Week Kick-off: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, so let’s unwrap the media present!

From Australia to New Zealand, across Africa, and beyond… we’re looking all over the world in this week’s kick-off, but there’s not a semiconductor in sight. That doesn’t appear to be a problem at The New Yorker, which has published a great long read on the history of magazines as ‘the analog Internet’, to coincide with a new exhibition on the printed page at the Grolier Club. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift… so let’s unwrap the media present!

Facebook gets Stuffed in New Zealand

By now we’re all aware of the fact that Australia’s much talked about ‘pay your publishers law’ was finally passed last week. But interestingly also just across the water in New Zealand, we saw Sinead Boucher, the CEO and Owner of Stuff, sit down with Meera Selva of the Reuters Institute and explain the news media company’s own reasoning for parting ways with Facebook last year.

In a candid interview, Boucher talks about the direct traffic impact that leaving Facebook has had on Stuff, as well as its reasoning behind withdrawing from the platform, firstly as an advertiser and secondly from posting altogether. Particularly interesting, is her consideration of what a news publisher leaving a platform like Facebook means at the current time, in terms of helping to disseminate real Covid and vaccine journalism in the battle against fake news amongst key demographics. You can view the interview in full, along with FIPP’s round-up, here.

Netflix invests in Africa

If Facebook is a company under fire for not substantially funding its content, then Netflix is certainly working hard to demonstrate the opposite. Dean Garfield, Vice President of Public Policy for Netflix, joined a virtual Africa Soft Power Project event last week, on a panel that also included representatives from the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the Africa Investment Forum (AIF). At one point, Garfield told the latter: “One of my key action items coming out of this conversation is to make sure that I follow up with you and figure out how we can learn more and partner with the AIF.”

It was an interesting discussion, that cemented Netflix’s commitment to the region, and explored opportunities and challenges surrounding issues like data pricing, payment methods, and the search for consistent intellectual property legislation across a continent made up of 55 different countries. Again you can view the event in full, as well as the FIPP round-up, here.

The curious case of semiconductors

Last week, Sony announced a sparkling new VR headset for the PlayStation 5, which the Guardian reports as representing a renewed commitment to virtual reality by the company. Only problem is, there don’t appear to be enough semiconductors in the WORLD right now, to produce enough PlayStation 5’s, to meet global demand for the new console.

And it’s not just the PlayStation. Semiconductors are vital components of the technology that we see all around us these days, from cars, to phones, to medical equipment and beyond. So serious has the shortage become, that last week US President, Joe Biden, signed an executive order aimed at strengthening semiconductor supply chains. Of course for us media folks things aren’t so bad, we can always just switch our content back to the printed page – you’ll have to write it with a quill though! ✍️

The New Yorker on The Grolier Club

And sticking with the shift back from digital to analogue, there’s a great long(ish) read in The New Yorker at present, which takes a look at the history of magazines and in-turn the importance of magazines as a record of history. The piece was sparked by the City’s Grolier Club, which is currently housing an exhibition that looks at how magazines have both driven and reflected the American experience.

“The best way to think about magazines is as the analog Internet—they’d foster communities of people, just like on social networks,” Steven Lomazow told the publication, having created the exhibition from his personal collection of more than eighty-three thousand magazine issues. ‘What’s exciting about the Grolier exhibition,’ the article goes onto say, ‘isn’t how much it makes visible, but the way it packs three hundred years of shared American past into one room.’ You can read the piece in full here.

As for FIPP…

For us it’s not only a new week, but also the beginning of the month of March, which can mean only one thing… The Digital Innovators Summit (DIS) is upon us! The event is of course a – what else, digital – one this year and we kick off next Tuesday 9th March. This year’s DIS is FREE to FIPP members, and just €99 for non-members. All attendees also receive the Innovation 2021 book, and you can find out all the details here.

We’ll also be making last week’s FIPP Insider webinar on Gen X, Y, and Z available to view this week, which you can find out more about here.

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