Big news brings only tiny returns for publishers

Publishers need to find additional sources of revenue and, worryingly, the new generation of so-called “distributed content” services, which held such promise a year ago, are not cutting the mustard. Services such as Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages were supposed to make it easier for publishers to monetise their journalism.

The services give publishers the ability to use the technology companies’ massive scale and reach online to attract new readers and — hopefully — advertising. However, a recent report by Digital Content Next, which represents publishers and media groups including Condé Nast, the Financial Times, NBCUniversal and the New York Times, found that distributed content services were responsible for an average of 14 per cent of publisher revenues in the first half of 2016 — or $7.7m per company.

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