Facebook is funding 2.5 million euros for a three-month program for US local media to increase their number of digital subscribers.
Facebook is continuing its efforts to give more importance to local news by launching a pilot program for local media. Funded to the tune of $ 3 million (about 2.5 million euros), this "Local News Subscriptions Accelerator" will cover three months and 10 to 15 media US.
Increase digital subscribers
The goal is to help local media participating in this program increase their number of digital subscribers. "Local media publishers tell us that digital subscribers are essential for the long-term sustainability of their business. We know that Facebook is part of their strategy to interest readers and ultimately drive them to a paid subscription, "writes Campbell Brown, director of media partnerships, in a blog post published Feb. 27, 2018.
Tim Griggs, a former New York Times executive, digital publishing specialist, will lead the program. Recognized local media, such as The Boston Globe, The Chigaco Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle are participating in this "accelerator". Their leaders will meet once a month, on three occasions, with "digital subscriber experts" to receive advice. They will also benefit from weekly training on digital subscriptions marketing. Each media will design its own strategic plan, supported by experts.
The launch of this program is clearly linked to Facebook's strategy for 2018, which aims to facilitate access to relevant information based on the location of its users.
"Quality local information"
"This initiative is part of our effort to provide tools and training for newsrooms and journalists, and to ensure that our platform connects people to the quality, trusted and important local information that is most important. for them, "writes Campbell Brown in the statement.
Facebook is also announcing future investments in other organizations and programs to "strengthen and advance the future of journalism".
Several major US national titles have seen their subscriber numbers jump after the election of Donald Trump: the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal now all have more than one million subscribers online .
But the smaller press titles, very numerous in the United States, have not benefited from this "Trump effect" and still struggle to obtain a sufficient number of subscribers to offset the decline in paper sales. It is not surprising that several media have been seduced by Facebook's initiative. However, this may also increase media dependence on the social network, which many have become aware of after the controversial modification of its algorithm.
Facebook is not the only giant on the web to focus on the survival of the press: in October 2017, Google announced its intention to develop new tools to help the press pay to finance.