However, as the old decade folded into the new year, national news outlets confirmed that they weren’t giving up on Spanish-language news. In the past two months, The Washington Post launched its first Spanish-language news podcast, El Washington Post, and USA Today started Hecho en USA, its series on Latino communities. As the new decade begins, the future of Spanish-language news in the U.S. remains a puzzle, difficult to piece together.
The reason for the failures of 2019 largely boil down to money. The Times, for instance, initially launched NYT en Español in early 2016 as a way to grow its international audience. This was part of an optimistic goal to generate $800 million in digital revenue by 2020. At the time, Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric was in full force. So, putting the Times’ journalism stamp on important issues south of the border was meant to be a significant step towards the outlet’s lofty aims.
The plan was to support NYT en Español with advertising revenue, along with the hope of turning readers into subscribers. But a little more than three years later, NYT en Español closed its Mexico City bureau. Despite a potential audience of 80 million people, the advertising dollars weren’t coming in, a Times spokesperson said when the website shut down in September. Nor were these readers subscribing. But according to NYT en Español’s founding editorial director Eli Lopez, the Times lacked a credible plan to monetize his team’s content.
In the wake of these ill-fated efforts, Spanish-speaking communities pay the price. More than 8,000 English-speaking news organizations currently serve approximately 250 million English speakers in the U.S. However, for the almost 59 million Spanish speakers – 10 million of whom don’t speak English well – only approximately 624 news outlets serve them.
When Tribune Publishing shut down Hoy Media, their Spanish-language newspaper in Chicago, in November, reporter Laura Rodríguez lamented the news that would no longer be reported for Chicago’s Latino and Hispanic communities.
Markets in need
“I’m seriously so angry and frustrated at the fact that the company decided to get rid of such an important platform for the Spanish-speaking community in Chicago,” Rodrígueztweeted. “I wrote so many stories no one else did — we had our space! Our Latino, Spanish-speaking community counted on us to tell their stories. Those that are often not told.”
While some of the nation’s largest outlets can afford to experiment, the same can’t be said for smaller organizations across the country. Statewide and citywide newsrooms have already faced crushing layoffs and decimated revenues in one of the hardest decades ever for journalism. And Spanish-speaking communities are among those that will suffer the most.
In New Mexico, where slightly more than one million Spanish speakers represent 49% of the state’s population, the Hispanic population is the most underserved. Despite having a long history with the Spanish language that dates back to before the Constitution, the state only has three Spanish-speaking news outlets. And they are all TV stations and all based in Albuquerque. Compare that to neighboring Arizona, home to a Hispanic population around double the size of New Mexico at more than two million. It is home to 17 Spanish-language outlets, more than five times the amount in New Mexico.
At a time when local news has already suffered greatly and positive signs are few and far between (it’s estimated that more than 13,000 communities in the U.S. don’t have any local news coverage) is it too much to expect smaller and medium-sized outlets to launch Spanish-language offerings? Given that national outlets such as the New York Times can’t turn a profit from such investments, the answer for many local newsrooms with fewer resources may just be yes. Right now, it is too much.
Scott Brodbeck is just one local news editor who is familiar with the obstacles of running a local news website. Brodbeck is the founder and CEO of Local News Now, a network of hyperlocal news websites he launched in 2010 that serve markets in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. With the shrinking advertising market for most media companies due to Google and Facebook’s dominance, financial uncertainty is just one reason why local news companies such as Brodbeck’s aren’t able to implement new products specifically for non-English speaking audiences.
“The biggest challenges are recruiting, training and retaining talented people; producing consistently excellent local journalism that attracts a large local audience; and growing sales to keep growing our organization,” Brodbeck said. “Given the challenges of just putting out our current news product, it would be unrealistic to try to do what we’re doing in a second language.”
America is undergoing a rapid change in demographic identity. According to Census projections, the Hispanic and Latino population represented just more than 17% of the U.S. population. By 2060, that population is predicted to be roughly 120 million people, or 28 percent. That’s why Brodbeck said that the best solution for local newsrooms in the future could be for them to focus on hiring reporters from diverse backgrounds. That would allow them to serve as many communities as possible.
“Having separate Spanish language brands may make sense for some of the largest news publishers. Smaller newsrooms would be better off putting their energies into developing robust hiring, training, and employee support practices, to cultivate a diverse workforce that can better serve all readers
News outlets continue to wrestle with how to serve diverse audiences. Thus, it might be down to schools and universities to take a proactive approach by preparing the next generation of journalists for the ever-changing media landscape.
One journalism school that’s already doing so is the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. The school’s Spanish-language journalism program aims to train bilingual journalists to better cover issues important to Latino communities. This program could be a footprint for other journalism schools across the country to follow. It could also provide news outlets with a new generation of journalists to serve an increasingly diverse population.
Like many other aspects of an industry grappling with profitability and even survival, the future of Spanish-language news remains uncertain. And just as the industry experiments with reader engagement and revenue models, news organizations and universities are now exploring different methods of delivering Spanish-speaking news, such as podcasts and special series. With so many moving pieces, only one projection is relatively certain: the growing population of Spanish speakers in the U.S.
