Crowdsourcing content, collaborating to build trust and bringing EU copyright law into the digital age
Continuing with our bi-weekly news roundup, Caterina Sosso shares the news that caught her eyes over the last two weeks. The news round-up is a way for
the Future Media Lab. team and members of the Future Media Lab. network to share articles about innovations and developments in the media sector,
including references to relevant media policy debates. To get this round-up sent directly to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter!
Here are Caterina's choices for this week:
Google’s Instant App met with hesitation. Google is testing out Instant App, a new type of smartphone application aimed at let you access to an app through a URL, without requiring installation. Instead of downloading the whole app, you will be able to access only to the relevant part of the app you are interested in, while you are still in the browser. The idea is that with Instant Apps publishers will rely less on third party platforms, because users can access to their content directly and get a taste of their app, with the possibility to decide to download it later.
Alex Austin, founder and CEO of Branch Metric, commented that “the impact will only be as significant as the number of companies that adopt the technology, which will determine how much of an impact it will have on the mobile user experience” and in his view the time is not yet ripe for companies to incorporate Instant App.
Crowdsourcing social content. Newsrooms are always trying to maximise their resources. One media outlet, Attn, is getting regular people involved in its Facebook Live strategy: people who are already planning to attend an event are asked by Attn to broadcast for them. This content is then curated by editors in the newsroom. This new way of collecting video suits companies and publishers with small budgets, since it incorporates its audiences into the news gathering process while guaranteeing control over the content that will be live streamed on their social network.
Trying to keep pace in tech-driven world. The media industry has struggled to keep up with digital transformations, with false starts and unsustainable business models holding them back. In a recent article by Alberto Barreiro, Chief Experience Officer at Grupo PRISA, he says that while the media were trying to build their identity online by listening to consumers’ needs, using new tools and creating in-house teams, they also became “un-mediated”: more focused on what consumers expected from them rather than the reason why audiences “establish and maintain a trustful and lasting relation with the news brands”.
Collaboration is king. This year “collaborative European journalism will prevail and scale” according to Adam Thomas, Director of the European Journalism Centre (EJC). Collaboration has the possibility to breed a lot of success, not just for the development of news stories but also for improving the public’s trust in media sources. This was explored at the News Impact Summit, a recent conference in Paris, run by Google News Lab and the EJC. The conference looked at how various tools, innovative reporting formats and research methods could help with coverage of upcoming elections in France, which has been the target of various propaganda sites. An example is the CrossCheck Project, which was announced at the event and whose aim is to help fact check news articles in the run-up to the Presidential Election in France. Google and Facebook are partners on the project, along with 15 other media organizations.
People know their news sources (more or less). Pew Research Center has published a report entitled “How Americans Encounter, Recall and Act Upon Digital News” in which they asked 2000 Americans twice a day if they remembered any news they may have read online, how they had arrived at these articles and if they could remember the source. The results were quite surprising. Respondents were equally likely to get news either by going directly to a website or clicking a link found in their social media feeds, and the majority (56%) remembered the name of the news source. That said, the researchers did say that there could be a potential challenge for news producers when it comes to creating brand awareness for people who come across content serendipitously – via links shared or posted by others.
Are the flaws in Facebook’s metrics changing digital advertising? Last year Facebook came under fire for misrepresenting its ad metrics, which led to an alteration in how video views were calculated. Rather than counting everyone who viewed a video, Facebook only looked at those who viewed videos for less than three seconds. This caused a massive inflation of average viewing time. In Australia, Nielson altered its measurement methodology to include everyone and saw that video streams dropped by 94% over the course of a single month. With ad views – and therefore the effectiveness of video advertising – in question, publishers’ ad-driven model might have to be re-thought.
Copyright in the digital age. On Wednesday 8 February 2017 we hosted a Future Media Lounge session in the European Parliament where the European Commission’s proposal for a directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market was discussed. The event, titled “The Link is Safe: Publishers’ Rights in the Digital Age”, brought together media experts, politicians, and other industry stakeholders. While press publishers argue that the publisher’s right is urgently needed to remain competitive and independently financed and to protect their investment in the original, professional content that underpins the freedom of the press and democracy, some stakeholders see risks for the open internet. You can find a summary of the event here.