The Splice Slugs: NYT’s restructuring, Facebook earnings, and pivoting to a “newsletter company.”

Here’s your weekly roundup of the biggest trends, threats and tools in media. Pivoting to video since 2015.

Welcome to our new subs from Asian Scientist, SCMP, Waggener Edstrom, NHK, Reuters, Phandeeyar and La Nación (our first from Costa Rica!).

Meet Rishad Patel. I’m so glad he decided to come in as co-founder of (the newly expanded) Splice. Rishad has two decades of experience in media with a focus on design and product. He’ll figure out product and services, and I’ll work on editorial and the other bits of the business (that come up when you least expect!). Go pepper him with your ideas and feedback: rishad@thesplicenewsroom.com. Get him to show you that secret mock of our new website. It’s stunning.

We’re also making a point to “take-the-lid” off our buildout. So we’re putting updates into a change log so you can see what’s being done, week by week. Tell us what you think.

Changes this week:

  • First mock of the site is out the door.
  • Updated our official brand color to #FF2DA1, compliant with #a11y contrast accessibility standards (very proud of that!).
  • We also got a great developer on the team. “So you want to be like De Correspondent,” she said. That did it for me.

See the rest of our week here.


TRANSFORMATIONS

Sentiment at the New York Times is apparently uneasy as the company pushes through a difficult re-org of its newsroom operations. The paper is offering buyouts as it shifts resources to new digital roles, including a reworking of the copy desk workflow. “The mood at the paper is poisonous in a way I’ve never seen it in the past 15 years.”

…Digital revenue continues to grow at NYT, rising 23% to $55 million in Q2. Digital now represents 42% of the paper’s totaladvertising revenue.

The Guardian is adding surveys at the bottom of its articles to understand what additional information readers want. “The data teaches us we shouldn’t make assumptions about reader levels of knowledge. Editors are now treating a story that they might know inside and out much more objectively.”

I love the way Adam Thomas is leading the European Journalism Center through change. He’s flattening the hierarchy and introducing something bold: a transparent salary structure. “Our organization needs the resilience and agility to create new opportunities for journalists in a changing world. To do that, we have to change ourselves.”

GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA

Philippine president Duterte took a swing at Rappler, accusing it of “American ownerships.” Rappler took apart his argument — and fact-checked everything else he said at his State of the Union speech.

MEDIA IN THE LAND OF THE GIANTS

Jeff Jarvis wants media companies to stop “whining” about Google and Facebook. “They competed with us and they gave advertisers a much better deal and a much better sense of their customers. I don’t blame them — we messed that up. We lost the business and that’s our own damn fault.” Damn right.

…Btw, Jarvis was speaking at the launch of the Center of Media Transition at University of Technology Sydney. It’s good to see something like that in the region, although it would be nice to see more people at the intersection of tech and media in its management.

Facebook bought Source3, a company with the right algos to crack down on users who share pirated videos on the platform.Facebook wants to attract premium video publishers, so this is a stepin that direction.

…And it’s clear that original premium video is the company’s top priority. Zuckerberg told analysts that he’s after “incremental” time. The company has been competing against the major TV networks in signing up original videos ahead of the launch of its new service next month.

…And if you missed it: Facebook posted $9.3 billion in revenue for Q2. Eye watering, jaw dropping! But revenue growth continues to slow (hey, it’s still +45% year on year!) in line with Facebook’s warning that it’s running out of space to show ads in your News Feed.

Twitter also filed its earnings report. After a promising start to the year, Twitter added zero new users in Q2. Still, daily active users grew by 12% thanks to some smart tweaks in the product.

…Speaking of engagement, there’s now a dating app for verified Twitter users. Apparently verified people are more interesting. So it’s anyone with a blue tick. Like Trump.

TRENDS

Nielsen started adding YouTube and Hulu numbers to their measurement of TV ratings. It now carries both desktop and mobile metrics from those services.

We’ve seen media companies become creative agencies (think Vice). What does it look like the other way round?

The death of Flash is greatly exaggerated. Adobe says it’ll still support it till 2020. Just kill it already!

BUSINESS MODELS

The Danish news site Føljeton came to realize one thing: Its readers were more interested in its newsletters than the actual site itself. This is how why they’re becoming a “newsletter company.”

Here’s a smart one. Reelgood (reel name!) is a service to help cord cutters find something new to watch. It aggregates shows from over 250 streaming services in one dashboard. This is the TV Guide for the modern age.

TALENT

CrowdTangle (now under Facebook) is looking for someone to build and enhance partnerships with publishers across Asia Pacific and India. The position is based in Singapore. Check it out here.

NOTABLES

I’ve never thought about it but electric cars could soon come with just one pedal. Who needs brakes when you can take your foot off the gas (er, electricity?).

If you think it’s hard speaking Chinese, can you imagine how hard it must be for computers to hold a conversation in Chinese?Here’s why. It’s fascinating.

And Amazon is finally in Singapore. It’s promising free 2-hour delivery as part of its strategy to take on Alibaba.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” 
 — Karen Lamb


From our readers
“The newsletter is great! Very useful and informative for anyone in media and publishing.” — Rebecca Tan, Asian Scientist Magazine


From our partners
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here or get in touch with the publisher Dean Carroll (dean@mumbrella.asia or +65 9296 4242).


About Splice
We’re in the business of media transformation. We believe that the business models of traditional media are broken. We want to help build an ecosystem that develops new ones.

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