Media News Update 3 10 2017

Photoillustration of a hand holding a phone with Media News on it.

This is part of a series of briefings made internally by our staff researcher Dakota Sky Bloom and released on our blog.

News & Trends you might have missed:

  • Investigative Journalism as Content Marketing
  • Twitch transforming into “normal” social media
  • Why Snap influencers are jumping ship
  • The Young Turks hit 6 billion views, but their Pluto.tv platform is more interesting
  • Nielsen’s Total Content Ratings Rolls Out

Brands Using Investigative Journalism for Content Marketing

It is a truism in journalism that investigative journalism is both critically important to a functioning democracy, and that no one wants to pay for it. That is being changed as brands trying to promote their products have started funding investigations themselves.

Often the brands hire the branded content units of major outlets like the New York Times or the Telegraph to do the reporting. Amazon, for instance, hired the Guardian’s branded unit to promote a new season of their police drama Bosch by writing “How to Solve A Murder”. It was a series of true-crime articles that went into detail how various key parts of crime-solving (interrogations, cold case breakthroughs, and how cases can get personal) figure into police work. It was incredibly popular and provoked a similarly intense response as normal investigative reporting.

Media ethicists hate the entire idea, as it is not independent. It is also similar, for reference, to how mainstream outlets have been taking investigative reporting produced by partisan reporters(like the Clinton Cash investigations).

Could be an opportunity here to partner with one of these branded content units to make the fictional/entertainment side of a story.

Twitch Adds Social Media-Style Features

Twitch, the video game streaming site owned by Amazon, is turning into a unique social network.

  • Discoverability By Genre: Twitch created channels, groupings of different streamer/influencers by what games & genres they usually play.
  • Algorithmic News Feed: Twitch creating a Facebook-esque news feed, which allows content & influencers to be discovered and go viral much more easily.
  • Non-Game Vlog Content: Twitch added an IRL (In Real Life) section so that streamers can showcase their lives outside video games, allowing vlog-like social interaction and differentiation between different streamer/influencers.
  • Incentivizing Influencers: Twitch added the ability to buy games that the streamer is currently playing from the streamer’s page. If a game is bought from a streamer’s page, the streamer gets a cut. This provides a direct financial incentive to be a streamer/influencer in an ad-lite environment, and provides a friction-free environment for video game purchasing.
  • Chat Client- After buying the gamer-focused messaging platform Curse, Twitch has retooled it into a desktop social messenger. Having their own messaging service completes the stack of social media features.

In essence, Amazon has been quietly building a potent, video-game/esports focused social network that caters to 13-34 males. Going forward, they might participate in the exclusive content wave that is sweeping the industry. Either way, it could be a good service to keep an eye on. 100 million+ users in a focused demographic and entertainment vertical can be quite powerful. Watch this space for another article soon.

Reasons Why Snap Influencers Leave for Instagram

Snap Influencers are jumping ship, mostly to Instagram. Snap has proven remarkably unwilling to work with influencers in almost any capacity. The most persistent problems are as follows:

  • Snapchat has not created the analytic tools that creators rely on to prove their worth; to an extent, Instagram has.
  • Snapchat has been having performance issues on Android (which has a 52% market share in the US, and 82% worldwide). Influencers who want to grow their followings need Android followers too.
  • Instagram Stories have copied enough features that it is a perfectly good substitute for Snapchat, and has four times the number of worldwide users to make growth easier.
  • Snapchat purposely hasn’t been partnering with its influencers and supporting them- it wants to retain the friends-and-family feel that it think will differentiate it from its rivals.

The upshot of this? Snapchat influencers might be willing (or even eager) to work on Instagram based shows and branded campaigns we do, and whoever hiring them would get better analytic results if they did. They might even be easier to convince if it involves helping them shift followers from Snap to Instagram.

Pluto.tv Online Television Opportunities

Pluto.tv is an app-based live television service run by the Young Turks*. It is free, ad-supported, and has dozens of channels. However, most of these channels are centered on a single topic (like Slow TV from Norway), are an already existing online network (Nerdist), or are syndicated from regular TV (a channel of only Fear Factor, only Paramount movies).

Given the presence (or rumored imminence) of tech powerhouses entering the OTT space like YouTube, Verizon, and Facebook, Pluto’s future is far from certain. They did raise $30 million in October, however, which is enough to get them started.

*The Young Turks, which run Pluto, just crossed 6 billions views, 2 billion of which were in 2016 alone. Interesting group to know and be involved with in any case.

Cynopsis on Nielsen’s Total Content Ratings

In a recent Cynopsis roundup- Nielsen has released its Total Content Ratings, using CBS as a guinea pig:

“More Bang for the buck: With Nielsen’s first ever Total Content Ratings, measuring live+35 day viewing across multiple platforms including VOD, TV and DVR, CBS series grew an average of 54% from Live+SD numbers in the first 13 weeks of the 2016-17 season; Big Bang Theory had a 67% boost. The numbers exceed live viewing of CBS series 15 years ago. Digital viewing via the CBS web site, app or streaming service was not included, as those metrics are “still in development.””
This metric has been a long time coming, and had their launch delayed a few times because of errors in the reporting. It is also threatened by Comscore’s competing service, which promises to use a much larger panel than Nielsen can. Given that Nielsen has so often been treated as a necessary evil, what happens when it is no longer necessary?