In recent years, global publishers have shifted their focus on the ties that bind loyal readers and their propensity to become subscribers. Therefore, we wanted to better understand loyal reader behaviors, starting with an analysis across devices and distribution channels. Here’s what we found.
Loyal readers no longer tethered to desktops
Believe it or not, loyalty is actually higher on mobile than desktop when we analyze our global publisher data.
Across the board, mobile visitors show more loyalty. We see the accessibility of these devices — a 24/7 window into what’s going on at any moment — driving this trend. This does not mean desktop traffic is going away, it’s just often tethered to a single place (e.g., work or home), whereas your mobile device moves with you all day long.
When looking at weekly visits by traffic sources across mobile and desktop experiences, we saw that app direct visitors are nearly 6x more loyal than platform visitors.
Where visitors are finding apps and how it impacts loyalty
Visitors coming to apps via deep links or direct traffic on the web do so three times more often than platform visitors, as we see below. That said, our research found that at this point loyalty is roughly the same when it comes to the major platforms (i.e., Facebook and Google Search).
What our channel loyal findings mean for content creators
“Subscription is an act of loyalty, and readers need some way of developing that loyalty and affinity for a publication before they’re likely to pay,” Josh Schwartz, our Chief of Product, Engineering and Data Science, recently told Nieman Lab on the topic of reader revenue and loyalty. The data we outlined in this piece suggests that publishers are increasingly aware of this journey to develop loyalty, using multiple channels (and increasingly, mobile-first experiences) to grow these relationships over time.
A few other takeaways from the research:
Shift in app experiences suggests new paths to loyalty
The data suggests that loyal readers want a direct path to publishers — a huge indicator that there’s value in improving app and direct to mobile experiences. That being said, friction along the mobile journey poses a massive hurdle in getting even loyal readers to move closer to subscription.
Platforms still have a prominent role in loyal readership
Yes, we’re seeing an interesting shift in visitor patterns that favor direct visits to apps. Yet, loyal readers are still coming from Google or Facebook. Our recent research shows that there’s still a case to keep your platform presence top of mind.
Movement matters when it comes to device-based loyalty
Loyalty among mobile visitors is growing rapidly. This finding makes sense when you think about today’s mobile-first readers. Don’t go abandoning your investments in desktop, especially since we still depend on this experience every day.
Overall, we see that loyalty among mobile visitors is growing rapidly, which makes more sense as we think about today’s mobile-first readers. Moreover, it points to an important shift in audience behavior — loyal readers want a direct path to publishers. This tells us there’s still a massive opportunity to improve app and direct to mobile experiences.
In the past, encouraged by a strong economy, consumers found core societal institutions, government, business, NGOs and media, both competent and of high ethical standing. Unfortunately, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, this sentiment is no longer true due to the rise of violence, government corruption, fake news, financial insecurity, and other unsettling conditions. Today’s consumer does not trust the government, businesses, NGOs, or media.
Edelman defines trust based on a combined measurement of these
two distinct attributes: competence (delivering on promises) and ethical behavior
(doing the right thing and working to improve society). The Edelman Trust
Barometer is based on an online survey sampled of more than 34,000 respondents
across 28 markets.
Edelman reports a significant imbalance of trust, a 14-point gap, settings a new record among the informed public and the mass population. The informed public, defined by Edelman as a wealthier, more educated and trusting consumer cohort, are far more trusting of every institution than the mass population.
Within the media sector, search engines and traditional
media (newspapers and broadcasting) are equally trusted at 61%. Social media,
on the other hand, is the least trusted media source at 39%. And in developed
countries traditional media outperforms social platforms by 30 points on
Social platforms continue to fuel the growth of distrust in media.
While smartphones offer the power of communication in the user’s hand, this
accessibility also accelerates the flow of user generated content and comments.
Unfortunately, social amplifies and exaggerates false and misinformation and
magnifies filter bubbles of extremism. It’s no wonder that three-quarters of
respondents (76%) said that they worry about false information or fake news
being used as a weapon.
For the first time this year, the Edelman Trust Barometer asked respondents to rate if an institution is doing well to very well on different issues. Related to this was a question to gauge the potential impact on trust associated with each issue. Media companies scored lowest on five issues: keeping social media clean, being objective, information quality, important vs. sensationalized content and differentiate opinion and fact. However, if media companies perform better on these issues, it will drive significant consumer trust.
Insert To build trust chart
It’s important for premium publishers, when working with
social platforms, to ensure their brands are clearly differentiated from the platforms where their content appears.
Further, publishers should continue to find new ways to build trust,
especially on the issues with the most potential to growth in trust. Because,
given their direct one-to-one relationship with consumers, trust is a critical
factor for publisher success.
What’s more, the loopholes long used to circumvent these regulations are closing quickly and will likely be almost completely eliminated in the future. Even new ones that pop-up will likely be quickly snuffed out as these practices roll-out throughout the digital ecosystem.
For digital publishers, this raises a lot of questions. Isn’t the personalization provided by 3rd-party cookies better for advertisers? And, isn’t that what is required to maximize the value they are willing to pay publishers?
