Though the news about Circa shuttering its editorial efforts had been an open secret for a few hours prior to the official announcement from its CEO and co-founder Matt Galligan – and had been trailed for the days prior to that – it was still news that elicited a wide variety of responses, from the inevitable ‘I told you so’s to the more considered responses:
In his post on Medium, Galligan says that: “Our mission was always to create a news company where factual, unbiased, and succinct information could be found. In doing so we recognized that building a revenue stream for such a mission would take some time and chose to rely on venture capital to sustain. Our ongoing plan was to monetize Circa News through the building of a strategy we had spent a long time developing but unfortunately we were unable to close a significant investment prior to becoming resource constrained.”
So, while it’s certainly sad that Circa’s approach to news delivery wasn’t enough to see it through, as cooler heads have pointed out, it’s very rarely a single innovation that enables ‘the future’ of any industry to arrive. Instead, it’s a combination of more than one innovation that enables a gradual shift rather than a lurching step change. While editorially Circa may be dead, the desire for innovation in journalism will necessarily continue.
Moviepilot – self-described as ‘the world’s best place for fans to talk about movies’ – isn’t exactly the most niche brand in the world, despite the protestations of its CEO Tobias Bauckhage. It doesn’t focus on any one genre to the exclusion of others, nor is it especially inside-baseball about the film industry. And yet, as reported by Digiday, the site is already seeking to wean itself from its dependence upon Facebook, from which it sees 80 percent of its traffic:
“Today, Facebook incentivizes articles that are highly shared, said…Bauckhage. That favors broadly popular articles, but Moviepilot’s bread and butter is niche content that appeals to rabid fans of, say, horror movies but doesn’t necessarily lend itself to sharing”. And yet there are many more niche sites that simply will never appear on most people’s Facebook news feed since niche content by definition won’t ever find such a wide audience.
So does that mean that niche news sites, whose audiences are more likely to have discovered them through search rather than social, are less susceptible to Facebook’s algorithm changes than the larger, generic news organisations? Possibly. And if, as the Digiday article suggests, there’s a fundamental shift away from raw traffic numbers towards engagement when it comes to determining the value of advertising, niche sites might be a much safer bet than larger news organisations in the near future.
Indie labels signing onto Apple Music: After the lightning-fast furore over indie artists on Apple’s music service, settled by a decisive blow from Taylor Swift, indie labels have begun signing up.
How news organisations should best use social data: …for creating “must-read” content, at least. Via business2community.
Vice and Unilever team up for launch of female-focused channel: The Guardian’s Mark Sweney on the new collaboration between Vice and Unilever.
The above articles are original TheMediaBriefing analysis, and initially published in our daily morning newsletter.
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