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How to Survive the Media Apocalypse
Posted: MinervaDoe @ Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:14 pm








Derek Thompson wrote:
Facebook and Google cinch the bloated web into the straitjacket of vertical content known as results pages and feeds. In the process, they collect unparalleled information about the interests and aspirations of their users and profit from their roles as digital gatekeepers. While some have compared Facebook and Google to cable companies distributing television shows, one difference is critical: TV distributors pay networks an “affiliate fee” for their entertainment, while Facebook and Google owe no such gratuity for the vast majority of its content. In 2017, Google and Facebook are projected to account for about 61 percent combined of the U.S. digital ad market. No other company comes even close.












Derek Thompson wrote:
...but in the free-for-all of VC-subsidized ad-supported publishing, too many sites chased scale for the sake of scale alone, which led to the growth of insouciant meme merchants that, in feeding from the same trough of trending content, were inherently duplicatory. A massive correction was inevitable.











Derek Thompson wrote:
And now it’s here. Venture-capital funding for digital media has shrunk for two consecutive years, according to CB Insights, a VC database. Realizing that sites like Vocativ will never reliably reach audiences even one-tenth the size of platforms like Snapchat, investors will simply cut off funding and force sites to sell at a huge discount, like Mashable, or simply close. It won’t necessarily be “a full-blown crash,” as Marshall gloomily predicted. It will be a far more awkward landing, as several companies redefine themselves as video producers, then tech companies, then data-driven storytellers, before they run out of money.










Derek Thompson wrote:
Whatever one wishes to call this media moment—a correction, a crash, an apocalypse— it is unevenly distributed. Doom is coming for companies that relied on an unlimited supply of VC money floating them until they cracked a nonexistent code to advertising. Something far less than doom is coming for companies that balanced cost and revenue while experimenting with various forms of direct advertising, events, subscriptions, and memberships. And something almost like success has come for companies that have used the instability of the 2017 news cycle to establish themselves as vital and irreplaceable.










Derek Thompson wrote:
Advertising has been critical to the affordable distribution of news for a century and a half in the U.S. Today’s media companies don’t have to reach all the way back to the early 1800s for a business plan, to when newspapers were an elite product, selling at the prohibitive price of six pennies per bundle. But they are going back in time, in a way, and excavating a dusty business model that relies more on readers, and less on advertisers, than the typical online publisher. The New York Times is leading the trend. In 2000, circulation revenue accounted for 26 percent of its business. Last quarter, print circulation and online subscriptions accounted for 64 percent of the company’s revenue.










Derek Thompson wrote:
In its inexhaustible capacity for experimentation, digital media has pivoted to programmatic advertising, pivoted to native advertising, pivoted to venture capital, pivoted to Facebook, pivoted to distributed, and pivoted to video. Here is a better experiment: Pivot to readers.


https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/11/media-apocalypse/546935/

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