‘The Facebook Times?’: Facebook to Host Original News Content
The newest evolution in news may be right around the corner. Over the years, we’ve documented media changes, saw the dominance of digital and the permeance of social media. Now, Facebook is reportedly moving close to a deal with news sites The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic to host their original content within Facebook’s site.
Why? It’s a clever move to keep people using Facebook more frequently and add additional revenue.
Putting the news where people gather the most is a smart move. It satisfies users looking to get everything in one place, without having to visit external sources, creating a better user experience. The benefit for news consumers is clear – but what about the news outlets?
According to social media expert Ken Wisnefski, traffic to the news sites may decrease, but consumption of stories in the newsfeed will increase and of course, revenue from the deal and ads that run alongside the content are a possibility.
“The worry for publishers is that Facebook has the power to decide what shows up inside people’s feed and can simply tweak an algorithm and a site can get significantly less traffic,” Ken says. “From Facebook’s angle, there’s no incentive to show stories that take people away from Facebook.”
There’s no evidence yet if local or niche news sites will be included in the hosted content at some point. But if advertising options are offered alongside the native content, it may be an advantage for those willing to pay to align their brands with those audiences.
Social news revolution?
The media are no strangers to mobile-optimized sites or apps, but even news-centric apps that bring in news from many sources such as Flipboard struggle to keep people engaged on the go. Recently, media outlets have been posting videos natively to Facebook with 30-second or less recaps of the news of the day. The strong performance of these helps prove that many adults prefer to get news on social networks now. That number will likely continue to rise.
But is Facebook the best network for this initiative? Other networks have toyed with hosting news, most notably, Snapchat. Publishers like People, CNN and National Geographic are publishing Snapchat “stories” that recap popular articles which users can view by choosing which story to read with a simple swipe. The story timeline is animated and entices users to view more.
“I think it’s feasible that this model could move to other social media networks,” Ken adds. “But between Facebook’s massive user base of 1.4 billion people, its knowledge about all those users, and its easy to use, easy to share format and the widest demographic, Facebook definitely has an advantage.”
Landing a story in a publication that’s featured in this Facebook hosted content could prove lucrative for PR pros, but as far as we can observe, this doesn’t affect the news cycle or change the way outreach should be conducted.
Ken is the founder and CEO of leading internet marketer, WebiMax and has been featured on MSNBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox News, and Fox Business to discuss marketing, technology, social media and e-commerce.
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