We’ve heard Google recently tout research that says personalized advertisements are more highly-valued than non-personalized contextual ads. That would seem to paint a bleak picture for publishers. However, keep in mind that Google is one of the few parties that can offer scaled first-party data and may be inclined to view this issue with bias.
With that being said, many still wonder that in a world without third-party targeting, how are publishers going to be able to deliver an audience to advertisers that are as valuable as the ones they’ve become used to? And at the end of the day, publishers want to know if they can make as much money as they were before from advertising.
Consider the source
Publishers need to take a step back and look at the premise of all this and ask, “Am I being manipulated by parties in the space to believe that I am going to lose value selling the exact same thing as I am today?”
The big change in the ecosystem will come to the third-party targeting system as a whole—and that’s an advertising system. The system being affected is largely going to be the programmatic one (buying and selling inventory using online systems, like Google Ad Manager). Publishers are simply leveraging the advertiser’s system to sell their inventory in an easy and cost-effective format.
This isn’t to say that publishers get to sit back and relax. In fact, publishers might have to find a new way to market that audience to the advertisers. However, if we look at the shifts in spending for advertisers, there’s no slowdown in digital ad spend. Given that spending is going up and your audience remains the same, publishers should have a fair amount of optimism.
Winners and losers
Google is already using cookieless tracking. The same can be said for many other major ad exchanges and ad networks. The advertising market has continued to grow and the money flows to the eyeballs, no matter what. When those eyeballs are on a TV ad for the Superbowl (obviously without cookies), the money flows there. That revenue is driven by the opportunity for advertisers to reach an audience they know is unique.
For advertisers, this is where they lose a little bit. They will have to work much harder in identifying what makes their audiences unique and where they can put their dollars to ensure they’re still able to capture them. This means trying new systems and methods.
In the realm of programmatic advertising, Google has the largest reach, a hold on the industry’s most effective tools, the most user data, and they’re incumbent at just about every layer of digital user experiences. It’s hard not to see them as the biggest winner in all of this.
The vast majority of the internet is potentially going to lose personalized cookie targeting. The good news is that publishers are more important than ever before. Your audience, your data, and the material relationship you have with them are more important than ever. And the value that comes along that is only poised to increase as time passes.
The only thing you should fear, given the death of 3rd-party cookies, are the players that will inevitably come out of the woodwork. They’ll tell you that the upcoming cookie changes are of reason why you need to pivot your strategy, need to leverage this company, or this third-party network, because they have great personal relationships with X network or Y direct advertisers.
Basically, they’ll say: Sell your audience to us and we’ll resell it to advertisers. It’s the only way to save your business. It’s in these players’ best interest to grow their first-party data and they need you to help them. Beware these pitches. Instead, rely on doing a good job of engaging with your audiences and understanding who they are.
My last piece of advice is this: Protect the relationship you have with your audience because it’s only going to get more valuable as time goes on.
just returned from our annual summit where a couple hundred senior
executives gather in a closed-door meeting to discuss the most pressing
issues and exciting opportunities that we, as an industry, have before
us. It was my sixth year of having the honor of setting the table to
open the executive summit, after more than a dozen years listening from
Everyone in the room is a premium publisher – with the exception of
a handful of supporting sponsors, speakers, and invited guests. The
attendees at the DCN Next: Summit are among the most knowledgeable
people in the business of digital media anywhere. It is a daunting task
to capture the proper sentiment for the direction of our industry at a
gathering of such key leaders. That said, here are the main points from
my kickoff remarks this year.
This new year also marks the start of a new decade, 2020.
Yes, perfect vision. Optimal focus. As we begin this decade, I believe
that DCN’s members are uniquely positioned. As a group focused on
creating premium content experiences, we have never lost sight of the
importance of our audiences. We’ve remained steadfast in their trust and
our direct relationships.
I see three key facets to this 2020 vision:
we find ourselves rightly renewing our resolution to put the
expectations of our audiences first. To meet, to exceed, their
expectations. To be their trusted ally.
Second, we’ve defeated the myth content has to
be free and finally defined what it means to be premium. It simply
means to have real value worth paying for whether by distributors or
given too many years of platform dominance – in which they have
indiscriminately hidden the real costs to their services and vacuumed up
as much consumer data as possible while, at times abusing trust – we
find ourselves in the best position to align with new user expectations.
To believe that data is the lifeblood of the Internet is to look past
the trust and audience expectations which underpin it now, and in the
some of those who seek to cravenly capitalize on consumer attention
merely to collect data and target ads, we celebrate an unwavering focus
on the wants, needs, and expectations of our audiences. The experience
across platforms can be rich and elegant. But even more importantly,
digital allows us to use multimedia to tell stories in ever more
engaging ways, better informing the public – something that has never
been more important.
In this case bringing it altogether, I’d like to point to the brilliant Wall Street Journal report
on Google’s ad tech business. It informed a public conversation and
made its way not just across the industry but into meetings of
regulators investigating Google – this is true impact in journalism.
Storytelling at its best
technology enables us to better tell our stories, it also becomes more
deeply embedded and entwined with every aspect of our audiences’ lives. The New York Times 1619 Project
was one amazing example featured at a DCN Storytelling Member Day. It
not only brilliantly told the story; it reexamined the legacy of slavery
and made its way into other media – not just audio and video but it
also found its rightful place in classrooms and libraries as educational
material – this is true impact in journalism.
