought it would be an interesting exercise to monitor the whole thing from a media and marketing perspective.
TV advertising revenue has remained relatively unscathed by the onset of the internet, the mobile revolution and the rise of other forms of video viewing.
There's a new trend in advertising - pulling ads due to brand safety. There's the YouTube boycott, which has seen a host big name agencies and advertisers pull their ads on Google's video platform.
Alan Rusbridger has an idea. Speaking at Ad Week Europe last week the former editor-in-chief of the Guardian said media companies should be learning from Facebook and Google. Why? Because the tech giants continue to forge trusted relationships with consumers and gobble up what once was publisher ad revenue.
Poor Google. In the last week a host of heavyweight advertisers paused their ad campaigns because the search giant has been unable to guarantee that ads won't appear alongside unsavoury content like racist or extremist videos. First was the UK branch of Havas, which suspended its campaigns last Friday.
Clicks are the building blocks of the digital economy. For news organisations, generating clicks - and in some instances clickbait - is the path to success. But what's the psychology behind a click? Why do people click on news articles? And are clicks actually aligned with readers' interests?
The ISBA, or the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, bills itself as the voice of advertisers in the UK. And it's a voice that sounded pretty tetchy this week at a gathering in London.
In 1915, the Chicago Day Book ran an editorial with the headline "Fake News". The piece quaintly outlines false reports of cabinet discussions and implies that a lot of what's passed off as news isn't a statement of fact, but an attempt to influence public opinion.
Online ads have a bad name. Irritating, interruptive, irrelevant, code-heavy, privacy-invading ads clutter websites, slow down apps and insert themselves before online videos.
Do modern audiences find the news when they want it, or does the news find them on smartphones or other devices while they're going about their daily lives? That's the question that the Pew Research Centre set out to ask with a report called 'How Americans encounter, recall and act upon digital news'.
A slew of distributed platforms have been rolled out by tech companies in recent years. Facebook has Instant Articles, Google has Accelerated Mobile Pages, Snapchat has its Discover channels, while Apple has an updated News app (provided you're in one of the countries where it's available). Publishers, having ceded too much distribution power to these online intermediaries, approached...
According to research released this week, print readers pore over the news in detail while news is no more than a dalliance for digital readers. The snappily-titled 'Newspaper consumption in the mobile age: re-assessing multi-platform performance and market share using "time-spent"' found that 89pc of the time audiences spend consuming news was in print, and 11pc was online.
The Czech Republic has just set up a unit called the Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats. Ironically, it's based in a former communist regime interrogation centre. But to distance itself from any Cold War overtones, the centre's website explains that it won't have a button for switching off the website and it "will not lock anyone up, interrogate anyone, or lead any proceedings with anyone".
When an industry body issues a report on the value of its economic and social contribution, it's normally looking for something. This week it was the advertising industry that was trumpeting its worth and angling for some form of recognition or regulatory fillip.
Last week the publishing platform Medium announced it would be cutting jobs and moving away from what it has been doing to date. The platform had been attracting major publications and offering incremental improvements on the current ad-supported publishing model. But it wasn't working.
Fake news is an odd term that's been doing the rounds thanks to the US presidential election. It's supposed to refer to information that's misinterpreted, misleading or downright false. The most celebrated example has been dubbed 'Pizzagate'. It is a debunked story, about a pedophilia ring linked to the Democratic Party in a pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong.
Artificial Intelligence is set to be the top trend of 2017. Amazon's Jeff Bezos has said it's hard to overstate how big an impact AI is going to have on society over the next 20 years.
If you're in media and marketing you better mark May 25, 2018 in your diary. It's the day the EU makes your life a whole lot more difficult.
In October Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, spoke at a lunch for the Association of European Journalists. His speech touched on public-service broadcasting, media mergers and how the internet is impacting traditional journalism.
How do digital businesses capture the rarest modern commodity: users' attention? There's no silver bullet, but increasingly push notifications are becoming a key weapon in any arsenal. These are the alerts most often sent by media apps that pop up on your phone's lock screen to flag breaking news.
