The generation that grew up on BuzzFeed also loves social media but apparently has a short attention span. You won’t find long-form articles on FWx, but brief posts and 15-second videos. The site also will offer plenty of ways for users to contribute and share content via their social networks.
You have quality on one end, and you have scale on the other end. You’re saying there’s no one in the top box of quality at scale. I’m saying that’s the box that we want to occupy and that we’re well on our way to occupying.
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff
So if you see someone tweet an article, it likely means they either didn’t really read it, or they read every word. That makes it tough to judge a story by how many tweets it has. But new insights into how many people tweet and click versus how many actually read are actually prompting a change in the way publishers market themselves to advertisers. Upworthy, YouTube, and other platforms have started paying less attention to page views and more attention to how engaged people actually are. Upworthy has started tracking a new metric called “attention minutes,” which measures the total amount of time that people spend actively paying attention to the site, along with the amount of attention paid to each piece.
I read the whole article.
A Big Week for Digital News
It was a busy week in the digital news space, with the launches of Facebook’s Paper app (well, announced but not yet released) and Jason Calacanis’ Inside, as well as the revelation that Ezra Klein left the Bezos-era WaPo for Vox Media.
In response, a number of outlets covered the state of digital news; a quick roundup of my own favorites follow. (Nieman Journalism Lab offers a more comprehensive version.)
The Wall Street Journal: Even as new players enter the market, advertising rates are decreasing rapidly due to programmatic buying / RTB. That means profits could be elusive, and cannot be built on advertising alone.
Quotable: Jim VandeHei, president and CEO of Politico
We would never build a media product based around [web] traffic and advertising. That is a fool’s play in this day and age.
GigaOM: Vox Media believes in the future of brand advertising (but not native content), and is going to reinvent it using in-house creative expertise. The challenge with uniquely creative ads is that they don’t scale well for advertisers. Vox will also have additional revenue streams like live events (which are now a common component of any content company’s strategy).
Quotable: GigaOM reporter Mathew Ingram
With more and more media companies focusing on these same targets — high-quality brand advertising and live events — as a way of boosting their flagging online revenues, Vox is going to have to run twice as hard to stay ahead of the pack, regardless of how good Ezra Klein’s team is.
TechCrunch: Based on aggregated social sharing data and his own analysis, columnist Jon Evans looks at BuzzFeed as a harbinger of things to come. He concludes:
1. New media rises and falls much faster than old media. That bodes ill for the latter.
2. Permeable paywalls are probably a pretty good idea.