The past couple of years have been particularly promising around subscription-based and other Direct-to-consumer (DTC) models. While ad vendors chase “DTC”, the latest acronym in their alphabet soup, DCN’s members have always focused on direct, trusted relationships with their audiences.
While concerns have loomed around subscription fatigue, recent DCN research
found the opposite. In fact, consumers aren’t even aware how much they
are spending on subscription products. (DCN’s research shows an average
of $54 per month across 4.3 products). So, it’s clear there’s room for
more! And we now see that younger audiences who grew up in digital are
willing to pay for satisfying experiences. The DCN research backs this
up showing that they see value well beyond their cost.
we build our subscription-based offerings, and optimize ad experiences
across platforms, we must keep these audience experiences top of mind.
We serve neither our audiences, nor advertising partners, if we do any
members – and the industry as a whole – are seeing a hearty appetite
for audio and video content. We see robust revenue around licensing of
our content and IP, which also allows us to impact ever widening
audiences. This is backed up by a renewed effort to preserve copyright
over their art, notably including last year in the EU.
We are also seeing true diversification in our busiess models.
desktop display eroded over the past years, mobile display has offset
it. And other forms of advertising including native, sponsored content
and leads have helped drive growth. Video advertising, where inventory
can be created, continues to carry the highest price and growth in
advertising. And arguably the most important growth of all, we’re
seeing direct audience revenues grow more than 20% per year where
content companies are being paid directly for their content recognizing
its premium value.
estimates that a combination of 16 media firms will spend $100 billion
to produce content in 2020. In fact, it has been predicted that more
than $35 billion will be spent on streaming video content alone. And
with over 60 media companies among the DCN membership, we know that the
total investment will be much higher. And rightly so. Hulu has been
investing in premium content for its streaming video platform. So is CBS
All Access. Disney+ launched in the last few months with an absolutely gorgeous experience. Peacock will launch in April and then HBO MAX a month later. And those are only a few examples.
we continue to monitor the power of platforms, their own investment in
content demonstrates that information and entertainment are the
lifeblood of social experiences online. And now the platforms are
starting to pay for it. No
DCN member is surprised that film, television, news, sports and other
topics engage audiences and ignite conversation, debate, and discussion
it delivered on the big screen, small screens, smart speakers, or the
myriad delivery channels in the digital content ecosystem, the work our
members do forms a nexus of cultural impact. We have reached new heights
of digital storytelling. And, undoubtedly our craft, the art of
storytelling, will continue to surprise and delight as its evolution
continues in the decade to come.
while we face challenges like broad-swath and blunt keyword
blacklisting masquerading as “brand safety” and the ease of data-driven
scale, we also see signs that marketers too are shifting their focus to
quality contexts and making genuine customer connections.
it is “easier” to pull a series of data-driven levers and reach
purportedly targeted audiences with generic messaging. However, as a
growing number of consumers opt out of advertising and intro tracking
prevention, savvy marketers too are reviving the art of storytelling.
They have a renewed understanding of the power of delivering compelling
messages in trusted, engaging, inspiring environments and an
appreciation for the cost to their brand when it’s associated with
experiences that abuse customers’ expectations. They see that being part
of exceptional experiences creates the kind of cultural resonance and
relevance that a click cannot compare to.
get me wrong. Certainly, data is a powerful tool for understanding
audiences. It is also critical for storytelling and we see it leveraged
in stunning executions to create vivid narratives built on numbers.
user expectations around data collection and use are of critical
concern. With increasing consumer awareness around data practices online
and looming enforcement when they’re abused, we must continue to focus
in on what’s best for our audiences and only then for our marketing
partners. The ability to micro-target, to force an action with a digital
ad is not the same as engaging audiences around trusted content. It is not the way to build long-term customer relationships.
Fans and friction
up to us to keep our customer focus razor sharp as we embark on this
2020 vision. We need to minimize complexity and reduce friction while
continuing to innovate and enhance experiences for our audiences.
Certainly, challenges abound including news deserts impacting local
communities, anti-press rhetoric from none other than our own President which sends dangerous signals globally, and continued platform competition and unequitable marketplace control now under investigation by Congress, FTC, DOJ, states, the EU among others.
I’m feeling good this year about where things are headed. I’m feeling really good. And I’m thrilled at the programming lineup we assembled for our annual summit to talk about it.
I’ve seen in my time in digital, particularly the years I’ve been
fortunate enough to spend on the team at DCN, has taught me is that we
are at the forefront of something great here. We are on the frontlines
of storytelling and communication. We have the power to shape minds, to
touch hearts, to fill the world with laughter and tears. Here’s to 2020
bringing the roar of the crowd as we focus on what matters most: the
audiences we serve.
the dawn of the new decade of 2020, DCN members gathered at the Mandarin
Oriental Miami January 16 and 17 to network, discuss victories and challenges
as media companies evolve, and explore industry predictions.
new decade calls for a perfect ‘20/20’ vision, said Jason Kint, CEO, Digital
Content Next as he kicked off the closed-door, off-the-record gathering. That
encompasses continued focus on audience desires, pushback against the myth that
all content has to be free, and the elevation of trust and transparency in an
era marked by ‘fake news’.
