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Social Media, News, etc…
3 ways to look at what social media is
doing to/for news
Ben Wirz, Knight Foundation
@bthewirz
Background
How News was traditionally done
Traditional news made possible by
traditional revenue model
Revenue
25% Subscriptions

Write/edit
News

75% Advertisement
...
Old news model created lots of:
-strong, professional, editor-driven news
-wealth (and style!)
But then along comes…

…the
internet
-Cost of distribution goes to 0
-Advertising divorces content
-65% of online ads go t...
No cost of distribution = people read what they want,
(and a lot of what they want is squirrels)
-"A squirrel dying in fro...
News Biz gets tougher, struggle for
audience & revenue
Revenue
0-30% Subscriptions

70-100% Advertisement

Content shared ...
Ongoing Disruption

Global newspaper industry is down 40% ($51B) in revenue since 2006

Sources: Mary Meeker, 2013 Interne...
30% cuts to newsroom staff over last 10 yrs
= a lot less Local and Regional news:
-Government
-Education
-Healthcare
-Arts...
The problem facing American journalism is not
fundamentally an audience problem or a
credibility problem. It is a revenue ...
What social media means for news, Take 1:
-Better channel to distribute news
A lot of people use social media
-1.2B Monthly Active Users
-728M log in daily
-Growing 18%/yr (Sept 2013)
Source: Faceboo...
No cost of sharing news socially
That was then…

… this is now
Using social media to distribute news
Can attract new audience at little cost

(Remember: new audience = new revenue)
Sour...
Turns out: some people like getting
news this way…

Source: Pew Research: The Role of News on Facebook, October 2013
…especially young people…

Pew Research Journalism Project: Twitter news consumers young mobile & educated, Nov 2013
…but people read topics they like*
(not brands) and don’t come back…

*Choice of what to
read has shifted from
editors to ...
And most people still don’t even get
their news online.
-So social media does
present a new
channel for
distributing traditional
news (20% of online
news traffic)
-But distributi...
What social media means for news, Take 2:
-A new source of news
Easy Story--

-Vegetable cart repossessed
by policewoman
-Self immolation (Dec. 17,
2012))
-Family protests (Dec. 18),
pos...
Actual Story:

Credit: Ethan Zuckerman
• No traditional
editors initiated
this story
• No traditional
means could stop
this story (eg
Gafsa)
• But “going viral”
...
Social media = new currency (literally)
Caroline Criado Perez: 1
Bank of England: 0
What social media means for news, Take 3:
-A new model of news
Social media (and the internet) are
making startups rethink news model
Mission/Brand

Create

Distribute

Consume

32
You (the people) can now consume,
create & distribute
Consume
Create

Distribute
33
New news
orgs built on
social media

Majority of traffic from FB
~100% local news

-Fastest growing
digital news site ever...
People like to share real news

Source: PolicyMic/KnightFoundation The 15 most shared stories on Monday , June 2013
Key questions for KF:

?
What kind of news will news orgs built around social media
make?
Is some news being left behind?
...
Social media, news, etc -- What social media is doing to/for news
Social media, news, etc -- What social media is doing to/for news
Social media, news, etc -- What social media is doing to/for news
Social media, news, etc -- What social media is doing to/for news
Social media, news, etc -- What social media is doing to/for news
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Social media, news, etc -- What social media is doing to/for news

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Three ways to look at the impact of social media on news

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Social media, news, etc -- What social media is doing to/for news

