Five key media tech trends from March

Facebook in the news

Facebook continued to dominate both the business and consumer headlines in March, as coverage around the the Cambridge Analytica data breach grew larger. Data from 50 million user accounts is now believed to have been harvested, with the information being used to target voters in Steve Bannon’s 2016 Presidential campaign for Donald Trump. Former Cambridge Analytica researcher, Christopher Wylie, went public with the story, sitting before a UK parliamentary select committee and highlighting that the UK referendum on EU membership is likely to have been interfered with in the same way. Mark Zuckerberg declined the UK’s invitation to testify, but says he will do so in front of US Congress instead.

For Facebook of course, this is not good news. Stock has plummeted from a high of US $193.09 at the beginning of Feb to $155.33 at the end of March. High profile Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted that Facebook ‘gives me the willies’ and pulled the Tesla and SpaceX pages from the platform. All around the world the #DeleteFacebook hashtag has been trending, and Mark Zuckerberg’s public apology on the subject has so far not been enough to quell both political and consumer unrest.


NME ceases print edition

Time Inc. UK announced at the beginning of March that 66 year old magazine New Musical Express would cease to operate as a print title. Despite the fact that the publisher has also outlined plans to ramp up the digital footprint of the brand, the decision was still met with sadness, highlighting the enduring audience relationship with printed magazines. Paul Cheal, the UK group managing director, music, at Time Inc. said: “It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand.”

The move comes on the back of the sale of Time Inc. UK to UK-headquartered private equality group Epiris LLP in February of this year. In 2015, the magazine was switched to a freely distributed ad-funded title in an attempt to bolster its flagging circulation. It is now believed that Time is consulting with the NME’s 23 editorial and commercial staff about possible redundancies.


NME ()


Digital Innovators’ Summit

The 2018 Digital Innovators’ Summit (DIS) was held in Berlin in March, with 500+ delegates attending from countries all over the world. With speakers ranging from BBC and The Economist to Google and Facebook, the programme was hugely well received and took as one of its key themes the pivot away from advertising towards more user funded models of media currently taking place in the industry today. This included a frank on-stage conversation between Jesper Doub, managing director at Spiegel Online and publishing director at Spiegel Verlag and Guido Bülow, strategic partner manager at Facebook, who told attendees: “Subscription business is very important to us. We feel it’s important to support publishers building relationships with readers.”

More from DIS 2018:

Download the speaker presentations | See the videos | Check out the photos

Lucy Rohr The Economist ()


BBC appoints commissioning editor for podcasts

The BBC has appointed former Guardian head of audio, Jason Phipps, as its first ever commissioning editor for podcasts. Phipps has headed up The Guardian’s audio team since 2014, looking after podcasts produced by the publisher in London, the US and Australia. It’s an interesting move for the corporation at a time when the appetite for podcast content appears to be be on the rise globally. According to Nielsen’s newest figures, the number of avid US podcast fans has risen from 13 million in the fall of 2016 to 16 million in the same period of 2017, and further research has shown that they are a pretty effective advertising medium, measured by lift in purchasing intent


Podcast article header ()



Twitter bans cryptocurrency ads

Twitter took its own decision to impose a ban on crypto ads in March, following moves by Google and Facebook earlier this year. LinkedIn is blocking crypto-related ads, according to a recent report in The Independent, while Snapchat has begun blocking initial coin offerings (ICOs). The recent explosion in cryptocurrencies appears to have left regulators behind, and at a recent G20 meeting, nation states failed to agree on specific regulatory action. Twitter’s action reflects growing concerns about the dangers of cryptocurrencies, and a wish by large online platforms to distance themselves from the potential negative implications they can bring.


Ethereum Bitcoin ()


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