Facebook is in talks with “at least half a dozen” media companies including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and The National Geographic to publish their content directly to the platform, according to The New York Times.
The idea is that publishers’ contents would load quicker for users — particularly on mobile — inside Facebook’s platform, rather than users clicking on a link to an external website and waiting for it to load.
Details of how the “new format” will look and work are scant in The New York Times report, but publishers may also be looking to Facebook’s 1.4 billion active users as a way to open up their content to new audiences: Audiences which have become accustomed to checking the platform several times a day.
However, as The New York Times points out, hosting content directly on Facebook would likely result in at least some lack of control for those publishers: They would need to share any associated advertising revenue with Facebook and data on their audiences would likely be less rich than the analytics they use on their own platforms — particularly on sites like The New York Times which requires user registration and payment to read more than a certain amount of articles each month.
When news of the direct-to-Facebook publishing plan first emerged last October, Chris Duncan, the chief marketing officer of the biggest newspaper publisher in the UK, News UK, described the idea as a “tax on navigation” and a “tax on audience.” He said while it might be an option for smaller, or regional publications with modest circulations, for big titles it would be like “handing over the keys to all the things digital publishers are good at.”
However, it seems other publications are taking a different view and have become more open to diversifying where their content is published — even if that means readers are not coming to their sites directly. Take Snapchat’s new Discover service for example, which has signed up major content partners to publish daily including The Daily Mail, Vice, and CNN.
As Will Hayward, the former BuzzFeed European vice president tweeted:
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