Ever since the US election, the US and international media has bounced from hand-wringing to navel-gazing and back again. "Media has itself to blame for epic election fail," said USA Today's Michael Wolff. "The media didn't see Trump coming. And even now, it doesn't know why," stated the Guardian. "Media culpa? The press and the election result," quipped the New Yorker. The New...
The best thing we can say about the US presidential election is that it's over. There were lies, damn lies, scandals, racism and misogyny. There was one candidate who played by a traditional rulebook, and another who understood how to exploit the needs of struggling print and broadcast media to create ubiquitous publicity.
Mobile first has become a common call to arms for anyone involved in any online enterprise. It's supposed to be a reminder that audiences now use smartphones first and browse on desktop later. But there's a problem with this yawn-inducing adage: as mobile continues to become the primary method of interacting with the web, it's becoming totally meaningless.
Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about sustainable online business models. Speaking at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit last week, the owner of Amazon and the Washington Post seemed to pour cold water on publishers' attempts to monetise online audiences through paywalls and micropayments. He stated that the Washington Post needed to move from making a relatively large amount of money from a small number of consumers to making smaller amounts from a far larger audience.
Have you heard of Louise Delage? She's a 25-year-old Instagram sensation from Paris who has clocked up more than 100,000 followers since August. She leads the high life, quaffing cocktails in Saint-Tropez, downing beers in Berlin, and wine everywhere in between.
The Reuters Institute recently found that 44pc of people across 26 countries now rely on Facebook for news. Factor in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, and up to 55pc discover news content on apps and algorithms designed by Mark Zuckerberg and Co.
Both print and TV news outlets have seen audiences migrate to the internet in recent years - although, perhaps it's been more of a stampede for print readers, and an orderly shuffle for TV audiences. Both have been scratching their heads about what to do about it.
Some pretty big promises were made about digital advertising. There'd be more data and more transparency, they said. The performance of online ads can be tracked and optimised in real time, they said. Return on investment would be clear, they said. The internet doesn't make mistakes, they said.
When you've a few moments to yourself what do you do? Put your feet up and read a good book, turn on the telly, listen to music? If ComScore is to believed, these activities are going to become rarer. Why? Because downtime is increasingly becoming screen time. And screen time, in turn, is increasingly becoming app time.
Way back in the mists of time (2014, for those who are counting) the New York Times leaked an internal innovation report, which turned out to be one of the most thought-provoking documents for anyone involved in digital media.
By 2020, two-thirds of all online activity is expected to be mobile. This is great news for general connectivity, social media networks and mobile carriers. But not for news websites.
Some 85pc of all new online advertising spend reportedly goes into the coffers of Facebook and Google. But Facebook may have found a way to carve an even bigger slice of the digital ad pie for itself.
This week saw people celebrating the 25th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee making the world wide web available for worldwide use. Ever since it was invited to the party, the world hasn't looked back.
John Wanamaker was a marketing pioneer and US Postmaster General. He's the one who's supposed to be responsible for the quote: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."
Ad blocking is a big problem for digital publishers everywhere. Last year, it was estimated to have cost digital publishers $22m (€19.75m) in lost revenue.
It's hard to shake the feeling that Twitter is a social network that's losing ground to its competitors. Facebook has around 1.65 billion monthly users, and is a mobile money-making machine. Facebook's Instagram app now has 500 million users. Even Snapchat now claims to have more monthly users than Twitter - and they're the hard-to-reach younger demographic with sunny dispositions and disposable income.
Not all online advertising is created equal. So says a new report from ComScore, the global media analytics firm.
Facebook started ramping up its live video product earlier this year. "Facebook Live enables you to share your experiences and perspectives in real time, with the people who matter to you," the social network gushed.
Facebook recently tweaked how its news feed works. Their aim? To prioritise news from friends and family over that from news outlets and other pages.
Last month over 600 editors-in-chief and media experts came together for the Global Editors' Network Summit in a big old room in Vienna, with a rather grand painted ceiling, to find out if the sky was falling on their heads.
Getting consumers to pay for news content online is tough, especially in English-speaking markets.
The European Commission is currently canvassing opinion on two interesting copyright issues: neighbouring rights and the panorama exception.
Ever heard of Qiaobi Laundry Gel Balls?
