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Research / Insights on current and emerging industry topics

Evaluating content distribution channels

May 4, 2016 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Publishers face unprecedented pressures in the mobile and social media dominated marketplace. In fact, according to eMarketer, mobile accounted for half of digital ad spending in the U.S. in 2015 and is suspected to reach 70% share of advertising by 2019, according to eMarketer. In response to publishers’ needs, the International News Media Association (INMA) released a report “Evaluating Distributed Content in the News Media Ecosystem” to help educate on the implementation strategies of distributed content.

As background, it’s important to note recent digital media announcements promoting content consumption on mobile and social media. Digital platforms are dominating users’ time and advertisers’ spending. Specific announcements include:

  • April 2016, Facebook opened Instant Articles to all publishers worldwide. IA is rich-media articles that open instantly within the Facebook mobile app instead of sending users away to a Web browser.
  • February 2016, Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an open standard to speed up the mobile Web experience and Snapchat announced a new subscription option to publishers in its Discover section
  • Apple’s News app attracted 100-plus publishers.
  • October 2015, Twitter launched Moments, a magazine-like story format for curated streams of Tweets.

The INMA report identified different roles a publisher can choose to distribute their content on social platforms and classified them into three categories:

  1. On-platform hosts: Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, Twitter Moments.
  2. Off-platform open standard: Google Accelerated Mobile Pages.
  3. Off-platform aggregators: Apple News, Axel Springer Upday.

Publishers first need identify which category can support their business strategy. Specifically, is the publisher looking to build an audience (growth), to develop an exclusive consumer relationship (content marketing) or are they interested in experimentation on multiple goals (laboratory).

Social media strategies are vital a publisher’s digital business. It allows one to distributes content beyond its property and to grow its audience base.

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