  1. 1. Social Media, News, etc… 3 ways to look at what social media is doing to/for news Ben Wirz, Knight Foundation @bthewirz
  2. 2. Background
  3. 3. How News was traditionally done
  4. 4. Traditional news made possible by traditional revenue model Revenue 25% Subscriptions Write/edit News 75% Advertisement Market, Print & Distribute Audience Engagement Costs 15% Content Creation 75% Marketing & Distribution • High cost of distribution, natural geographic monopolies, limited audience choice & aggregated bundles of content •Mostly one-direction 4
  5. 5. Old news model created lots of: -strong, professional, editor-driven news -wealth (and style!)
  6. 6. But then along comes… …the internet -Cost of distribution goes to 0 -Advertising divorces content -65% of online ads go to Google(50%) & FB(15%) (Source: emarketer) -Content is unbundled 6
  7. 7. No cost of distribution = people read what they want, (and a lot of what they want is squirrels) -"A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa." - Mark Zuckerberg -All news sites combined get ~1% of web traffic
  8. 8. News Biz gets tougher, struggle for audience & revenue Revenue 0-30% Subscriptions 70-100% Advertisement Content shared & aggregated Content Creation Social Sharing Marketing & Distribution Audience Engagement Audience contributes content Costs 60-70% Content Creation 10-20% Marketing & Distribution *eg Salon, HuffPo, Alaska Dispatch, BaristaNet 9
  9. 9. Ongoing Disruption Global newspaper industry is down 40% ($51B) in revenue since 2006 Sources: Mary Meeker, 2013 Internet Trends, Ken Doctor Newsonomics of 2014
  10. 10. 30% cuts to newsroom staff over last 10 yrs = a lot less Local and Regional news: -Government -Education -Healthcare -Arts & Culture Source: Steven Waldman, FCC, Information Needs of Communities
  11. 11. The problem facing American journalism is not fundamentally an audience problem or a credibility problem. It is a revenue problem. -Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism $180M/yr invested in journalism by foundations 2007-2010 $1.6B/yr editorial cuts by legacy newspapers. Source:”The Information Needs of Communities”, FCC, June 2011 12
  12. 12. What social media means for news, Take 1: -Better channel to distribute news
  13. 13. A lot of people use social media -1.2B Monthly Active Users -728M log in daily -Growing 18%/yr (Sept 2013) Source: Facebook Q3 2013 Quarterly Report -215M Monthly Active Users -100M log in daily -Growing 44%/yr (Oct 2013) Source: Twitter S-1 IPO Filing
  14. 14. No cost of sharing news socially That was then… … this is now
  15. 15. Using social media to distribute news Can attract new audience at little cost (Remember: new audience = new revenue) Sources: Parse.ly Authority Report, Sept 2013 Chartbeat, Understanding Social Sources, Oct 2013
  16. 16. Turns out: some people like getting news this way… Source: Pew Research: The Role of News on Facebook, October 2013
  17. 17. …especially young people… Pew Research Journalism Project: Twitter news consumers young mobile & educated, Nov 2013
  18. 18. …but people read topics they like* (not brands) and don’t come back… *Choice of what to read has shifted from editors to readers. Sources: Chartbeat, Understanding Social Sources, Oct 2013, Pew Research: The Role of News on Facebook, October 2013
  19. 19. And most people still don’t even get their news online.
  20. 20. -So social media does present a new channel for distributing traditional news (20% of online news traffic) -But distribution is driven more by what people like than what editors choose -And distribution of traditional news is only part of what social media does
  21. 21. What social media means for news, Take 2: -A new source of news
  22. 22. Easy Story-- -Vegetable cart repossessed by policewoman -Self immolation (Dec. 17, 2012)) -Family protests (Dec. 18), posts videos on Facebook -”We are all Bouazizi” goes viral -Ben Ali leaves Tunisia (January 13, 2012 ) -Arab Spring
  23. 23. Actual Story: Credit: Ethan Zuckerman
  24. 24. • No traditional editors initiated this story • No traditional means could stop this story (eg Gafsa) • But “going viral” required much more than just Facebook.
  25. 25. Social media = new currency (literally) Caroline Criado Perez: 1 Bank of England: 0
  26. 26. What social media means for news, Take 3: -A new model of news
  27. 27. Social media (and the internet) are making startups rethink news model Mission/Brand Create Distribute Consume 32
  28. 28. You (the people) can now consume, create & distribute Consume Create Distribute 33
  29. 29. New news orgs built on social media Majority of traffic from FB ~100% local news -Fastest growing digital news site ever -Built to share FB traffic = Google traffic User base = Authors -Majority of traffic from Pinterest -Articles optimized to be pinned
  30. 30. People like to share real news Source: PolicyMic/KnightFoundation The 15 most shared stories on Monday , June 2013
  31. 31. Key questions for KF: ? What kind of news will news orgs built around social media make? Is some news being left behind? What is social media news better at? What do people need to know?

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