Australia and France Seek Changes to Big Tech News Model

Last summer, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission put together a 623-page report that pointed to Facebook and Google as the reason for the precipitous decline in local news and public policy reporting. Commission chair Rod Sims, who wrote the report, stated that, “global tech companies are not beyond national laws, especially when there is so much at stake.” He and French regulator Isabelle de Silva are challenging those two tech behemoths for carrying news organizations’ content without paying them. Continue reading Australia and France Seek Changes to Big Tech News Model

Facebook Ad Sales Pick Up, Resulting in Strong Q1 Revenue

With the coronavirus pandemic, advertising plummeted on many online sites, including social media giant Facebook. The company’s chief financial officer David Wehner declared that factor “largely attributable” to the 16 percent decline in average price of ads purchased in March. But gaming and e-Commerce companies picked up the slack by spending more, taking advantage of less competition in the company’s ad auctions. As a result, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told analysts the company would “remain in growth mode.” Continue reading Facebook Ad Sales Pick Up, Resulting in Strong Q1 Revenue

Facebook Gives $100 Million in Local News Grants, Marketing

Although news media have seen a rise in digital subscriptions during the coronavirus, advertising has plummeted. Facebook has stepped in with the announcement it will provide $25 million in grants to local news outlets, as well as spend $75 million in marketing. Examples of outlets hard hit include BuzzFeed and American Media, which are cutting employees’ salaries, and alt-weeklies that have laid off as much as 75 percent of their employees. Facebook fact-checkers, meanwhile, are fighting coronavirus misinformation. Continue reading Facebook Gives $100 Million in Local News Grants, Marketing

Advertising Sales Plummet Even as Social Media Usage Soars

Despite growing usage of social media platforms during the coronavirus pandemic, the platforms’ ad businesses are plummeting. Twitter, for example, saw its daily usage skyrocket 23 percent this year, but its revenue may have dropped as much as 20 percent in March. As businesses have slowed down or shuttered, marketers are decreasing or even stopping advertising, which is the core support of media companies. In difficult economic times, advertising spending on the media sector is often the first to be cut. Continue reading Advertising Sales Plummet Even as Social Media Usage Soars

Google Updates Algorithm, Guidelines to Aid Original Stories

Publishers complain that their news scoops, when posted online, are quickly nabbed and recycled by other publications, leading to a loss in traffic. To stem the flow, Google made changes to its algorithm and its guidelines to favor original reporting. Google vice president of news Richard Gingras said that the company would make it easier for readers to “find the story that started it all.” He later added that the shift also benefited Google Search and Google News in its efforts to “retain the trust of [its] users.”

Continue reading Google Updates Algorithm, Guidelines to Aid Original Stories

Facebook to Include Breaking News Section in Watch Platform

As part of Facebook’s broader news strategy, company exec Campbell Brown announced at the Code Media conference that the social platform plans to introduce a breaking news feature to its video streaming platform Facebook Watch. The company launched Watch in August to compete in the original video space across mobile, TV apps and desktop. Content partners earn 55 percent of ad revenue and Facebook gets 45 percent. Watch is different than Facebook’s video tab in that it offers exclusive content, personalized recommendations, subscription options and more. Continue reading Facebook to Include Breaking News Section in Watch Platform

Two Editors Describe New Model to Reinvigorate Local News

Local news is already in sad shape, and Facebook and Google now aim to cover it rather than national news. But two editors of digital outlets are proposing a different model for invigorating local news, especially in urban areas that where the local press has been destroyed by digital technology. In this model, very good journalists would cover the news that no one else is covering — and ignore everything else that isn’t local news, including the Super Bowl, movie reviews and the stock market report. Continue reading Two Editors Describe New Model to Reinvigorate Local News

Facebook Profit Jumps, Investors Wary of News Feed Tweaks

Since Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg tweaked the social platform’s algorithm so that people see more content from family and friends than publishers in their News Feed, investors have been concerned that users won’t spend as much time on the platform and discourage marketers from placing ads. Facebook is now making the argument that the changes will actually benefit business, with the time people spend on the platform becoming more valuable. Its case is buttressed by a recent jump in revenue and profits. Continue reading Facebook Profit Jumps, Investors Wary of News Feed Tweaks

Digital Hollywood: Platforms Battle to Dominate TV Viewership

A group of industry experts gathered to determine what platform(s) would be the ultimate TV winner. OTT, over-the-air broadcast, cross-platform, multiscreen experience, set-top boxes, mobile devices and consoles were all fair game for conversation. Among the more interesting pronouncements were that set-top boxes are on their way out (although it may take some time), that the proliferation of apps begs for aggregation, and that the lowly antenna is regarded as a miracle device by millennials. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: Platforms Battle to Dominate TV Viewership

SeaChange International Picks Up Timeline Labs in $22M Deal

Multiscreen video software company SeaChange International has acquired TV social media toolmaker Timeline Labs for $22 million in cash and shares, with additional stock payouts possible based on performance. Timeline’s software collects content on social media that targets a specific region, and allows broadcast or online clients to quickly and easily curate and display the stories via a localized video service. Clients have used the service to develop content based on local sports, news and entertainment. Continue reading SeaChange International Picks Up Timeline Labs in $22M Deal

Kindle Software Update Comes with Free Washington Post App

The latest software update to Amazon’s Kindle Fire will bring the new Washington Post app to users for free. The ready to read app features the latest news with various articles, images and advertisements. The app was designed with significant contributions from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who purchased the news source last year for $250 million. The release of the app on the Kindle marks the first formal collaborative effort between The Post and its parent company Amazon.  Continue reading Kindle Software Update Comes with Free Washington Post App

Snapchat Adds ‘Our Campus Story’ Exclusively for Colleges

Snapchat’s popular “Our Story” montages from live events around the world are so popular that the company is adding a similar feature to share students’ college experiences. The “Our Campus Story” feature only allows people on campus to post and view the communal story. Like with “Our Story,” Snapchat will still approve all of the posts before they get added to the mix. The new feature launched last week at UCLA, the University of Southern California, Penn State, and UT Austin. Continue reading Snapchat Adds ‘Our Campus Story’ Exclusively for Colleges

Google is Testing Personalized Local News for Google Now

Google is testing a local news service as a feature or content “card” in Google Now, its intelligent personal assistant that is currently available in newer Android versions, and in the newest Google Search app for iOS. Local news is a logical addition to Google Now since the personal search assistant’s main purpose is to provide information that is “contextually relevant” to the user, based on interests, time of day, and location. Continue reading Google is Testing Personalized Local News for Google Now