Content Brief: platforms are investing in subscription services for publishers and brands, and more content marketing news
Goodbye, July! We thank you for Canada Day and Independence Day as well as the bountiful good weather. In other news, we’d also like to thank you for the great-ish news that came out this month in the world of content, including new subscription services for publishers and brands, and new methods to repackage content. Without further ado, here’s what happened in content marketing this past month.
Platforms invest in subscription services to benefit publishers (and themselves)
Let’s face it, social media platforms are media companies in their own right. Facebook, Twitter, and Google have tense relationships with publishers and brands for a number of reasons, including a lack of transparency, poor editorial decisions, and a monopoly over the market. But recently, it seems like these platforms-turned-media companies have been trying to get more publishers in their corner, with subscription services that just so happen to benefit them, too.
According to TheStreet, Facebook will launch a subscription-based news product in which publishers can add a paywall to their Facebook Instant Articles; beta testing will begin in October. The news comes about a week after news publishers asked Congress for an antitrust exemption to negotiate collectively with platforms like Facebook and Alphabet’s Google, and is seen among the industry as a move to ameliorate frustrated publishers. After a 10-article limit, readers will be required to subscribe to the platform. They will also be directed to the publisher’s site to sign up for a subscription.
On the other end of the spectrum, Twitter is launching a beta version of an experimental, new subscription service that automatically amplifies the tweets your brand is already sending out—for a price. The service is free for 30 days, and after that, the Twitter subscription service charges $99 per month. Essentially, Twitter wants to do the “heavy lifting” of ad specialists by providing these services in-house and helping brands who want more eyeballs in front of their tweets. It appears that Twitter wants to keep this separate from Twitter Ads and general campaign management to add an additional stream of revenue to its business.
In the coming months, expect to see more innovations in tools for publishers and brands that these media companies/platforms can tout as progress. We’ll soon see if these tools are progressive.
Repackaging ads as content
Today’s consumers can detect a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But some publishers are still trying to cut corners.
As The Wall Street Journal reported, publishers like Cheddar and Business Insider are remixing and re-editing TV commercials and marketing videos into shareable video content. The process includes adding some subtitles and music, and then reposting the clip to their own social media accounts. The article claims that consumers may never know the content they are consuming started as an ad.
Because publishers need video in a world dominated by platforms hungry to serve their audience video, using this tactic is understandable. But there are pros and cons:
- Saves production time
- Creates two videos for the price of one
- May be easily recognized
- Is ultimately disingenuous
We’re not advocating for or against reusing ads as videos for content. We’re only insisting that the content be good. Quality, engaging, exciting content is key. We remain skeptical that the footage found in ads could create great content. But then again, prove us wrong!