Apparently, Facebook was out earlier this week. In that six hours it was down it reportedly lost around $79m in ad revenue (with some caveats) and through its own error could well have made the strongest possible argument for the need to break its own companies up from one another. However, as a result of the outage, publishers got an unexpected boost – for a little bit, at least.
OutBrain analysis suggests that publishers saw 40% more traffic during the time that Facebook and its properties were down. I’ve seen this framed as definitive evidence that the social network is bad for publications as a whole – which is certainly true in some ways, and not true in others – but it’s not exactly the whole truth.
In this blogpost, Adam Tinworth argues that what we learned during this outage instead says more about audience habits: “More to the point, the fact that some — but not all — sites benefited from the outage with a surge in traffic shouldn’t be a surprise. Remember: content is no longer scarce, attention is. When a whole bunch of people’s attention suddenly becomes free, it seeks a new outlet.”
I would have headlined this article ‘Is The Athletic running out of track’ instead, but still – this is a great little look at The Athletic’s current issues and its future. The key takeaway is that it seems to be burning through users and that its churn rate is very high, but there’s plenty more insights to dig into here.
By contrast, let’s take a look at the churn rate of Defector in its annual report: “The gross number of people who have ever held a paid subscription to Defector.com is 41k. Net of churned subscribers… we have 36k active subscribers as of September 30, 2021.” It seems like validation of what its VP of revenue and ops Jasper Wang told us back in June.
Finally – as though we don’t enthuse about The Big Issue enough on Media Voices – we love its latest endeavor. Taking advantage of a government-backed scheme, it is now offering disadvantaged young people looking to enter the world of journalism four placements across the print title and bigissue.com. And at London living wage, no less.
This week’s podcast:
This week we hear from Kaya Yurieff, The Information’s Creator Economy Reporter. We talked about how she covers an industry that is so new and sprawling, some of the challenges of being a creator, and how it fits with The Information’s other coverage.
We’ve just opened entries for the third year of the Publisher Podcast Awards. The awards are designed to celebrate the podcasting success of publishers and media organisations, whether they’ve been in the podcasting space a while or have just launched their first one. Entry is free, so have a look at our categories and see if you’ve got anything that could be award-winning!This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: