But, with so many choices out there, which are best for publishers?
“In 2016, a lot of players are interesting in distributing content, your content,” Hussem said. These include Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, among others.
Apple News, for example, is only available in the US, the UK and Australia, Hussem said. Posting content is free on the platform, but only Apple gets to decide which content is published. If they choose to use Apple News as a sharing platform, publishers can sell advertising on it.
The cons of publishing through Apple News is that they’ve barely any users, Hussem said. “In comparison with Facebook Instant articles, Apple does not allow ad-blockers, and they’ve personalized news based on earlier stories you read.”
Another con, Hussem said, is that Apple News only has three pre cent of the advertising market.
Facebook’s Instant Articles is another sharing platform making headway with magazine publishers.
Facebook wants to have more people spending time with Facebook, Hussem said.
Articles on Facebook Instant Articles are published directly on timelines, so users can read the article without having to leave the app. The interesting thing with Facebook Instant Articles is that it’s fast, very fast. A pro, said Hussem, is that they understand speed is important. A con to Facebook Instant Articles is that Facebook keeps advertising revenue.
Google and Facebook hold the largest share of the advertising market on the Internet, Hussem said. However, publishers have no influence on what happens to their content, there is no paywall and publishers can’t upload branded content.
With Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which launched in February 2016, speed is of the essence. As a sharing platform, Google AMP has already partnered with The Guardian, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Vox, The NYT, and The Wall Street Journal among others.
“It’s available to everybody,” Hussem said. “Articles load 4 times faster than normal articles and don’t use as much data.”
However, Hussem noted, Google AMP’s strategy is yet unclear and they’re still in a testing-phase.
And, then there’s Google Play Newsstand, which was a replacement for Google Currents, and is available on iOS and Android. The platform supports multiple types of digital content, Hussem said.
“A lot of people think if I’m on Google Play, I can’t offer content to everybody, but that is not true. You can have free content available or premium content uploaded with Google Newsstand.”
Google Play Newsstand can be beneficial for publishers. Publishers can sell individual magazine or newspaper issues, or subscriptions. However, as with the other sharing platforms outlined above, there are pros and cons to Google Play Newsstand as well.
Twitter Moments is a sharing platforms publishers might want to delve into. It is the place where news often appears first, Hussem said. “But, it’s not available everywhere. Twitter Moments is currently available in the UK, the US, Australia and Brazil. Twitter Moments launched in Canada in April 2016.”
However, this sharing platform comes with pros and cons as well, Hussem said.
“Twitter Moments hasn’t revealed how successful it is,” he said. “However, Twitter Moments is poorly integrated with the rest of Twitter. The topics aren’t personalised for individual users. And complete articles aren’t available, only 140 character tweets, photos and videos.”
LinkedIn Pulse may be onto something. As a sharing platform, it could be in a position to be the largest business publisher in the world, Hussem said.
The platform delivers relevant content for every user. It had 414 million members in fourth quarter of 2015. Today, they have one million bloggers producing 130,000 articles of content on a weekly basis. However, the app is not yet available in many languages, and the amount of content posted makes it difficult for publishers to stand out.
And finally, the Dutch success story Blendle, a content aggregator dependent on third-party content, launched in 2015. Blendle accomplished what many traditional or legacy publishers are struggling to do: getting a younger target group to pay for content and news.
It may be a sharing platform publishers are interested in, however, they’ve already partnered with The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Financial Times.
“Dutch people were wiling to pay for a single article, everyone was launching at that, saying that’s never going to happen,” Hussem said. ““But it happened. They launched in the Netherlands and Germany.”
As a revenue model, each Blendle article is paid for by users, and 70 per cent goes to the publisher and 30 per cent to Blendle. However, they are not yet profitable, though they’re expected to be in 2017, Hussem said.
With all of these choices, what is a publisher to do? Choose a sharing platform, Hussem said. “Lets try it for a few months and see. Many of the publishers who’ve experimented with sharing platforms, they’ve stayed with them.”
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