Media

Facebook's problems pile up

In September, the Wall Street Journal unveiled many of Facebook's secrets in the Facebook Files investigation. One of those findings relates to the nature of the 2018 algorithm change, which prioritized content from friends and family over the news. That decision has been partly responsible for today's polarization, as it was the germ that created…

M&A and SPACs—how the media sector finally secures funds

The last 12 months have brought significant changes to the financial markets, with the rise of retail investors, the SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) boom, and the merger and acquisitions flow. Those trends have also reached the media industry.  As an introduction, a special purpose acquisition company, also known as a blank-check company, is a…
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Spotify rides the wave of audio news

Spotify’s diversification strategy is finally showing results. The firm has been investing for years in podcasts to move away from its core business, music. So far, the tactic is working. Demand for audio news is still rising, and ads within those podcasts are bringing in revenue. Spotify has become the podcast king in little over…
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Social media wars 2021

It’s been only three years since TikTok landed in the US, and its success is unparalleled. The Chinese ByteDance-owned app garners around 100 million active users in the country, with most of them under the age of 40. With its short videos, its fantastic selection algorithm, and its strategy to increase the duration of the…
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Clubhouse’s death is Twitter’s gain

Despite the hype surrounding Clubhouse earlier this year, the platform is slowly dying in favor of its tech mogul competitors. Its invitation-only structure and its iPhone-based design (at first,) Clubhouse has been a victim of its own success—the app will disappear, but what it brought won’t. And while the app’s numbers become stagnant, the other…
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NFTs or how to collect on the Internet

In March, a new buzzword took hold of social media—non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs, assets verified by blockchain, were suddenly everywhere, and artists were trying to figure out how to take advantage of the wave. Some managed to make eye-popping gains from selling their digital art through NFTs, and soon, media outlets, musicians, and even Jack…
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Native-digital companies in deep trouble

In the early 2000s, a few visionaries set out to launch digital native outlets that would capitalize on the power of the Internet and social media. Today, those same outlets, which depend on digital advertising and virality, are in deep trouble. The latest news comes from the HuffPost, where the newspaper has laid off 47…
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YouTubers go mainstream

Social media entertainers and especially YouTubers have traditionally had loyal fan bases on isolated corners of the Internet. Though very successful on their own channels, they would rarely enter the mainstream realm. That, however, is ending. Factors like the rising popularity of Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch—in February of 2020, Twitch had 3.8 million streamers, while…
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Parler, an online home for conservatives

It's a common catchphrase among the right that the left has captured social media. They argue that the platforms are only banning or tagging content from specific right-wing figures such as President Donald Trump, while not taking issue with leftist commentators. After the defeat of Trump in the elections, millions of users have decided to…
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Spotify's podcast aspirations

After two years of making massive purchases in the podcasting industry, Spotify may be planning to launch a subscription service for podcasts, a step that only a few firms have taken so far. Traditionally, podcasts have been open to consumers, funded mostly by advertisements but not subscriptions. The previous attempts to turn the sector upside…
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The death of Quibi, a six-month-old app

After a six-month run, the streaming service Quibi is shutting down. Its plans thwarted by the pandemic, its numbers in decline, and its shows lacking a loyal following, Quibi—short for Quick Bites—is closed for business. The streaming wars and the pandemic are partly to blame for Quibi's failure, as is the rise of the social…
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Tech companies under the microscope

Last week, the US House Judiciary Committee published the report on tech companies' monopoly in the digital space that we had been expecting since the summer. The report argues in favor of reducing tech companies' power and reexamining the way antitrust laws are understood. However, it does not show a way forward on how to…
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How news outlets impact polarization

Since 2016, one of the main buzzwords in political media has been polarization. Voters have been polarized over various topics, the last one being the Supreme Court nomination, which is palpable when reading the news. But media outlets are not just a reflection of today's polarization; they have played a fundamental role in creating that…
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How the post-truth world led to QAnon

In the last few months, QAnon proponents have gained momentum on social media, with President Donald Trump recently offering encouragement to the theory advocates. QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory concocted in 2017, which argues that there's a deep state working against Trump and his administration. Their statements have no grounding in reality, but they…
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Antitrust measures for the 21st century

On Wednesday July 29, the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google were summoned to a hearing with the House antitrust committee. It turned out to be one of the most critical antitrust events since the 90s Microsoft case. One thing is clear—U.S. politics are finally waking up on the antitrust front after three decades…
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Where did Quibi go wrong?

Three months ago, the streaming service Quibi was launched with some fanfare and we devoted one of our posts to it (read Quibi, the new streaming platform for mobile devices). Its success so far has been quite limited. Its founders have blamed the pandemic for the app’s flop, but its problems may not stop here.…
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The limits of freedom of speech on social media

Amid the pandemic, the police violence, and the riots, President Trump's executive order (EO) against social media companies may have gone unnoticed. On May 28, Trump introduced a rule to limit social media platforms' editorial power after Twitter tagged some of its tweets as "potentially misleading." Although the order will likely be challenged in court,…
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