Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Facebook’s about to launch its news subscriptions initiative. The New York Times is reportedly sitting out; The Washington Post is in"

From Nieman Lab:
Facebook is trying to climb out of a maelstrom of bad PR.

It’s turning over several thousand Russia-linked political posts to Congressional investigators. The president is now unhappy with the platform: Facebook has “always been anti-Trump,” Donald Trump whined on Twitter on Wednesday. (Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a response that Facebook is doing it right, because both sides are angry at it, OK?!)

Amid all that, the social media giant is about to launch its new subscriptions initiative, after Zuckerberg himself confirmed last month that Facebook would start testing it with a “small group of U.S. and European publishers.” The program will allow readers to subscribe to these news organizations directly through Facebook — Facebook won’t be taking a cut — and is reportedly launching sometime this week, according to analyst Ken Doctor.

Who are these participating publishers? Many prominent news outlets have already pulled their work from Facebook’s much-touted Instant Articles. The New York Times, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal owner News Corp are reportedly instead in talks with Facebook’s partner-in-duopoly Google to improve targeting of their subscription services. From Doctor’s reporting in The Street:
Among those not participating in this first phase of the program: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, I’ve learned. All three continue to talk with Facebook, urging more flexibility in Facebook’s approach — while taking their wish list to Facebook’s now archenemy, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, asking that platform to use its artificial intelligence in better targeting and converting subscription prospects. Those three global publishing giants are among the digital subscription leaders, making their absence from the program high-profile.
The other notable test partners will reportedly be The Washington Post, The Economist, and news outlets from two U.S. newspaper chains, Tronc and Hearst....MORE