Facebook found itself in hot water recently over allegations of editorial bias. The curators of its Trending Topics feature were reportedly suppressing news from conservative media outlets. The social network responded with a charm offensive to right-wingers and a promise to "minimise risks where human judgment is involved".
Good news! Social media is helping digital publishers get readers to consume more content. Three quarters of consumers access more information from publishers who appear on social media. What's more, this social content consumption is additive, meaning it has no impact on existing reading habits on sites and apps.
We need to talk about online advertising.
Publishers used to have it easy. They controlled a scarce resource and packaged it up on a daily basis for distribution to the news-hungry masses.
The global spend on television advertising is estimated to hit $200bn this year. And for some time, a host of social networks have been chasing this prize.
Last week BuzzFeed reportedly missed its internal revenue targets for 2015. The company - which distributes quizzes, listicles and viral stories -expected to make about $250m in revenues in 2015, but apparently only earned around $170m. Expectations for 2016, which were around the $500m mark, have now been reduced to $250m.
Bots are computer programmes that mimic interactions with a real person. And they've suddenly become a hot tech topic.
Last week Salesforce - the global market leader that specialises in Customer Relationship Management software - launched a report on the state of modern marketing.
Earlier last week, McCann Erickson Japan appointed a creative director with a difference. Its name is AI-CDβ - which stands for Artificial Intelligence Creative Director Beta - and you guessed it, it's a machine.
Ten years and six days ago, the first tweet was sent. "Just setting up my twttr" wrote co-founder Jack Dorsey at 8.50pm on March 21, 2006. Remember, vowels weren't cool back then.
The tastemakers and tech literati gathered in Austin, Texas last week for SXSW, the annual extravaganza of film, interactive media and music. But amongst the hipster bands, indie movies, and a keynote from Michelle Obama, there was one session of interest to online publishers who value an engaged audience.
In 2012, Facebook publicly warned investors that it wasn't doing so well when it came to mobile revenues. The social network announced that it didn't "directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products" and that its ability to do so successfully was unproven.
In February, mobile operator Three announced that it was to introduce ad blocking across its UK and Italian networks, with a roll-out to follow in other countries. That's 87 million users who'll be given the option to turn off the ads they see in apps and on the mobile web.
Remember Foursquare? It was a big deal in the early days of smartphones and location-based social services. The app allowed users to check in to specific places, doled out virtual badges and designated certain people as mayors for multiple check-ins.
On February 12, Evgeny Lebedev, owner of the UK Independent announced that the last editions of the London Independent and London Independent on Sunday will be published in March, and the i - the cut-price stable-mate - is being sold to Johnston Press.
Last weekend, the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California. It's a sporting contest that doesn't mean much on this side of the world - but as an example of advertisers and big brands going head to head, it's pretty compelling stuff.
If you trawl through the careers section of the New York Times' website, you'll come across details of an interesting new product for which the paper is recruiting editors and writers.
Blendle, the iTunes for journalism, has been busy. Last September, the pay-per-story journalism platform expanded into Germany with 37 publications. It now has more than half a million registered users in Europe and the majority of them are under 35. Now it's planning to make it big in America, with reports circulating that it will be teaming up with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Washington Post and others early this year.
The dark net is often reported as a murky corner of the internet, rife with illegal drug dealing and pornography.
There's a long list of reasons for the growth in native advertising, or ads that match the form of the site where they are featured. The explosion of ad blockers, the rise in mobile content consumption and the endless inventory of traditional online display advertising are all cited as contributory factors.
WNYC is a New York public radio station that features shows from NPR, American Public Media, the BBC World Service and its own local programming amongst its output.
Ever noticed a particular set of ads following you from website to website? No matter where you go online, the same ads reappear? If so, chances are you're being retargeted.
The newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo is one of the largest and most influential publications in Brazil.
Last week, Bloomberg News launched its first Asian website. It's an English language site, run by a five-strong team in Hong Kong, supported by Bloomberg's network of hundreds of reporters across 24 cities in Asia.
'Ten reasons why Labour has done a good job in Government'. 'Should you vote hard left in #GE2016?'. 'Five Fianna Fail policies that will make you think the recession never happened'.
