Digital media disruptions V - contrarian facts and Facebook-eats-newspapers edition

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed June 8, 2015
Digital media is still chock full of disruption. But which stories pass the enterprise relevance test?

Yes, it's time for another gut-check review of digital media disruptions - the enterprisey review (see previous instalment here). Rules remain simple: pick the impactful stories from my curated digital media Scoop.IT collection, and give them a hard look from the enterprise side, where eyeballs still count - as long as they're the right ones. Where useful, I'll offer up a course of action.

The New York Times–Facebook Deal Is Here
by: Gabriel Sherman
key excerpt: "Wednesday morning, in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant."

enterprise relevance: For pure media players, this is a dramatic story. If the New York Times is desperate enough to post entire articles in the Facebook stream and give up search control, then few business models are safe. For companies outside of pure media, the implications are different. Due to its immense numbers and deep demographic peepholes, Facebook remains a fertile ground for content (and advertising) experimentation. But: brands need to look hard at branching out from Business Pages that are in the caboose of Facebook's current newsfeed algorithm.

best course of action:

  • Experiment with participation in Facebook groups, which have a low tolerance for spam but a higher newsfeed/notification traction than Pages.
  • Allow content that has lifestyle and cultural appeal to be posted on Facebook streams, but not at the expense of building your own content property.
  • Push away from the table of Facebook hype, but pay attention to the envelope pushing side, such as Facebook's move beyond cookies.

10 Facts From The Real World
by: Ad Contrarian
key excerpt: "Every year or so I like to take a step back and look at a few key advertising, marketing, and media facts just to gauge how removed from reality we advertising experts are."

enterprise relevance: The Ad Contrarian likes to pepper his satire of online social (and advertising) hype with some inconvenient facts, such as: "The rate of engagement among a brand's fans with a Facebook post is 7 in 10,000. For Twitter it is 3 in 10,000." And: "Fewer than one person in a thousand clicks on a standard banner ad." And: "Less than 1% of retail buying is done on a mobile device." Enterprise marketers have a tendency to assume that digital is a proven economic model, when in many cases (such as mobile advertising) it is still a work in progress. While I think the Ad Contrarian underestimates the cultural impact of smart phones, his contrarian factoids give useful pause. (Also recommend: The Perspective-Free Marketing Industry.)

best course of action:

  • Give contrarian views (and facts) a seat at the digital marketing table.
  • Compare digital initiatives against industry benchmarks.
  • Launch modest digital campaigns that can be tracked and measured before further ramp-up.

Periscope journalism evolving in Baltimore: “Just let the truth come out”
by:  Jim MacMillan
key excerpt: "Paul Lewis, Washington correspondent for The Guardian, further developed the emerging process of live-streaming mobile video journalism as he used Periscope to tell stories from the riots in Baltimore Monday night."

enterprise relevance: What does political unrest have to do with the enterprise media? It's the coverage itself. With Meerkat garnering attention, Twitter released its own Periscope app (for iOS, Periscope for Android is coming soon). Bottom line: easier real-time streams than ever before. This has implications for meetings we think are private and events under NDA. It's a copyright lawyer's pajama party. There are also possibilities for opening up events in new ways. The Verge is one outfit experimenting with Periscope for its Google I/O coverage.

best course of action:

  • Get out in front of video and live streaming tech.
  • Start thinking through the pros and cons of how this can be used (or misused) at your meetings and events.

State of the News Media 2015
by: Pew Research Center
key excerpt: "Call it a mobile majority. At the start of 2015, 39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis of comScore data."

enterprise relevance: Speaking of media factoids, this Pew Report is chock full of 'em, from network news to podcasting data. From an enterprise standpoint, the mobile consumption trends stand out. Example: For half of these top 50 news sites polled – which include legacy print, cable, network, as well as digital-only brands – visitors from desktops stay longer than those coming through mobile. The reverse is true for only 10 of the sites. Though mobile users are consuming more long form content than I expected, it's something to keep an eye on. The increased consumer traction of podcasting is also of note.

best course of action:

  • Don't assume certain kinds of content work and don't work on mobile - test and study the preferences of your audience.
  • Plan on offering different mobile consumption offerings to keep pace with growing mobile readership (apps, top news bullet sections, responsive design).
  • Consider experimenting with podcasting as another means of media distribution, with some distinct subscription and streaming options I've already explored.

BuzzFeed Deleted Posts Under Pressure from Its Own Business Department
key excerpt: "Earlier this week, BuzzFeed launched an internal review of any posts that its editors or writers had deleted from the site since editor-in-chief Ben Smith was hired in January 2012. In an interview on Friday, and a memo sent to staff on Saturday, Smith revealed that the review has already uncovered three instances where complaints from the site’s business and advertising departments led Smith to delete posts. "

enterprise relevance: BuzzFeed is widely considered a winner in the navigation to new media models. So if they can get in trouble with transparency and deleted posts, so can you/me/we. As per usual, the cover up is probably worse than the initial offense. Then there was the awkward departure of writer Arabelle Sicardi after a deleted/restored post about one of its sponsors this spring. Reader trust is squandered through such missteps.

best course of action:

  • Develop clear guidelines for employees that help them navigate the maze of what content is appropriate to share and in what context (without unnecessary muzzling)
  • There is no such thing as "delete" on a public post. Readers will notice and will expect a coherent explanation. Some may have even screen-grabbed the offending post before you pull it.
  • There is nothing wrong with enforcing guidelines (including those that protect financial interests) as long as those interests are disclosed, and the policies are enforced consistently and openly.

Two bonus pieces:
Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report, 2015 - which would require an entire post to sufficiently analyze
Kara Swisher has lost - a highly subjective/biased (but thought-provoking) view from Pando on the surprise acquisition of Re/code by Vox, which is itself a reported acquisition target of Comcast.

These pieces were picked from my curated channel, enterprise media disruptions.

Image credit:  Hands with empty crushed paper reaches out from crumpled papers © andreysafonov -

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