Friday, November 17, 2017

"Bad news from Mashable, BuzzFeed, and Vice shows times are rough for ad-supported digital media"

We had gathered the three stories with the aim of putting a post together, starting with the Wall Street Journal headline:
BuzzFeed Set to Miss Revenue Target, Signaling Turbulence in Media 
which got me snarking (to myself) "That was the signal? BuzzFeed coming in 20% light in November 2017 was the signal?" which reminded me of a 2013 post "Huffington Post Doesn't Hit the Numbers, Gets a Pass From AOL" which naturally enough led to "Nation’s Journalists Remember Quaint Time When ‘Huffington Post’ Seemed Like Death Of News Industry"* when, thank goodness, NiemanLab staged an intervention before things had spun completely out of control.

From NiemanLab:

The rapid growth of Google and Facebook continues to take its toll on digital media companies.
Thursday was a rough day for digital media. Within hours, a series of reports, some unofficial and others confirmed, underscored a bitter reality that’s become increasingly harder to avoid: Not even the biggest digital media startups are immune from the seismic shifts in digital advertising affecting the whole industry. The upshot: Ad-supported digital media is hard, and getting harder. Meanwhile, the duopoly — Google and Facebook — continue to see their own ad businesses thrive.
Here’s a rundown:

More layoffs at Oath. Early in the day, Digiday’s Lucia Moses reported that Verizon’s Oath, which includes The Huffington Post, AOL, Yahoo, and some ad tech products, was laying off 560 staffers, around 4 percent of the company’s overall headcount. Those cuts were in addition to the 2,100 Verizon laid off when it acquired Yahoo in June.

Mashable sells low. Probably the most brutal news of the day came from The Wall Street Journal, which reported that Mashable, a one-time digital media darling, had agreed to sell itself to Ziff Davis to $50 million. For Mashable, that was a significant haircut from its 2016 valuation of $250 million. The low price suggests that, for potential buyers, digital media is an increasingly uncertain bet....

*Nation’s Journalists Remember Quaint Time When ‘Huffington Post’ Seemed Like Death Of News Industry
NEW YORK—Laughing and smiling as they shared stories with one another about the deep-seated professional concerns they held at the time, the nation’s journalists reminisced Friday about the quaint bygone days when the The Huffington Post seemed like the death of the news industry, sources reported. “Gosh, I remember when The Huffington Post first appeared and its strategy of aggregating sensationalistic content and printing hyper-partisan drivel with no discernible editing or fact-checking seemed like the absolute nadir of this industry, but now, having to compete against sites that peddle wholesale fabrications and being beholden to secret Facebook algorithms that control the dissemination of everything we write, those early HuffPo days actually seem pretty wonderful,” said Reuters reporter Casey Sandoval, who explained....MORE