Benedict Evans just wrote up a longer post about the slide from his Summer Update that I highlighted in my last link roundup:

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He makes two great points about TikTok: 1) The U.S. should be thinking about it in the same way Europeans have thought about Facebook/Google/Apple for years; and 2) it’s just the first of what will surely be many dominant non-U.S. owned apps the wrestle with:

There are all sorts of issues with the ways that the US government has addressed Tiktok in 2020, but the most fundamental, I think, is that it has acted as though this is a one-off, rather than understanding that this is the new normal — there will be hundreds more of these. You can’t one-at-a-time this — you need a systematic, repeatable approach. …

This week: The paper that ate the internet.

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So my theory about the digital success of the New York Times goes something like this: It’s the paper that ate the internet. What is the Opinion section if not just a well-edited version of Thought Catalog, with more famous names? Some other recent points to bolster that argument:

  • Starting Trouble With Times Media Columnist Ben Smith (New York)
    I don’t totally get why Ben left BuzzFeed for the Times, but his new job seems like it’s incredibly fun and he’s perfectly suited for it. The same energy that now drives his column was what turned BuzzFeed News into a player, and it’s 100% an internet approach. …

This story today from the CJR, I think, spells out the end of the TikTok sale saga: China throws a wrench into TikTok acquisition plans

The key piece is this:

[Sale] plans hit a rather large roadblock this week after the Chinese government issued new restrictions on the sale or export of artificial-intelligence software. The “secret sauce” for the app is the algorithmic recommendation engine that decides which videos to show new users, and analysts say if ByteDance is prevented from including it as part of a sale, then interest in the acquisition could dry up

Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, is essentially an AI company. The products they’ve spun up — Toutiao, Douyin/TikTok, Xigua — are different versions of a platform that serves content to users via an algorithm. As opposed to Facebook or other social media services, though, none of Bytedance’s products rely on creating a social graph to power recommendations. …

Podcasts and Condé and streaming, oh my — in this week’s edition of i18n.

Happy Sunday evening! Things on my reading list or on my mind from the last few weeks:


  1. There are something like 850,000 podcasts in this world of ours. That is SO MANY. (Digiday)
  2. There were 646,000 shows available on streaming platforms in the U.S. in 2019 (Axios)


If you work in media and need to read something to make you feel very angry, well, I’ve got the links for you!

  • The Chaos at Condé Nast (New York Times) — In which many of the most famous editors of the pre-internet era reveal their substance abuse and general incompetence. …

Big news in Japan, plus a summer Fulbright trip to Berlin.

👋 Welcome to the latest edition of i18n, a semi-regular round up of links, GIFs and other HTML of note about global digital media.


Big news from Japan: LINE and Yahoo! Japan are working on a merger. The new company would be massive, covering over 100 million users in Japan, immediately becoming the largest mobile payment and social media app in the country, and paving the way for it to become a “super app” along the lines of WeChat in China. (Nikkei)

Two interesting recent notes on Tik Tok:

1. The U.S …

Welcome to this week’s installment of i18n, a newsletter of links, images and other HTML of note about trends and ideas in global digital media.

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HuffPost recently hired Louise Roug, formerly Politico’s Europe editor, to be their new international director as the company enters a new phase with its global newsroom. “We want to knit [the newsrooms] more together,” says HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen, “but without losing that local touch particular to each market.” Roug starts May 30 and has her work cut out for her — there are 17 different international editions under HuffPost’s umbrella.

Verne is one of the best digital publications in Spain. In Nieman Lab, Mariana Marcaletti (a former BuzzFeeder — hi Mariana!) lays out how El Pais, which owns Verne, has used the site as an R&D lab to learn more about the web and digital publishing.

Welcome to this week’s installment of i18n, a newsletter of links, images and other HTML of note about trends and ideas in global digital media.

🌍 🌎 🌏


Google recently announced it’s going to start using its Neural Machine Translation technology to allow users to easily translate between English and India’s nine other most commonly used languages — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujrati, Punjabi, Malayalam and Kannada. LINK

In Malaysia, the government is considering taking legal action against WhatsApp group admins who don’t curb the spread of fake news. LINK

On Friday, Russia blocked the Chinese app WeChat, reportedly for failing to supply the correct contact info to the Russian communications watchdog. LINK

An interesting interview from Nieman Lab: Scandinavian publisher Schibsted recently created a new editorial product team focused entirely on innovative formats, including a big focus on personalization.

Welcome to this week’s installment of i18n, a newsletter of links, images and other HTML of note about trends and ideas in global digital media.

Greetings, friends. I’m writing from the Munich airport, which is probably my favorite in the world — they have startlingly fast free wifi and give out coffee and tea. I’m on a layover, flying home from a week with the BuzzFeed India team in Mumbai, where I was again struck by how different the Indian media landscape is from the rest of the world — ad spending in all traditional forms of media (print, TV, radio) is set to have modest-to-good growth this year; at the same time, it’s one of the fastest-growing digital ad markets in the world. The traditional companies are massive yet don’t create much in the way of original digital content; meanwhile, a number of interesting digital players have emerged, from local news site Scroll and viral site ScoopWhoop to global publishers investing locally like HuffPost and Vice. …


The Chinese news app Toutaio just raised a $1 billion round of investment, from Sequoia Capital and others, and is now valued at $11 billion, making it one of China’s largest media companies. LINK

Really interesting: Fang Wang, head of video for the FT’s presence in China (FTChinese.com), explained to the audience at the International Journalism Festival in Italy earlier this month how digital censorship in China has grown far more sophisticated and subtle. While it used to be that the only way to shut down a story was to restrict access to an entire site, “gradually the technology developed and allowed the denial of access to certain stories or a particular channel, while keeping the home page of a news outlet online. …

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The Washington Post is licensing its digital publishing software, called Arc, to the Los Angeles Times and a number of other U.S. publications owned by Tronc, Inc.; the Post will also eventually make Arc available to any publisher via a self-service platform. LINK

International digital business publication Quartz announced earlier this week that they’re profitable, four years after launching. LINK

A global study on women in senior management by Grant Thornton shows that only one in four senior roles in business are held by women, and that developing countries continue to lead the way on gender equity in management roles, with many major economies far behind.



Links, GIFs and other HTML about global media.

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