Global: Publishers let down by Instant Articles

Global: Publishers let down by Instant Articles

Many publishers are deeply unhappy with Facebook’s Instant Articles because of low monetisation, with major partners like The New York Times throwing in the towel and many others cutting back the amount of content pushed onto the platform.

In response, Facebook is making concessions to publishers, Digiday reports, including new subscription options, in a rare show of weakness for the platform juggernaut.

The New York Times is among an elite group of publishers that is regularly tapped by Facebook to launch new products, and as such, it was one of the first publishers to pilot Instant Articles. However, it stopped using the platform after a test last year found that links back to the Times’ own site monetised better than Instant Articles.

NYT executive vice president of product and technology Kinsey Wilson told Digiday that people also were more likely to subscribe to the Times if they came directly to the site rather than through Facebook.

Lower ad revenue hits Buffett papers

Warren Buffett’s newspaper company has cut 289 jobs, including 108 vacant positions, due to lower advertising revenue, according to a memo sent to employees last week.

BH Media Group, a subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc that owns 31 daily newspapers, is also cutting the number of pages in some of its papers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Our digital revenue is not growing fast enough yet to offset print revenue losses from both advertising and circulation,” Terry Kroeger, BH Media’s chief executive, wrote in the memo. “It is imperative that we take this action. Otherwise some of our operations will become unprofitable.”

Buffett, who delivered newspapers when he was young, is fond of the business and bought most of Berkshire’s newspapers from Media General Inc in 2012.

Independent magazine crowdfunds journalism

Independent magazine New Internationalist has successfully crowdfunded £704,114 in a campaign inviting readers to “buy into a better story” and become co-owners of the organisation.

The month-long campaign saw 3409 people purchase shares in the organisation, which ranged from £50 to £10 000. Each now has a say in the editorial content and advertising policy.

Digital editor Chris Spannos told Journalsim.co.uk that the timing was right.

“In this time of fake news, of filter bubbles and Brexit and Donald Trump, we want to make ourselves more accountable, more transparent and we want to give our readers an opportunity to actually own us and help guide the direction of our organisation.”

The organisation also plans to reinvest in its digital subscription model.

New Internationalist is a not-for-profit publication that has covered human rights, politics, social and environmental justice for the past 40 years.

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