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TODD SMITH — Brands benefit from trusted news source partnerships


Reuters called this past year “the year the media became the headline” in the release of its Tomorrow’s News 2017 report. The news publisher surveyed more than 1,700 Reuters.com users in April and May to discuss advertising, awareness and perception of other news websites.

As the news cycle has developed, the study from Reuters has found that news consumers are fact-checking their news stories with other sources more often than before and they’re also more inclined sniff out sensationalism.

Of those surveyed, 57 percent agreed that trustworthy content is the top factor that makes online news brands appealing, and 54 percent believe they are more likely to notice an ad if it appears on a trusted news site.

This study is released two days after a MediaRadar report found conservative-leaning sites like Breitbart has lost 90 percent of their advertisers in the past three months; 242 brands were partnered with Breitbart in March 2017 and that number, according to MediaRadar, fell to 26 brands as of May 2017.

Traffic to Breitbart has also fallen by 13 percent from last year to 10.8 million unique views in April 2017.

Other conservative news sites, such as Townhall, The Blaze and National Review, also saw declines in advertisers, though none as steep of a decline as Breitbart’s.

A large majority of responders to the Reuters survey, 87 percent, agreed that it is damaging for a brand to advertise on a news site associated with a fake news story. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed agreed that they would have a more favorable opinion of a brand if it appeared on a trusted news site. And 83 percent tend to trust well-known news brands and always check the accuracy of shared news from other sources, that’s up 6 percent from 2016.

This is the second year Reuters has conducted the Tomorrow’s News survey across its global users and will be discussed at two separate panels in New York and London.

New York Times’ Reader Center Aims to Connect with Readers

Don’t expect The New York Times new reader center to pick up where the public editor left off.

That’s the word from Hanna Ingber, the editor who was appointed to run the new, reader-focused initiative for The New York Times at the end of last month. Ingber, who was previously an editor on the international desk, now leads a handful of staffers whose mission is to forge stronger connections between the company’s journalism and its consumers.

But it won’t be watchdogging the paper’s journalism or issuing formal responses to reader complaints, Ingber told the Poynter Institute. Although the launch of the reader center coincided with the elimination of Public Editor Liz Spayd, Ingber and her team will not take up Spayd’s public-facing duties.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a reader center Twitter handle, for example, responding to complaints,” Ingber said. “We would, ideally, be helping the desks and helping the standards editor, working behind the scenes and being one of many voices that’s helping sort this out.”

Instead, Ingber’s team will be “a convener,” working with a variety of teams to infuse reader-centered thinking across the newsroom: the standards desk (which issues corrections and editor’s notes), the marketing team (which promotes New York Times initiatives) and the audience development team (which engages with users).

Since the reader center is new, many of the specifics of the initiative are still being hammered out, Ingber said. But underlying all of its efforts will be a focus on bringing readers closer to New York Times journalism.

A recent project saw White House correspondent Mike Shear sending text messages to new subscribers in a reprisal of the paper’s approach to the 2016 Olympics. Ingber and her team still haven’t determined whether the experiment was a success – or even what “success” would look like – but she says readers who received texts from Shear said they felt as if “they were getting digital postcards” from President Trump’s trip abroad.

“We’re also looking at it from a quantitative perspective: How many people signed up who were invited?” Ingber asked. “Did this lead to people reading more New York Times stories? Did this lead them to keep their subscription or not? Did that have any impact or not on whether they stayed a Times subscriber? That’s all to be determined.”

Facebook Working with Publishers on Paid Subscriptions

Facebook is working on plans to let people pay to subscribe to publications through its app by year-end, according to publishers.

Publishers have lobbied Facebook for this since the platform introduced its fast-loading Instant Articles two years ago. Instant Articles was designed to keep people in the app, rather than clicking through to the publisher’s site, where the publisher could offer them subscriptions.

There are a lot of details to be worked out, including what the model would look like, what subscriber data publishers would get and how the revenue would be distributed. Facebook has moved toward a metered model, and while nothing is final, the latest proposal involves a metered model where users could read up to 10 articles for free a month before being required to subscribe. Publishers would be able to decide if each article is subject to that meter, free or behind a hard paywall, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Facebook seems interested in giving publishers more than one option. Initially, it proposed letting users pay one price for access to all publications, like the Netflix model. That raised questions about how publishers would be paid, whether based on time users spend with the publication or the publication’s subscription price. Facebook subsequently proposed a metered model, first with a 20-article limit, then 10. Still, one concern is that publishers wouldn’t be able to tailor offers based on a user’s reading history, as they can on their own site.

Stay tuned!

Golden Mic | Smashville Cashes In on Stanley Cup Run

Smashville is Cashville after the Nashville Predators’ historic Stanley Cup playoff run – which generated more than $50 million for Music City.

For the first time in franchise history, the team sold out all 41 regular season home games and all 11 home playoff games. In addition, the Predators had the most successful ticket sales season and the highest renewal rate to date. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final had average audience of 11.5 million across North America.

During the 2017 playoff run, about $2.7 million was generated for Nashville through ticket, merchandise and concession sales. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final alone generated about $8 million in economic impact, and that game was the most watched Stanley Cup playoff game in North America since Game 6 of 2013 when the Chicago Blackhawks played the Boston Bruins. It pulled a 28.3 rating on NBC – the highest-rated Predators game ever in the Nashville market – and reached a TV audience of 11.5 million across the nation. That’s called striking gold!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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