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There’s been a great deal of discussion over the past few years about the pros and cons of various acts from countries like Australia, Canada and the UK designed to give publishers negotiating power against tech giants like Google and Facebook. We at Media Voices have fervently argued against ‘link taxes’ and models like those implemented in Australia which have only served to reward the bigger players.
Jonathan Heawood, Executive Director of the Public Interest News Foundation got in touch after a recent episode to explain why he disagreed with our overall dislike of such legislation. In this piece, he sets out an alternative opinion about why the tech giants should be compensating publishers, and which models would work for organisations of all sizes.
He puts forward some very sensible arguments and neatly answers some of the questions we’ve raised before. In short, efforts from governments alone aren’t going to solve the problems. We need a mix of short and long-term fixes which represent the real economic value of the transactions between publishers and platforms.
A really interesting write-up of a presentation at the Media Subscriptions Summit from the INMA’s Greg Piechota who looks at the pace of subscriptions since Covid. The good news is that growth in subs for publishers has actually been linear since 2019. But churn is growing at almost the same rate. He reckons the industry is probably still far away from its peak, and that we need to be even more explicit about the fact that good journalism is expensive and needs reader support.
The BBC’s attempt to emphasise its impartiality by getting into a row with Gary Lineker has had a knock on impact on how much the public trust it, according to the latest Opinium poll. It’s still one of the most trusted providers, but ITV is now in first place. One amusing aside: the poll also revealed 24% think the BBC has a rightwing bias, 21% believe it has a leftwing bias, and 26% think it’s generally neutral. Guess that means they’re pitching it about right, then.
Negative words in news headlines generate more clicks — but sad words are more effective than angry or scary ones
We talked on one of last season’s deep dive episodes about how negative headlines have grown over the past two decades. This Nieman Lab piece looking at a new study of Upworthy headlines shows how just a few emotionally charged words can make the difference between an article going viral or being ignored. It’s not a new finding, but being able to quantify it to this level of precision is really interesting.
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This week we hear from Substack UK’s Head of Writer Partnerships Farrah Storr. Over the past decade she’s worked in leading editorial roles at some of the biggest lifestyle magazines in the UK before leaving ELLE to join the newsletter platform. She tells us about why more mainstream media brands should be investing in Substack, why she doesn’t believe you need a huge profile to start out on the platform, and what problems with the wider internet ecosystem Substack is trying to solve.