The rapid rise of mobile and social networks has spawned a mad rush by media companies to distribute content on platforms other than their own, yet whether to distribute and where to distribute depend on the publisher’s objectives and context, according to a new report released today by INMA.

“Evaluating Distributed Content in the News Media Ecosystem” is written by Harvard University Nieman Fellow and Polish media executive Grzegorz Piechota.

INMA's newest report is a deep dive into distributed content and what players on both side have to gain and lose.
INMA's newest report is a deep dive into distributed content and what players on both side have to gain and lose.

To retrieve the report:

The report profiles the distributed content platforms that are sweeping the media industry today: Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Apple News, Snapchat Discover, Twitter Moments, and Axel Springer’s Upday.

Yet building on his extensive understanding of the media ecosystem, Piechota urges publishers to ask what their end games are with partnerships as well as their platform strategies — and further layer on top of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The report includes several matrixes that allow publishers to make these evaluations.

Several media companies’ distributed content strategies are profiled, but none as committed as BuzzFeed, which the author holds out as an extreme example from which media companies can benchmark with its 30 platforms for content. Brief profiles of what the Washington Post, Libération, Agora, and Russmedia fill out a distributed content picture.

In the end, Piechota is clear-eyed about the “frenemies” facing news publishers. He holds out as the best risk/reward ratio as Google’s AMP as an open industry standard. Axel Springer’s Upday and Apple News are aggregator apps that are low risk yet also low reward. And he is intrigued by platforms’ host initiatives like Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, and Twitter Moments for their high rewards — yet cautious about high-risk investments.

The new INMA report is available for free to INMA members and available to non-members for US$695 — which includes one year of association membership, all strategic reports in the next year, and access to all INMA content and peer connection tools. 

As a 2016 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Piechota explores the transformation of the media business and the future of work in creative industries while working on a vision of the future news ecosystem. He is a former news editor of Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza and is a member of the INMA Board of Directors.