Social Media Sunday: Facebook's 'Instant Articles,' Meerkat Buy-Out Rumors & Twitter's in Big Trouble
This week in social media, Facebook proposes "Instant Articles," a revenue-sharing plan aimed at news sites and publishers that are terrified of Facebook's popularity as a news destination.
Meanwhile, live streaming service Meerkat launched on Android, beating Twitter's Periscope to the punch. And speaking of Twitter, after yet another round of disappointing earnings, the company is at a major crossroads.
It's time for Social Media Sunday!
Could Ad Revenue-Sharing 'Instant Articles' Coax Publishers?
The news business was already devastated by the rise of the Internet. Now, publishers see more people flocking to Facebook to get their daily news fix and are terrified that Mark Zuckerberg's company is going to finish what the Internet started -- demolishing any hope for news sites of keeping readers and ad revenue.
So this week, Facebook -- which is about to pass 1.5 billion active users -- pre-hyped "Instant Articles," an initiative that plans to let publishers keep revenue from certain advertisements displayed on content hosted within Facebook's walls, while speeding up the news reading process for Facebookers.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the initiative would speed up loading times for news content by hosting videos and articles on Facebook's site. In return, Facebook would allow those publishers to keep all of the revenue from ads they sell on their Facebook pages. For Facebook ads, publishers would still keep about 30 percent of the revenue.
The initiative is still in early phases, and it's still yet to be seen if publishers will take the bait, but Buzzfeed, The New York Times, and others are already planning on hosting some of their content on big blue as early as this month.
Meerkat Buyout Rumors
This week, the buzzy real-time live streaming social video startup Meerkat launched its Android app, beating Twitter-owned rival Periscope to potential downloaders yet again.
Given the rivalry between Twitter's subsidiary and Meerkat, some rumors have begun to spread that Facebook has taken an interest in the startup. According to CNBC, Weblogs CEO Jason Calacanis, who claims to have "inside information," said Facebook could buy the hot startup "in the next six months." Facebook has not commented on the rumor.
Of course, Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin may have other plans, and at least as of March was not planning on selling the company any time soon. We'll just have to wait and see whether a few (or more) billion dollars might change his mind, but for now, file this rumor under maybe.
Not Knocked Out Yet, But Down for the Count
Google Plus may be warming up to Twitter -- having filed its first tweet in four years under the official @GooglePlus account this week -- but investors on Wall Street are once again not happy with the 140-character social media network.
But this time, it could mean major changes at Twitter.
This week, according to Slate, an early release of some terrible revenue figures sent Twitter's stock plummeting on Tuesday -- and that was before Twitter's actual, official earnings report was released, which turned out to be even worse.
The revenue shortfall, which was several million off the expected mark, was attributed to Twitter's direct response advertising system -- for example, those annoying sponsored "install this app" tweets you occasionally see -- which underperformed. Guess it turns out no one wants to install an app just because Twitter puts it in their timelines.
Twitter isn't dead yet, but will have to make some significant changes in active user acquisition, ad products, and possibly its leadership. If nothing changes within the company, and anything changes outside of it (like any near-worthy alternative springing up or an established rival moving into Twitter's wheelhouse), Twitter might be sunk for good.
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