Union’s recently enacted copyright law is a win for the industry, with similar
discussions expected this year in the U.S, noted Kint. Federal and state
investigations as well as emerging regulations are all good signals toward protecting
consumer privacy, regulating data use and anti-trust concerns, notes Kint.
can also expect a steady rise in content investments. UBS estimates that in
2020, a combined 16 media firms will spend $100 billion to produce content.
More than $35 billion will allocated on streaming video content, as new players
such as Disney Plus and NBC’s Peacock emerge.
feeling really good this year about where things are headed,” said Kint.
Jim Bankoff, CEO, Vox Media said he valued being at the DCN Summit. He described it as a place where premium publishers come together to “find ways to partner and to check our healthy, competitive impulses … and figure out ways to work together” in the wake of ceding ground to third party big tech platform and ad network “that have proven time and again not to have our best interests in mind.”
journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who freelances for the Guardian and Observer,
captivated the audience by recounting her experiences unearthing the activities
of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for
her work, which sparked international investigations as well as inspiring the
Netflix documentary, ‘The Great Hack’.
was my introduction to this world of creepy disinformation, but also complete
reluctance from the platforms to even acknowledge the problem, let alone deal
with it,” she noted. She was instead subjected to legal pushback from Google
and Facebook as well as online bullying.
also called for media companies to not compete against each other. Instead, she
encouraged those in the room to join together to “compete against lies and
falsehoods. We’ve seen it in Britain and you’re next,” said Cadwalladr.
Galloway, professor, NYU Stern School of Business, said
he believes that the big tech companies on the antitrust radar should be
broken up. Monopolies kill economic growth and are a “key step to tyranny,” he
contended, adding a co-opted government can’t serve as a dominating force for
pointed out that efforts to regulate the behavior of big tech fines have been
largely ineffectual. To date, the fines haven’t been punitive enough to
dissuade the big tech companies to modify behavior, he said. He also criticized
the federal government for being slow to act.
Monetization and concerns about subscription fatigue were recurring themes at the summit. Yet DCN research shows that younger audiences in particular appreciate the value of a subscription and finds that there is still consumer appetite for subscription products.
Peretti, founder and CEO, Buzzfeed noted that over the course of a few short
years, the company has begun to generate significant revenue from Facebook,
Google, Amazon, and Netflix from licensing.
don’t think Facebook or Google wants to buy news companies,” said Peretti. Of
the platforms movement toward paying for content, he said that “They get the
benefit of sharing some of the costs of the production of that content. News is
a great way to direct repeat visitors and to build trust in the platform to
avoid some of the problems of misinformation.”
Turpin II, president, National Journal, noted his longstanding publication adapted
to the changing media landscape by transforming itself from a media company to government
research and consulting services company for which subscribers are willing to
pay premium prices.
VandeHei, co-founder and CEO, Axios; Executive Producer, AXIOS on HBO said, “you
have to deliver content in a way that I would deliver in a conversation with
you over a drink, like what is new.” However, to create value, “Tell me why it
matters. Give me some context. Give me the power to go deeper.”
Complex, the path to success hasn’t been simple. Rich Antoniello, CEO and founder,
Complex Networks said, “we call ourselves a brand that happens to monetize
through media.” He said his company shifted from an ad-dependent model in 2016,
ahead of the curve.
example is the wild success of its “Hot Ones” program. It features10 questions
of its celebrity guests that get progressively more personal along with the consumption
of hot sauce that gets progressively hotter. And the business model is based
not on advertising, but on the sales of high-margin hot sauce.
also outlined the success of ComplexCon, the company’s flagship event, which connects
cultural icons with fans who spend $100 to $700 for VIP tickets, with hundreds
of thousands sold. Fans also snap up merchandise from Complex and its app-based
vendors such as Nike and Adidas.
power of fandom arose again when Howard Mittman, CEO, Bleacher Report spoke of
how his company’s app and successful franchises attract sports fans. He
described how individual athletes hold more sway in their fandom habits than sports
10 million fans have signed up for alerts and the app accounts for half of the
company’s user engagement. Bleacher Report’s focus is not on breaking sports
news, but creating engagement on its own platforms, according to Mittman.
continues to go through cultural shifts toward diversity both in company
staffing and in targeting readership such as women. “Women are generally not
seeing themselves in media and advertising to the extent that they should be,”
said Catherine Levene, president, chief digital officer, Meredith National
have been the first to support #SeeHer, a national organization committed to
accurate representation of women in media and advertising,” she said. She added
that’s not only good for supporting women, but also for the bottom line. Women
who see themselves in media and advertising are 45% more likely to recommend a product
to a friend and purchase it, said Levene.
the controversy it has attracted by those who question the veracity of its
science, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop brand is growing, noted Elise Loehnen, chief
content officer. The platform embraces several media forms and covers topics
from relationships to health, including alternative therapies. She said that
the controversy has been good for keeping the brand at the forefront of popular
tired of being talked down to,” said Loehnen. “We’re a strong female brand
undisturbed by the chaos.”
