Facebook has extended an olive branch to newspaper publishers, reaching out to make the relationship between the two media segments more “equitable”, and better understand the struggles of the newspaper industry in the digital age.
Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and company COO Sheryl Sandberg met recently with News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson to assess and improve on the social network’s ability to improve subscriptions from the site.
In an address to the UBS 45th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, Mr Thomson said: “They [Facebook and Google] are very dependent on what we produce and therefore need to recognise that unless there is a more equitable relationship then we’ll have problems.
“I think there was a recognition at the end [of the meeting with Facebook] that for the relationship to be a fruitful one, particularly on subscriptions, something needs to happen because the current model with Facebook is not working.”
This is not the first time Mr Thomson has worked closely with tech giants to improve the conditions for publishers online.
He previously met with Google executives, negotiating the end of the search engine’s “first click free” program. By allowing users to access a series of articles through the sites’ news aggregator, Google News, publishers felt their premium content was being given away without the reward of subscriptions.
Listening to these concerns, Google announced in October that “first click free” would be replaced by “flexible sampling”, providing publishers more control over how much content is provided for free.
Subscriptions have become increasingly more important for publishers as revenue from advertising continues to diminish.
The online duopoly of Google and Facebook has made it more difficult for publishers to attain subscriptions, as the click through nature of the platforms do not give reason for users to subscribe.
“We are building a suite of products and services to help news publishers reach new audiences, drive subscriptions and grow revenue,” said Google’s vice president, news, Richard Gingras in October.
“Since news products and subscription models vary widely, we’re collaborating with publishers around the world on how to build a subscription mechanism that can meet the needs of a diverse array of approaches – to the benefit of the news industry and consumers alike,”
Media’s push for moderation progresses
On the back of renewed ad issues on Google owned site YouTube, the platform announced on Monday that it would increase the number of site moderators to 10,000 in 2018.
It was revealed last month that advertisers’ content was being shown next to paedophilic and violent content aimed at children through the platform’s kids’ app. Advertisers quickly pulled ads from the platform amid brand safety concerns.
“We’re also taking actions to protect advertisers and creators from inappropriate content. We want advertisers to have peace of mind that their ads are running alongside content that reflects their brand’s values,” said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki
“We believe this requires a new approach to advertising on YouTube, carefully considering which channels and videos are eligible for advertising. We are planning to apply stricter criteria, conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should.”
Similar action took place in April with global advertiser backlash as ads were found appearing next to extremist and terrorism material. The so-called “adpocolypse” included Australian brands JB HiFi, Holden, Bunnings Hardware and Nestle.