Media Unmade - Chapter eight: The Invaders and the Independents

In which Facebook and Google begin to make their presence felt; online advertising becomes automated, and new journalism funding models emerge

  
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Welcome to the latest edition of the Unmade podcast. Today’s edition features another free extract from the audio edition of my book, Media Unmade, which is published by Hardie Grant and available online and in book stores.

We’re now into the start of Act 2 - The Reckoning.

Today’s chapter opens up with a cameo from one of the most misunderstood government ministers of recent years, Labor communications minister Stephen Conroy. Having put many of the digerati offside with his attempts to introduce a national internet filter, few took seriously Conroy’s warnings about the darker side of Google and Facebook. Perhaps we should have listened.

Today I recount how the introduction of Facebook’s News Feed in September 2006 changed the nature of social media, before the fast-growing machine pulled the first of many bait-and-switch stunts on marketers, and then nuked publisher traffic. In parallel, Google’s AdSense was on the rise, sowing the seeds of an existential threat for publishers as the company steadily took control every stage of the programatic advertising chain, while CPMs plummeted.

There was also innovation emerging in the publishing sector with a new wave of digital-first startups, and journalists developing new skills around publishing analytics Mia Freedman’s Mamamia signalled a new publishing wave, alongside Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar empire and Wendy Harmer’s failed The Hoopla.

One of the great inventions of the era was Andrew Jaspan’s academia-driven The Conversation, while one of the disappointments was Monica Attard’s The Global Mail. But at least funder Graeme Wood was more succesful second time around, bankrolling The Guardian Australia (with a helping hand from Malcolm Turnbull). And The New Daily was another publication funded in an inventive new way, via the industry super funds.

This chapter also tells the story of the wave of exits including Junkee to Ooh Media; Pedestrian to Nine and Conversant Media to HT&E.


Today’s chapter is free to all subscribers. Some future chapters will only be available only to paying subscribers to Unmade. For just one more day, I’m offering a major discount on a year’s subscription, which is available via the button below. That price will not be repeated.

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Audio production on Media Unmade comes courtesy of Abe’s Audio, the people to talk to about voiceovers, corporate videos and commercials.

As ever, I welcome your thoughts to letters@unmade.media, or via the ugly brown comment button below.

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Have a great Friday.

Toodlepip…

Tim Burrowes

Proprietor - Unmade

letters@unmade.media