DIS 2018: What now with Facebook and the digital media business model?
This included an on-stage conversation between representatives from both sides with Jesper Doub, Managing Director at Spiegel Online and Publishing Director at Spiegel Verlag representing the media view and Guido Bülow, Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook, Germany the Facebook view.
Guido Bülow began by outlining the ways in which Facebook is promoting good quality journalism through its Facebook Journalism Project, aiming to support the collaborative development of news products. The Project provides free training and tools for journalists, hopefully leading to a more informed community.
“Facebook plays a role in the subscription conversion funnel,” he said. “Subscription business is very important to us. We feel it’s important to support publishers building relationships with readers.” He emphasised that Facebook believes in high quality journalism, and has the goal of wanting to grow publisher subscriptions.
Facebook as a (problematic) partner?
Jesper Doub agreed that Facebook could form part of the package for publishers. “The subscription model, while not simple, can indeed be part of the future model for us with Facebook,” he said. Having worked with the Facebook Journalism Project for over a year, he highlighted that one of the biggest demands from publishers from the start was for help. “We wanted Facebook to help us promote paid content, help us get subscribers,” he said. “But I don’t believe paid content is the only way to survive as a publisher.” Jesper also believes that advertising, for publishers with a strong brand, will always be around.