Newsreaders like Feedly have strongly changed the media-usage: Instead of visiting separate web pages, users can subscribe to information on certain topics and read them in an aggregated form on one platform. What interest one, will be consumed. Solely in this case, the customer changes to the publisher’s web page and only then the publisher can generate earnings from advertising.
Facebook has also grown more and more into an integrated newsreader. A big part of Digital-Natives already uses their timeline like a kind of newsreader – and changes to the publisher’s webpage when a content appears interesting enough. However, this change to the publisher’s web page is a thorn in Facebooks side. Their aim is to maximise time a user spends on their platform.
The solution, which shall “glue” users at their own platform, is called Instant Articles. The idea is simple: Instead of posting links to the publisher’s web page, contents are directly integrated in Facebook.
The fact that Publisher are not falling over themselves to integrate their contents is clear to Facebook. Hence, they offer compensation: Money. Facebook proposes a revenue share with the publisher for the revenue which is generated from the integrated contents.
In detail: Revenue from self-advertised contents will remain completely with the publisher. Whereas when Facebooks advertises they still receive 30% of revenues received. A highly interesting offer for publishers since no additional costs are generated (except maybe for the administration / modulation of the articles), since the contents are not separately created for Facebook, but Facebook is only used as an additional platform.
What might seem insignificant at first, can have a radical influence on media use. Facebook users will get used to consuming contents on Facebook. Once accustomed, it will be difficult to lure the users to the publisher’s web page. However, those who will decide against the cooperation with Facebook will have a competitive disadvantage: the users will still get used to consuming content directly on Facebook, and there is not available at all.
Supposedly Facebook is already in negotiations with the New York Times and National Geographic and plans Instant Articles to start shortly. One may be curious which influence this will have on the use of the contents – and how the Publisher decide: for or against Facebook as an additional media platform.
Edit (15.07.2015): Bild.de has published a first Instant Article, as the magazine W&V reported in a rather critical way.
This article was written by Dr. Christoph Mayer, Consultant and Media Specialist at SCHICKLER Media Consultants in Hamburg. It was also published in german language at www.schicklernext.com.