Splice News media trends: The week according to Alan Soon

As a leading light of the commentariat in Asia, newsroom consultant and former alumnus of Yahoo, CNBC and Bloomberg, Alan Soon knows a thing or two about the media. Here is his roundup of developments inside the bubble this week

Mark Zuckerberg is making a big bet on the future of AR by putting your phone’s camera at the center of the new Facebook experience. In particular, he imagines a world where you’ll be looking at everything around you through the camera, including socializing with your friends. Here’s a roundup of the F8 conference.

…Zuck however skirted the issue of the alleged murder in Cleveland that was streamed on Facebook Live for thousands to see. Facebook took 3 hours to take down the video — far too long. Zuck didn’t want to address the issue at the conference, or ongoing calls for the company to accept its responsibilities as a media platform.

…That said, it was refreshing to see some transparency from Facebook. They published a timeline showing their internal steps in taking down the video.

…The Chicago Tribune is concerned that Facebook’s algo isn’t surfacing about one third of their content posts. And worse, they can’t figure out why.

…You can’t ignore the fact that Facebook has been shifting gears and nudging publishers in different directions — first video, then live video, and now ephemeral stories… and of course, it’s AR next. For some publishers, Facebook is no longer a frenemy; it’s an outright opponent.

Google is reportedly working a built-in ad blocker for Chrome. This could block out autoplaying video ads as well as standard display banners. For a company that generates most of its revenue from advertising, this is an odd move to get in front of a trend. But this could potentially trigger questions of antitrust: What’s to stop Google from blacklisting ads run by its rivals like Facebook?

YouTube gives people the ability to live stream themselves. But here’s the thing: You’ll need to have at least 1,000 subscribers to do it. A much smarter way of limiting access (and dangerous content).

Instagram is killing Snapchat. Eight months into Instagram Stories, they’re beating Snapchat on both audience and revenue. “Many of our clients are de-prioritizing Snapchat. It’s no secret that Instagram has Snapchat in the crosshairs.”

If you deal with analytics, you should read this piece about vanity metrics — how to spot them, why they don’t matter, and more importantly, what numbers you should really be paying attention to.

Vice Media says it’s cut its page-load time in half within six months. It’s ramped up on its own internal tech so that pages and ads are coming up faster. “Speed improvements that matter are all nerdy stuff like this, and you have to get under the hood to really understand speed optimization.”

Yahoo filed its final earnings report this week, closing the final chapter in the company’s demise over the past few years as a public company. There’s an important lesson here: This is an important sign of things to come for companies that depend solely on display ad revenue.

The Financial Times is spending more money on marketing as the company tries to pull in more subscriptions. Marketing spend is up 28% on consumer campaigns and 30% on B2B compared with the previous year. This is important — other publishers embarking on subscription models aren’t thinking enough about spending real marketing dollars to promote it.

…The FT started an M&A newsletter for its top paying subscribers. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here. It’s a way to address a couple observations we had about the way that media is evolving — how we could tap into the people who are most engaged with these things and give them an opportunity to interact with us in a closer, deeper way, without messing with the pricing model of the FT.”

Taiwan’s China Post is ending its print run. The 65-year-old English newspaper is shifting completely to digital.

There’s a new news app — Twain. It’s on iOS and it promises to show you trending stories that you would otherwise have missed. And it’s all done by an algo. “The idea is to get the editor out of the way.”

How encrypted is your messaging app? This is what the chat app universe looks like when it comes to security.

Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News. More than 50 advertisers dropped his show after a NYT story revealed that he paid millions to settle claims against him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. He’s reportedly getting a payout of up to $25 million — which is his annual salary.

Amazon has a new policy in Germany to help reduce the number of sick days that employees take. Workers get a bonus — if they close off the month without using many sick days. But you can only get there if your coworkers have similarly good attendance. How’s that for peer pressure?

Here’s a task for PR consultants — please get your clients to speak normally. The United Airlines scandal shows why it’s time to de-plane corporate speak.

PornHub launched Trickpics. Think of it as Snapchat for nudes — it lets you put filters on your private parts. Just because.

Quote of the week
“One very important ingredient of success is a good, wide-awake, persistent, tireless enemy.” – Frank Shutts


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