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The iTunes of the Publishing Industry

Google has historically been pegged as an enemy to the publishing industry for distributing articles free of charge. Despite this, publishers remain stuck in a relationship with search engines who act as facilitators'connecting readers to appropriate content.

On the one hand, Google and other engines are a critical source of promotion. On the other, a lot of the time, Google (rather than the publisher's website) is the final destination for consumption.

Last year, News Corp's Rupert Murdoch became so annoyed with search engines (majorly Google) 'stealing'? articles that he threatened to ban The Wall Street Journal from Google's syndication. However, the WSJ derives around 25% of their traffic from Google search, making Rupert's threat apparently empty.

Rupert Murdoch has been proactive in his efforts to monetize digital news. Murdoch's The Times of London has recently, and unexpectedly, put all their content behind a pay wall. After implementing the wall, traffic fell 58% in five weeks.

The jury's still out on whether going all-in was a good strategy for The Times, but now the industry has a test case to study. The Times has created a baseline from which to measure how quickly (or slowly) paid subscription can grow. Already we know that the remaining 33% of their loyal readers have a much higher engagement rate with the digital content, inducing higher conversion and a reason to raise ad rates.

Alternatively, Time is also attempting to 're-train'? readers to pay for news, but by gradually weaning them off free material. Right now, we are seeing a lot of experimentation with different models (e.g.: subscriptions, pay per document, membership portals, etc).

Even though consumers have shown to be willing to pay for other types of digital content (music, video, etc), it has yet to be seen whether they will open their wallets for digital news. Unfortunately, despite the 53% of Americans who consume their news online, only 7% of them claim to be willing to pay for it.

Enter Google. While publications are failing to convert readers on their own, the company sees an opportunity to step in as the facilitator with their newest project, Newspass : a payment system which would allow content creators to charge their readers. The initiative would organize Google News search results by paid and unpaid material. Users would then provide one-click micropayments (through Google Checkout technology) for articles. Logistically, publishers would be able to use a single infrastructure for all channels (Web, mobile, tablet) and consumers would have a single log-in across all platforms. This model would allow both parties flexibility in terms of types of payment (long-term versus one-time). There, of course, will be revenue sharing between Google and the publisher'probably somewhere around 30%.

As long as payment is a friction-less experience (meaning: a quick, single-click process where my payment information can be safely stored), I could imagine using Newspass to purchase online articles.

Do you see Newspass as a viable solution to convert readers into paying customers? Would you use this Google service? Leave your response as a comment.

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This fall, AMP is kicking off its first ever DE&I challenge! We're playing bingo all month long and we invite you to join us. There’s gonna be bingo, there’s gonna be prizes, there’s gonna be education we can use to make our workplace and the world more equitable and inclusive. Get ready to celebrate diversity *and* simultaneously compete with your fellow AMPers for some awesome grand prizes. To play, screenshot the bingo card template in our Fall 2021 DE&I Challenge highlight on our Instagram page, and re-share it to your Instagram Story as you complete challenges. Tag us in pics of you completing challenges for a chance to be featured in our Highlight reel! For recommendations and resources, view our Instagram page and click the link in bio to view the resource list. LINKS: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amp_agency/ Resource list: https://linktr.ee/ampagency We encourage our industry peers to join us in taking on the challenge!

In the world of social media, trends, features, and even platforms can seemingly become a phenomenon overnight. One night, you go to bed after scrolling your Instagram feed, and the next morning you wake up to a brand new, intriguing yet unfamiliar app called TikTok. It doesn't take long for this app to surpass all others as the most downloaded app of all time with over 1 billion active users across the world.  Flash forward to the present day where Instagram - and almost every other popular social platform, for that matter - are scrambling to keep up with this new app. So, what makes TikTok so attractive, and can Instagram compete with their look-a-like competitive feature, IG Reels? Well, let’s dive in!    Why is short-form video so popular all of the sudden?  Before we talk about Reels and TikTok, let’s first address why the short-form video nature of both platforms caught on so quickly. 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The full screen and vertical swipe feed create a frictionless user experience that makes it as easy as possible to enjoy the app.  TikTok’s unique user experience puts short-form video content curated just for you at the center stage, creating a seamless and simple way to enjoy content. On the other hand, Reels is only a feature of Instagram among many others.  Music & Video Editing Tools Due to copyright concerns, Instagram business accounts only have access to Reels’ library of royalty-free tracks, while content creators have access to a larger library full of popular copyrighted music. While Reels does offer video editing tools, they can be tricky to navigate and their filters and effects are not very extensive.  Music and sound are the cornerstones of a TikTok video, and the app has nailed this feature with its extensive library of music and user-generated sounds available to content creators and brands alike. On top of that, TikTok’s video editing features are user-friendly, and they offer a wide variety of filters and video effects.  TikTok is the clear winner when it comes to music and video editing tools given their extensive music and sound library and editing capabilities.  Platform Purpose   Instagram, home of Reels, is a network-oriented app, where users are used to seeing content from people they are familiar with and have chosen to follow. 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Instagram has also shared that content that is visibly recycled from other apps (e.g. contains a TikTok watermark) will also be deprioritized by the algorithm.  Beyond all of the features listed above, TikTok’s arguably largest advantage is its algorithm. The platform’s parent company, ByteDance, has been very transparent about the large investment they made to design the app’s algorithm that picks up on users' personalized interests in record time, contributing to the effortless and enjoyable nature of consuming content on the app.  Overall, TikTok’s algorithm is the first of its kind and unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the social space, which ultimately contributes to its success. We don’t know as much about Instagram’s Reels algorithm, but we can assume it attempts to mimic the TikTok experience while staying true to the app and attempting to keep Reels content unique.     How Brands Can Be Successful on Reels and TikTok To be successful on Reels and TikTok, brand content shouldn’t feel like brand content. Brands need to get scrappy and creative to grab user’s attention and not stand out like a sore thumb among the style of content shared by individual creators. With that in mind, both Reels and TikTok require a unique content strategy within the brand’s larger social strategy. However, that inevitably requires extra time and effort. To decide which of these platforms to begin focusing your efforts on, ask yourself these two questions:  Which platform is your audience on currently?  Which one can you commit to doing consistently?  While there are many benefits of TikTok as discussed above in our comparison of the two platforms, many brands have already established themselves and have grown a following on Instagram, and therefore beginning to utilize Reels has a low barrier to entry. While cross-posting between the two platforms is an option we’ve seen numerous brands take, a carefully thought out strategy for each channel your brand has a presence on is more important than simply having content out there. 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