Newspapers haven't had an easy time of it since the internet came along. Globally, circulation figures have trended downwards, while ad revenues have also dropped.
When it comes to online journalism, it's not size that matters, it's speed. At least that's what Google thinks. Last week the search giant launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP if you prefer your three-letter acronyms) an initiative to improve the way readers get news on the mobile web.
Snapchat has over 100 million users - and about 45pc of them are aged 18 to 24. The ephemeral messaging app rebuffed a $3bn cash acquisition offer from Facebook last year, and instead is going it alone as a commercial entity.
Earlier this week the German media giant Axel Springer SE spent a reported $343m on a new bauble. The shiny new acquisition is the six-year-old business news website, Business Insider.
Last month, the IAB Europe found that over 90pc of agencies, advertisers and publishers aimed to increase their programmatic investment or revenue over the next 12 months.
Apple's new mobile operating system, which is due to arrive imminently, has jump-started a debate on the future of online advertising and how digital publications fund themselves. Not only does the new iOS feature a native news app that promises to be prettier than any other platform, it also features the ability to block ads on its browser. As a result, publishers' mobile websites suddenly seem a lot less commercially viable, while placing ads alongside their content on Apple's own platform seems more promising.
Speaking at a recent media awards shindig in Australia, Robert Thompson, CEO of News Corp, gave both barrels to new media distributors and the digital world.
Remember Circa? It was a much-vaunted app for mobile news consumption that launched in 2012. Its stories were short and sweet. It garnered plenty of praise. And sadly, it ran out of money - and earlier this year, it shut down.
Last year, the American clothing brand Hanes gave up on long-time celebrity spokesperson Michael Jordan in their drive to promote male underwear.
Internet advertising will become the largest global advertising category by 2019 and by that time mobile advertising will have overtaken display ads. That's according to PwC's latest report on global entertainment and media.
Google is getting in on the beacons act. Beacons, if you don't know, are small devices that use Bluetooth to send signals to smartphones based on proximity.
On Thursday the British government told the BBC where to go. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport produced a green paper that laid out how the British Broadcasting Corporation may need to change in size, scope and funding. It's all part of the review of the Royal Charter under which the BBC operates and which expires at the end of next year.
Last year, Germany's biggest news publisher Axel Springer picked a foolish fight. Its beef was with Google, who it claimed should pay a fee every time a snippet of an article was displayed in search results.
Last week The Huffington Post announced that it was launching a 24-hour online video network, which will feature live programming, documentaries and original series. It'll also be setting up film and television divisions to produce this content and acquire, license and distribute other audiovisual content, including feature-length films. This follows the creation of HuffPost Live, its own online broadcasting channel two years ago.
The Dutch have been peering into their crystal ball, looking for a glimpse of the future of journalism. Not content with one version of the future, though, they went and found four. Last week the Dutch Journalism Fund (DJF) produced 'What's New(s): Scenarios for the Future of Journalism', a report that offered four different scenarios of how journalism could evolve.
Programmatic ad sales have been touted as the next big thing in digital advertising for years. But now, it seems this automated method of buying ad inventory is growing up and spreading its wings.
Last week Apple announced a new music service, new operating systems and a handful of other underwhelming updates. But they made one announcement that may be big news for media outlets and advertisers.
Media companies are getting together like never before. Charter's hooking up with Time Warner Cable. Verizon has tied the knot with AOL. Vox media recently snapped up Re/code. And the canniest of investors, Warren Buffett, has been acquiring local newspapers in the US for a few years now.
Let's talk about the huge range of messaging apps. Many of them may have started life as text message alternatives - but they are evolving in weird and wonderful ways.
There's been a lot of bad news for newspapers in the last few years. There's been an international trend of dwindling circulation, falling ad revenues and sluggish digital revenues. In short, it's been tough going.
Earlier this year, P&G's Crest toothpaste brand had an unwanted brush with the Chinese authorities. Crest was hit with a fine of 6.03m Chinese Yuan Renminbi (RMB) - just under €1m - for false advertising.
Have you got a few million dollars and an interest in the evolution of mobile news? If the answer is yes, then you're in luck: Circa, the mobile-first news app is for sale.