Facebook Dives Into Live News; Apple News Plays Favorites

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Live For The Moment

Facebook’s latest TV gambit is paying up for live news. The platform announced a list of news programs for its video hub Watch with talent like Shep Smith of Fox News and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Facebook will pay publishers to produce the shows and allow them to sell mid-roll ads, a model it’s used in the past to get early media traction on products. But Facebook won’t subsidize shows forever, and programs will drop off without audiences large enough for sustainable advertising. “So far, we haven’t seen evidence that this is possible on Facebook, which isn’t yet a proven video destination in the way that YouTube or Netflix are,” writes Recode’s Kurt Wagner. More.

Playing Favorites

Apple News may have a human bias problem. Its editors tend to favor a small group of large news outlets over regional publishers in the US and UK, according to an analysis by the Tow Center. Publishers have warmed to Apple as they lost reach on Facebook. Apple has an uncommon curation process where publishers pitch news items directly to Apple News editors, giving those relationships outsize value. The New York Times appeared in 60% of all US newsletter recommendations from Apple News, while other outlets, including large rivals like the LA Times, represented just 4% of recommendations. On the other hand, Apple’s curation and preference for trusted news is a part of its pitch compared to apps with pay-to-play or free-for-all models that have been swamped with garbage news. Columbia Journalism Review has more.

Defy Payment

The shutdown of Defy Media’s programmatic practice has left publishers grumbling about unpaid bills. Defy Media itself isn’t dead – it still has its core content creation business, writes George Slefo of Ad Age. What irritates publisher partners like Ali Aydar, CEO of Sporcle, is the belief that Defy Media isn’t settling the debts it needs to settle: "Usually, this results from companies going bankrupt,” Aydar said. “In this case, we're not talking about a bankruptcy. They are literally using publishers' earnings for their own purposes." According to Ad Age sources, Defy Media owes pubs “between several hundred dollars and $40,000.” More.

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