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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - October 2021

Publishers need to get news off Facebook

Publishers need to get off Facebook. Not just for their own sakes, but for everyone's sake. Let me tell you why.

Please note: This article is mainly about the future of the media. If you want an analysis of Facebook itself, I recommend you read Mike Masnick's summary (which is very good).

I'm writing this article in the middle of the "WSJ: Facebook Files", a series of revelations about Facebook based on internal communications that the Wall Street Journal got their hands on... and the whole thing is a bit of a mess.

As a media analyst, it's really difficult to write about this, I think Mike Masnick put it well when he he said:

Basically every day for the past two weeks I've been trying to write an article about the latest fresh hell facing Facebook, but by the time I get anywhere in the article there's a new fresh hell, and I have to start over.

Now, I could spend a lot of time going over this. Some things are of concern, but the news reporting about Instagram has also been misleading about other things. So I will write about some of that in my next newsletter.

Instead, in this article, I want to talk about something different. Let's talk about the work we do as journalists and let's talk about why publishers need to focus their audience away from Facebook.

So many mistakes

Ever since the internet came along, the media has been known as the industry that made every single mistake it possibly could.

I'm going to illustrate it with this graph, which represents the total revenue publishers used to have on average.

So, the first mistake we made, of course, was that we started publishing for free. We did this because everyone else was doing this too, but of course, brands did it because it was a form of marketing, and tech companies did it because they never had any other form of revenue.

This was because, at the time, subscription revenue made up 1/3 of our total revenue.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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