The Listening Post: Down with aggregators! (And what is an aggregator, anyway?)
The Listening Post is a new weekly blog designed to give our readers a chance to let us know what they think of the Independent’s digital offerings, and highlight some key developments in digital publishing. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
For latecomers, the argument has run thus – print media companies moving online declare their hatred for news aggregators, while simultaneously hoovering up the ad revenue that traffic from news-sifting behemoths like Google News and Reddit send them. Then along comes the Huffington Post, which reprints short summaries of a tremendous amount of other people’s journalism but manually, which feels better for old media titans because at least there’s a human involved and not just some faceless algorithm. Now though, with the Huffpo’s traffic sky-rocketing to a backdrop of a $300m valuation, old media is unhappy – and cue the semantically-confused forces of the internet to propose and support the slightly squiffy proposition that old media is being hypocritical since journalism is basically aggregation anyway (to be clear: it’s not).
And so, in this tornado of disruption and disintermediation and other-terrifying-words-beginning-with-d that have threatened to bump off journalism, the cycle of criticism has been completed – where once we complained about algorithmic aggregators behaving like human editors, now human editors, it’s argued, are nothing more than algorithmic aggregators themselves. Perhaps the future of journalism belongs to the algorithms employing editors to behave like algorithms.
Clearing the Tumbl-weed
The New York Times has jumped into Tumblr this week, joining old media stalwarts like Life, The Atlantic and NPR, with Mark Coatney’s famous Newsweek Tumblr the example to follow (it was so good, in fact, the Coatney got a job at Tumblr himself). From an interview T’s online director Horacio Silva gave to Yahoo:
“It’s a great way of bringing to the surface a lot of these great visuals that for any reason may have been overlooked. We take a very curatorial approach to the editorial decisions we make. I think that aspect lends itself perfectly to Tumblr.”
So far, setting up a Tumblr has looked like too much work to justify for us at the Indy. But what do you think? And would it be called the Tumdependent, on Indepenblr?
Rejoice! Bad things could be three times worse
However bad things might appear for newspapers at the moment, they could be much worse. According to one survey, newspapers are reeling in 3 x as much ad revenue as they deserve. The biggest anomaly, unsurprisingly, is the nascent mobile advertising market, which accounts for just 0.5% of advertising “even though people spend more than 8% of their media time” on the phone.
The Daily fails
It’s not the most accurate measure of its popularity, but Twitter sharing stats from News International’s iPad-only newspaper The Daily have tanked, suggesting its initial honeymoon period may have ended, and a potentially long and loveless marriage has begun. But no matter – all they really need to pick things up are more stories about the richest dog in South Dakota.
And in home news…
There’s always a little wait involved in verifying the website’s figures at the end of each month to see what gets reported by ABCe (a bit like weighing the drivers after an F1 race), but indications are that March was a tremendous month, continuing our very strong growth over the last year (page impressions were up 33% year on year in February, for example). April kicked off in a similar fashion, with our April Fools’ prank having a tremendous impact with 29k Recommendations on Facebook and nearly 1,000 tweets. If you missed it first time, it’s well worth a read now.
Our mobile apps, also, have had a great launch, with some fantastic ratings in their app stores/market/world. Give them a whirl and let us know what you think, and as usual let me know below of any other suggestions for improvements to the Indy’s digital offerings below, on Twitter at @_JackRiley, or by email at j.riley [at] independent.co.ukTagged in: advertising, digital, The Daily, the huffington post, the listening post, the new york times, tumblr
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