Facebook has reportedly been holding talks with some of the biggest media organisations in the world about hosting content on Facebook, rather than forcing users to head to external sites to consume news or entertainment content. With 1.4 billion users, social media is an absolutely vital source of traffic for media publishers, but some experts have warned publishers may not take too kindly to being ‘serfs in a kingdom that Facebook owns’.
Newspapers like the New York Times, which broke the story earlier this week, have spent much of the last decade attempting to find a lucrative business model that no longer relies on obsolete print media. Online-only publications are the way forward, and media organisations are battling it out to see who can come up with the distribution format that will win out – could hosting content on Facebook be the key?
The move certainly represents a risk for news organisations. With online display ads making up a large portion of their profits, news organisations could have to face up to losing colossal amounts of traffic to Facebook. According to well-placed sources around the deal, Facebook is in the process of discussing ways publishers can replace the money from display ads with advertising that would run alongside the content hosted on Facebook.
Whatever the result of the negotiations currently taking place, news organisations must come up with a new way of reaching audiences, now that much of the globe can access instant news from the palm of their hand. Whether Facebook will be their new way of reaching those audiences remains to be seen.