Only three years ago, the power that technology platforms would gain over news publishing was unimaginable in depth and breadth. Now platforms both increasingly act as publishers and support the entire publishing ecosystem. This dual role marks the beginning of a new phase in the platform-publisher relationship, and a new step in the way platform companies wield their power. The Tow Center’s third report in our Platforms and Publishers project, Platforms and Publishers: The End of an Era, published today, examines publishers’ experiences in tandem with this shift, and what it means for the future of publishing.
Many publishers won’t make it far into this new moment. News organizations have come to learn that the promise of on-platform ad revenue at scale is broken; the outlets most dependent on ad revenue face an especially treacherous transition to financial sustainability. The question publishers face is cruelly simple: How do you get subscriptions, memberships, and other revenue streams flowing before advertising effectively dries up? No platform product can answer it.
The relationship between platforms and publishers has changed rapidly since the Tow Center began researching its implications in 2016. The question of whether platforms act as publishers is no longer widely debated: in March, Google erased that distinction when the company announced that it would create local newsrooms. The first is in Youngstown, Ohio, where the last remaining daily newspaper, the Vindicator, recently went out of business. Google’s newsrooms will be owned and managed by venerable publishing companies
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/tow_center/platforms-publishers-and-the-end-of-scale.php