Tobaccowala, chief growth officer, Publicis Group,noted that the only
way to get ahead as a legacy company is to “kill your core. You have to rethink
your entire business.”
Levene from Meredith believes that the mobile world and 5G will create an even greater market for video. And, with 50% of searches conducted on the more than 200 million voice-enabled devices in U.S. homes, opportunities and challenges will arise.
action to purge third-party cookies against the backdrop of GDPR and CCPA will
impact the entire digital ecosystem, Levene noted.
is going to be the currency of the future. Those who have it at scale and the
ability to drive a lot of insights from it are going to win,” she added.
In a social media environment that is being blamed for everything from decreasing personal contact to radicalizing disaffected youth and intensifying suicide rates among girls, Tatyana Mamut, head of product, Nextdoor, made the case that her platform is creating connections on a micro-level in a neighborhood at a time when people hardly know their neighbors
believe that kindness is the next big thing in tech,” she added.
Alto journalism educator Esther Wojcicki made the case that helicopter
parenting has impacted the workforce and its ability to embrace risk and
innovation. She calls for parenting – and management – to embrace trust,
respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. She also promotes the idea
that every student should take a journalism course to build media literacy skills.
future will be fraught with change. And as Tobaccowala pointed out, “human
beings know how difficult change is.” But to survive, media companies must
continue to evolve.
have the power to shape minds and hearts, to fill the world with laughter and
tears to inform the truth,” said Kint. “Here’s to 2020 bringing the roar of the
crowd as we focus on what matters most: the audiences we serve.”
Mobile and social media received a lot of attention this last decade. Major media trends included fragmented attention, intermediated media, and growing distrust in journalism. So, what will the next 10 years present? The Reuters Institute once again looks at our past and evaluates emerging trends to forecast what’s ahead in media in its report, Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2020. Overarching themes for digital media in the next decade center on internet regulation, the re-establishment of trust in journalism, and creating a closer connection with the audience.
In addition, the report includes key trends and predictions for 2020 (see full report for the entire list).
1. The media business looks good; journalism less so.
The media business has a positive outlook but not so for journalism itself. While media executives feel confident or very confident about their company’s prospects in 2020, they feel less so about journalism in general. Their confidence for the media business centers on reader revenue and paid content, stable and growing income while advertising remains unstable. Further, the media business looks strong while consolidation is expected to continue. The latest in consolidation is a focus on keeping the editorial voice of the brands acquired while integrating back-end tech and data systems.
leaders have mixed reviews for platforms.
Those surveyed are more positive about Google and Twitter than Apple, Facebook, Snapchat, and Amazon when it comes to initiatives to support journalism. Sixty percent of respondents rated Google as average or better while the other platforms were less favorable (it’s important to note that many publishers surveyed are currently or past recipients of Google innovation funds).
The overall sentiment from publishers regarding platforms is they want a level playing field where they can compete fairly and get proper compensation for their content and its value. Publishers in the EU are trying new intervention tactics to address these companies dominance. One example is the EU’s new copyright directive, aka the link tax. This policy requires platforms to pay for unlicensed content that appears in aggregated news services. France is the first member state to carry out the directive. Google reacted with displaying less content rather than pay. Courts will be deciding the next actions.
3. Reader revenue is a major focus for the new decade.
Executives believe reader revenue offers stable and growing income for news publishers. Half of those surveyed report that reader revenue is the most important revenue stream going forward. Subscriptions and memberships help publishers access reader information. In fact, many publishers rely on consumers login to their services for first party data. With new data tracking regulation in play and opt out ad-tracking browsers, publishers need to entice readers to register and login.
4. Audience growth, better
measurement and ease of access will continue the growth of podcasts.
By 2021, US podcasting revenue is projected to grow by approximately 30% a year to reach over $1 billion. New formats are being explored from the recognized interview and chat format to new documentary formats.
Bigger audiences, better measurement, and easier access have combined to change the economics of podcasting. This is encouraging publishers to invest in creating more quality content and platforms to invest in better distribution and monetization.
Overall, the report finds that digital publishers seek to diversify
revenue and strengthen user engagement with multiple touchpoints and products
in the decade ahead. Newsroom have the added challenge of modernizing their
presentation without compromising quality and trust and receiving proper
compensation from the intermediates. While many industry challenges continue,
publishers are well positioned to tackle these issues.
Last week, at the DCN Next: Summit, Scott Galloway who is a professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and Author of ”The Four“ and ”The Algebra of Happiness” had a lively conversation with Reuters Breakingviews columnist, Jennifer Saba. DCN’s annual Summit is a closed-door members-only event. However, Saba and Galloway have graciously agreed to allow us to share this session publicly.
Their conversation covers a wide range of topics, in particular antitrust – specifically as it relates to big tech. As Galloway said, historically, “A key step to tyranny [has been] the government being co-opted as opposed to being a countervailing force to corporate power.”
To do its job, “effectively, government has to be bigger and badder than any individual or company – and it isn’t any more.” Amazon now has over 100 full time lobbyists “educating our elected officials … about why they’re not a monopoly.” He points out that “We are in a very dangerous situation in which private power is going unchecked” and in which government resources to regulate growing monopolies is declining while these organizations’ investment in lobbying is their largest area of expenditure growth.
