The digital news landscape has changed dramatically over recent years. Previously, increased interest on the part of readers allowed sites like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post to thrive, as demand for their content made creating more profitable. Social media played a massive role in the success of digital news media, as the sharing of articles and posts by readers enhanced a company’s visibility, often for much less money than traditional advertising mechanisms.
However, the landscape has shifted dramatically. Everything from Facebook’s pledge to focus more on posts from friends and family to rising interest in other mechanisms, like video, is playing a role. Buzzfeed ultimately decided to lay off around 15 percent of their staff as they prepare to adjust their model.
The Rise of the Online Video Star
Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have made posting videos about as easy as possible. As a result, nearly anyone could potentially try their hand at being a star. Plus, the masses were becoming increasingly enamored with video, often favoring it over other mechanisms, like written posts and static images.
As a result, many companies began to pivot, looking for ways to profit in the video category while shifting away from other approaches. This was especially true once the digital news sections of many companies began to become less profitable, decreasing their cost-effectiveness from a business perspective.
Facebook as a Publisher
Many digital news organizations relied on social media to gain readership. Facebook was often a preferred platform, but a variety of revelations – including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and presence of Russian fake news sites – lead many users to doubt the validity of what was being posted. Additionally, Facebook itself was forced to pivot in response, altering what forms of content could be promoted by digital news organizations, limiting organic reach, and changing what users would see on their feeds.
Further, some users began to pull away from platforms like Facebook. They began to doubt the social media giant on a primal level, and that impacted how many people would be exposed to posts from digital news organizations. Others started to question the validity of nearly all digital news sources, as uncertainty about who is fake became an increasing concern.
The changes on Facebook’s side made digital news less profitable, and some digital news organizations ultimately did not survive. Skeptical readers also began pulling away, further harming readership numbers and impacting profits.
Is Digital News in Trouble?
In reality, digital news likely is not in trouble across the board. However, that does not mean companies will not need to change to survive in the shifting landscape, and those who refuse may disappear, either voluntarily or when readership dwindles to a point that they are no longer viable.
Those who change and adapt will likely remain, at least for the next few years. In the end, it is not unlike any other business segment where those who refuse to keep up with the times fade into obscurity while those who embrace the need for change have a chance to remain strong.
If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our expertise can benefit you.