President Donald Trump is prompting a tirade against media outlets. Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are clamoring for user attention and advertiser dollars in part by tying exclusive and extensive partnerships.
It’s a confusing time to be a publisher as they wonder where best to place and how to format stories and, of course, whether or not everything is fact or an “alternative fact.”
Mike McCue is one of those tech leaders hoping to assist publishers with their storytelling and their finances. His app Flipboard provides an audience of 100 million active users and a magazine-like format for mobile, tablet and desktop.
Speaking with Mashable‘s BizPlease podcast, McCue shared what he viewed as the pros and cons of mobile publishing, how people are consuming the news and what he envisions for the future of online journalism.
“We’re living in a time right now that is highly disruptive and somewhat disorienting but also at the same time quite hopeful,” McCue told Mashable. “I think there are some great examples of success that are happening.
“There’s no question there are challenges, but the future is quite bright.”
One of the biggest hurdles, McCue noted, is stable advertising.
“The ads that we see today are heavily geared around clicks. A friend of mine calls it the forced attention economy,” McCue said.
Indeed, new digital outlet Medium recently had layoffs, admitting its struggle to create a sustainable advertising model despite having a quality reading experience.
Medium founder Ev Williams “is a very thoughtful guy and I think the world of him. He and I both believe that great stories move the world. He’s built a great platform for creating and hosting those stories,” McCue said.
But when it comes to good advertising, print can still win out. For magazines “the ads are part of the experience, and that experience hasn’t translated yet to digital,” McCue said.
Though Flipboard — not unlike Apple News, Snapchat Discover, Facebook Paper (RIP) – is taking a page from magazines. Unlike Snapchat where publishers must create exclusive content, Flipboard creates the mobile formatting from traditional web designs in addition to offering a revenue share from digital ads.
Flipboard also fills a digital gap in news consumption by focusing on topic-based feeds rather than an endless, randomized stream.
But isn’t everyone just consuming videos, not flipping through magazines? Not quite, McCue said.