Their discussion also looks at government efforts (largely ineffectual) to rein in the power of big tech as well as to penalize them for their negligence, privacy breaches, role in the spread of misinformation and election interference. They also uncover the source of Galloway’s prescience in predicting the location of Amazon’s HQ2 and he makes some new predictions about shifts in Amazon’s business model.
Watch the full Jen Saba interview with Scott Galloway:
Breakingviews columnist, Jennifer Saba interviews professor and author Scott Galloway at the annual DCN:Next Summit
There’s a blackhole in the video game universe. A massive, bare chest Jeff Goldblum is lounging on a London lawn near a bridge. And the golden arches have inverted.
Surely some sort of revelation is at hand!
Oh no wait: It’s just brands going viral.
Inspired by Fortnite’s bold strategy of taking the massively popular game offline for nearly two days to tee up the release of a new virtual world, we decided to investigate several so-called “publicity stunts” to see which ones were the most impactful in generating reader engagement.
To do this, we checked how these campaigns impacted readership about the companies on the Taboola network of news publishers. We’ve seen that successful marketing can often generate significant news coverage and create a viral effect.
Taboola’s data include readership of more than 1,300 US news websites including national, local, and digital-native organizations. The scope of the network offers a broad view of what’s capturing people’s attention.
With that in mind, let’s see which stunts sparked the biggest spikes.
The Fortnite black hole
Fortnite has become one of the rare titles of this generation to transcend gaming to become a cultural phenomenon. Its player base has expanded into the hundreds of millions over the past two years.
Naturally, people totally freaked out when the game’s universe was sucked into a black hole leaving behind only a dark screen and a cryptic string of numbers.
“It then, to the internet’s collective shock, stayed that way. Confused players joined forces to decode mysterious numbers, play a hidden minigame, entertain themselves with speculation, and spend more than 35 hours staring at what basically amounts to a screensaver.”
It didn’t take long for people to realize that this was the game’s way of teasing the beginning of a new season and the introduction of a new world for players to shoot to control.
In the meantime, millions of people read news articles about the phenomenon. We saw readership spike more than 10x above its daily average.
International house of what now?
Who doesn’t love IHOP? The food is decadent. The blue roof is iconic. And “Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity” is honestly one of the all-time great names for a menu item.
You could invert three of the letters in IHOP and not a thing would change. But when the company inverted that fourth letter, a great mystery ensued.
After several days of anticipation, “IHOb” revealed the b stands for burgers because, yes, they also serve burgers. A month later, IHOP admitted the supposed name change was a gimmick all along.
Readers seemed to find the gag palatable. Traffic spiked like an 8-year-old’s energy level after eating IHOP pancakes with blueberry syrup.
IHOP isn’t the only food chain to cause a stir by inverting its branding. A McDonald’s in California flipped the golden arches in honor of International Women’s Day and the company changed its logo on its social media channels to match.
McDonald’s said this gesture was meant to recognize “the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere and especially in our restaurants.”
We saw increased readership about McDonald’s related to this move. But it was not necessarily a triumph of publicity. The gesture received harsh backlash as people criticized the company for the wages it pays its workers.
Payless pranks influencers
Fashion influencers flocked to Palessi’s popup shop in Santa Monica, California, to sip champagne and try on shoes listed for up to $1,800. The line to get in extended well out the door. Photos were posted to Instagram.
No one suspected the supposed luxury kicks normally sell for as low as $20 until discount retailer Payless ShoeSource revealed it was behind the entire production.
Well played, Payless.
The farce earned a big bump in readership for the company. Unfortunately, the spike was overshadowed a few months later by the news that Payless was imminently closing all of its US locations.
Tesla boldly goes
Here’s one only Tesla could pull off.
Yes, that’s a Tesla Roadster in outer space.
The electric car company was able to pull off this extraterrestrial feat because of its association with SpaceX (since Elon Musk founded both companies).
So when SpaceX needed to show off the capabilities of its Falcon Heavy rocket during a 2018 launch, it brought along the Tesla as the payload to add some extra flare to the event.
How epic was this stunt? Business Insider’s Mark Matousek wrote, “Tesla created the world’s best car commercial without spending a dime on advertising.”
Both companies saw significant bumps in readership around this event.
Pizza and potholes
Most of us likely have experienced the utter disappointment of receiving a pizza from a delivery person, only to open the box and see a pie that looks like it’s reached us via a carnival ride.
Domino’s created its “Paving for Pizza” campaign aimed, perhaps symbolically, to address this issue by fixing potholes in towns across the US. In theory, this would create a smoother ride for their delivery people.
A road condition meter on the website promoting the campaign shows the supposed carnage various degrees of road disrepair wreak on pizza.
Domino’s even put its own branding on repaired roadways to make sure citizens knew who was responsible for the fix.
This campaign did not see the same type of traffic spike as the others. When it launched in June 2018, there were a number of stories that caused a small bump in activity as indicated by the red arrow in the chart below.
It’s possible this campaign had more of a slow burn effect though. It seemed to create increasing buzz at the local level as it expanded to new towns.
