Publishers Consciously Uncoupling Content from Brands

instantarticlesLast week we talked about the new digital disruption as Apple and Facebook prep for owning the news stream. As more third party aggregators host the news “in partnership” with traditional news media, publishers are retooling their teams to accommodate.

  1. B. Hebbard likens the current situation to the changes wrought when magazine publishers began to make digital editions of their print titles, and realized that simply posting a PDF replica was not going to cut it. He notes that “native digital editions are very much a designer driver medium” in this article in Talking New Media.

This time around, the change comes as publishers create content outside of their own brand channels.

Hebbard notes that “many publishers strongly believe that as part of their digital publishing initiative, editors will need to decouple content from their brands, posting stories on new digital publishing outlets such as Flipboard, Facebook’s Instant Articles, Apple News, LinkedIn and others. This, too, will require additional work, but this time editors will be front and center.”

So what happens then? As Hebbard asks, “…who is ultimately the publisher when it comes to editorial content appearing in Instant Articles, Apple News, other outlets? Is it Facebook? or the NYT?”

He cites a recent Verge article about DMCA violations on DMCA notices sent to third-party aggregators, not the original producer/publisher. Words like “frivolous” and “ridiculous” are being bandied about, but things get serious pretty quickly when the expensive legal teams get involved.

Will third party aggregators like Apple News or Facebook be held liable for violations, and will they cave in to pressure to avoid legal wrangling? As Hebbard asks, “Will they be more eager to comply and take down the content than a news organization would be?”

It’s a topic worthy of consideration as publishers relinquish control of their content to their digital distribution “partners.”