A new buzzword has popped up: distributed content. A new word but basically it’s syndication with a twist and business model. Instead of publishing only on their own websites, news organizations are being asked to publish directly on platforms they don’t control, for example Facebook.
The term “distributed content” was coined last August when Buzzfeed announced a new investment round. Buzzfeed declared that they would start a new department focused on “making original content solely for platforms like Tumblr, Imgur, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and messaging apps.”
Buzzfeed is creating content for other platforms than their own, content which will actually never appear on Buzzfeed.com. This is the differentiator number one “create unique purposed content for other platforms”
Then more companies went on the bandwagon and just recently Facebook unveiled their plans.
But why would a Publisher do this, spend money to drive traffic to other platforms? Well, the short answer is that they need to follow their readers wherever they might go. The longer answer includes a vision, which Sprinkle shares, where a business logic enables Publishers to share content and still monetize it without the interference of “time and space”. It all seems to make sense but there is a huge problem for Publishers, they risk not being able to control the full potential of the monetization of their own content.
Facebook, which is going all in on this and arguing that linking out to news stories provides a bad experience for users, is currently trying to convince news organizations to publish their stories directly on Facebook rather than on their own website.
NiemanLab says it very elegantly:
Facebook colonized the world’s eyeballs some time ago. But the pitch to publishers has changed. It used to be: Spend some time cultivating a following of our network — we’ll send you a ton of traffic. That’s now evolving into: Give up some of your independence and step inside our walls — we promise we’ll make it worth your while.
Sprinkle, and hopefully, the Publisher will not agree.
At Sprinkle labs we’re working very actively creating new tools for Publishers, enabling them to both distribute their content (finding those eyeballs) AND to use their own platforms to do the full monetization.
More info to come soon:)