And despite the lack of readership at launch, there were a number of positives. PRWeek highlighted the campaign’s success on social media. It also covered the sheer number of requests the company received from towns that wanted to be part of the program, which included over 15,000 zip codes.
Sex sells, but at what cost?
Your scientists marketers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.
If the advertising maxim “sex sells” is true, then this one might be the new gold(blum) standard. See for yourself.
Unlike the other companies we’ve discussed so far, we didn’t actually see a spike for now Now TV when measuring readership in the UK. Taboola’s semantic AI looks for terms in headlines and the first few paragraphs of a story to categorize them into topics. Since Jeff Goldblum is such a big star, most of the story headlines about the statue gave him top billing and mentioned that it was organized by Now TV deeper in the stories.
With this in mind, we also looked at news stories about Jeff Goldblum and did find a bump in readership when the statue first appeared. As you can see below, it wasn’t the biggest Jeff Goldblum news of the past two years. That honor went to the revelation that Goldblum, Laura Dern and Sam Neill would all appear in the next “Jurassic World.”
The competition is fierce for the attention of readers and customers.
The stunts that not only successfully garnered “earned” media for brands but also significant audiences for those media sites can be categorized into three themes: providing a public service or pushing for social good (Domino’s/McDonalds), generating intrigue (Fortnite/IHOP/Payless), or creating a spectacle (Tesla/NowTV).
The successful stunts for brands were the ones that best aligned with their public image. A lighthearted brand like IHOP with playfully named menu items can get away with shenanigans if it’s all in good fun. While Tesla and SpaceX, both known for being on the cutting-edge of technology, took those reputations to the next level with the space car stunt.
Journalists have the important responsibility of giving readers context about these stunts and holding brands accountable when their plays for attention miss the mark. However, when done right, these stunts not only deliver significant PR, they drive interest and traffic for media companies as well.
Note: Taboola’s news publisher partners have access to data on trending topics in the Topic Insights part of Newsroom, a real-time audience analytics platform. There’s also a publicly available version of Topic Insights on the Taboola Trends page.
Taboola is always looking for interesting ways to use data to help bring context to how news readers are interacting with real-world events such as measuring which presidential candidates are getting the most attention and measuring the huge impact of a coordinated media effort to increase climate change coverage. Please DM @franberkman on Twitter if you’re doing any research or reporting that you think this type of data could help support.
The year 2020 will be a tipping point year for media companies. This is the year in which journalists must fight the battle for truth, according to Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler, a digital news organization based in Manila, the Philippines.
“What we do this year – not just in the Philippines, but all around the world and especially in the United States – will determine whether or not the whole world walks into a cycle of fascism. We’ve been here before. What we do now matters.”
Ressa – who has been the target of persecution in her country – offered these comments as part of a recorded statement presented to attendees of DCN Next: Summit at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami, Florida on January 15.
In her statement, Ressa expressed gratitude to DCN CEO Jason Kint, the DCN Board of Directors, and the members of DCN for supporting her cause and helping her to “shine the light” through journalistic endeavors.
“That really is the only weapon that journalists have,” noted Ressa. “What we’ve lived through in the Philippines…our dystopian present is your dystopian future. This is it, the battle for truth.”
The DCN Board of Directors issued a statement (included below) supporting House and Senate Resolutions calling on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to end his political persecution of Ressa and Senator Leila de Lima.
“Healthy democracies thrive with vigorous political discourse and a free, independent press,” noted the statement.
On, the question of whether there exists a line between journalism and activism, Ressa said that “in the battle of truth, journalism becomes activism. This is a hard-fought lesson we have learned in the Philippines.”
Popular populist authoritarian-style leaders are getting elected throughout the world. “Just like they had a dictator’s playbook, they lie,” she said. “A lie told a million times becomes a fact. Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without all three, democracy as we know it is dead.”
Ressa referenced her own experience when in 2018, the Philippine government investigated Rappler in at least 11 cases. “In 2019, I was arrested…not once, but twice,” she said. “I posted bail eight times.”
The relevance of her travails extends to journalists everywhere. Because, as she said, the “the enabler for all of this is technology. And technology is in the hands of American social media companies,” said Ressler.
“Facebook is our internet” she said. “Where Facebook goes, the Philippines goes. The weaponization of social media was followed by the weaponization of the law. This is what’s happened to the gatekeepers, right? And when the gatekeepers move from the journalists to technologists… lies spread faster than facts.”
Official Statement from the DCN Board of Directors
applaud Senators Edward Markey and Marco Rubio along with Senators Marsha
Blackburn, Christopher Coons and Richard Durbin who introduced Senate
Resolution 142. We also applaud Representative Jackie Speier along with
Representatives Henry Johnson, Jamie Raskin, Brad Sherman and Lloyd Doggett who
introduced House Resolution 233.
Both resolutions call on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to end his political persecution of Senator Leila de Lima and journalist Maria Ressa, founder and CEO of Rappler, a digital news organization based in Manila. Healthy democracies thrive with vigorous political discourse and a free, independent press.” —DCN Board of Directors
To reinforce our support of a free press everywhere, DCN is pleased to share the video of Ressa’s statement: