Whilst you lot have been away sunning yourselves, Felix has been working hard. Lots going on here at HQ in the way of new UIs, new code and new clients. After a five week blogging absence, we’re back with a roundup of some of the things we’ve found most interesting over the summer period…
1. Monocle Gives No Sh*ts About Social
Here’s a refreshing interview with Monocle editor Andrew Tuck, from The Drum.
Known for its portfolio of inspirational content, commerce innovation, and various pop-up enterprises, Monocle is bucking a trend. Tuck says the brand doesn’t care too much traffic drawn from social media. He calls it ‘promiscuous’ and says that it fails to ‘deliver anything to our bottom line.’
“We have 2 million people every month who either download or listen to our radio station which is only available as a digital brand. When people say ‘You don’t do that much in digital’ we tell them to go and look at our website where we have got 500 films and slideshows, there’s updated content every day and it’s the only place you can take out a Monocle subscription. It’s also a vital source of e-commerce [selling clothes, books, perfumes and accessories] which has grown at record rates this year.”
AKA: focusing on your knitting. He may be on to something.
2. Faceb0rg (Allegedly) Gives No Sh*ts About Publishers
Scurrilous reportage here from NiemanLab.
At a recent meeting with The Australian, Campbell Brown, the company’s global head of news partnerships, allegedly said:
“We will help you revitalise journalism … in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a hospice.”
“We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals any more. That is the old world and there is no going back.”
Here’s some data from Slate…
In any event, if Brown’s quote is real and accurately reflects Facebook’s view, publishers should take it to heart. Facebook isn’t interested in sending you more traffic. That’s its, right! But it’s a reminder that the responsibility for building a sustainable model for news is on us, not on anyone in Menlo Park, Mountain View, Cupertino, Redmond, or Seattle.
In other words, make like Monocle.
3. Stories are the New Story
Hey kids! According to Digital Content Next, story interfaces are all the rage for hip publishers. Like, the swipe-like things you find on Instagram.
News organizations can use the Stories format as an way to connect with a younger, mobile centric audience. In particular, the news media should look to Stories users as a special force to channel real-time, fresh content around breaking stories.
(Talk to us. We can help.)
4. Some Bad News from the Big Guys
Techcrunch reports that Faceb0rg’s own browser now handles 10% of all sessions in the US. (And even more than that in some US states.)
(That’s 10% of all web pages viewed through a browser. ie: not via Safari, Chrome, Firefox or other dodgy private browsers.)
Facebook’s growth as a mobile browser is also of concern because it means it has an outsized influence on shaping the flow of news and information, without having a news media background or experience – or even, any longer, an editorial staff who curates the way news reaches Facebook users.
We’ve been warned. Holy walled gardens! Call Christopher Lloyd and tell him dust down the Delorean.
5. Some Good News from the Good Guys
More from Digital Content Next, a report from Chartbeat that suggests Google is doing nice things. Google News, that is…
Chartbeat numbers, from May to July, show that publishers have enjoyed a net 24% increase in traffic from Google’s revamped aggregator.
Also, traffic from organic Google search seems to be up during the same period.
Can news aggregators be a good thing? Monocle probably wouldn’t agree. What’s the price of not owning a significant part of your audience journey?
6. Reuters is Launching a New Consumer-Targeted App, with a New UI
You can check it out here, courtesy of What’s New in Publishing.
It seems to look a bit like a timeline.
The app seeks to make news more useful by prioritising topic-based feeds of quick, reliable and relevant information curated to inform decision making, in specific sectors, markets, interests, and countries.
ie: a bit like Faceb0rg and Twitter, but the signs are encouraging. UI innovation is the go.
7. Twitter Goes All Taboola
This will enable brands and (we guess) people to pay to appear on publisher web pages, and for publishers to enjoy a share of the spoils.
More details here.
So, something else to consider for your sidebar.
8. Future Publishing is Just Dandy
Finally, an epic (extensive, detailed, insightful) post here from Flashes and Flames on Future Plc’s past and present performance.
NB: it is loooooooong, but great.
tl;dr: Future is in very good shape; publishing is not dead; they’ve got a lot going on; massive, focused diversification is helping; digital is their cornerstone; as is a driving ambition, beyond the page.
That’s all for now. Hope it’s been helpful and fun…
Also published on Medium.