Nearly half of all editors, CEOs, and digital leaders (44%) are even more concerned with the powerful role of social media than they were a year ago, reports Reuters’ Journalism, Media & Technology: Trends & Predictions 2018. Publishers note their disappointment with social platforms, particularly with Facebook because of the platform’s role in the circulation of fake news, the lack of promised video revenue, and the decline in referral traffic to many news websites. As a result, publishers plan to be less dependent on social platforms. As one executive summarizes, “Expect more news organizations to pull out of deals with Facebook, Apple, and Snapchat that they consider are not delivering sufficient financial return, focusing instead on building more direct readership.”
Predictions for Publishers:
Restore consumer trust in journalism
Publishers are continuing to strengthen consumer trusts in news brands. Unfortunately, too often quality journalism is posted side-by side with low quality content and misleading information. Most social platforms fail to distinguish between the two. In 2018, publishers will continue to pressure social platform companies to set standards and do more to differentiate brand news content.
Less reliance on advertising
Publishes are working to diversify their revenues to ensure less dependence on advertising sales. In fact, 62% of publishers say that advertising will become less important over time. Publishers need to shift their strategies from reach and advertising engagement to subscription models and tenure.
Improve data capacity
Publishers believe that data is important to their business needs. Nearly two-thirds of publishers (62%) report that improving data capacity is their most important initiative this year. It’s also imperative for publishers to understand and comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) starting this May. The GDPR requires that publishers ask users for consent to use email addresses, to profile and to share their data with third parties working on their behalf.
Predictions for Social Platforms:
Expanding into TV programming
Social platforms are moving into the television business. While Facebook’s early attempts at Facebook Live failed and Facebook Watch has yet to become a must-view entertainment hub, the company is still forging ahead. Facebook is actively looking to secure broadcast programming rights and plans to develop new content to compete with Netflix and Amazon.
New social messaging offers
Growing messaging and access to news is important for social platforms. Reuters Institute data, shows messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger are growing not just for messaging purposes but for accessing news as well. Facebook is launching a tween messaging app specifically targeting this demo. The idea is to draw the tweens in early and eventually expand their usage to age appropriate entertainment and education content.
Publishers and social platform alike are thinking about new business practices and monetization opportunities with their user base. Importantly, as they shift their strategies to meet 2018 goals, it’s key to keep a consumer focus, especially in the development of new content offerings, personal data information and GDPR compliance and new technology implementations.