A look back at some of the moments in the media world that defined the year.
RIP David Carr
The media world lost one of its most influential voices when David Carr, longtime columnist for the New York Times, passed away suddenly on February 12, 2015. He was 58.
photo courtesy of Web Summit
The Last Taboo? Forbes Runs a Native Ad on Its Cover
When Forbes ran a native ad on the cover of its print magazine, it caused a bit of a stir. Isn’t the magazine cover supposed to be the final, ad-free frontier?
Evidently not, but in our initial assessment, we thought the move in itself was pretty harmless. The real story was that Forbes thought sponsored content from one of its brand partners was worthy of spotlighting on its cover at all. If native is going to flourish, all native ads should aspire to the level of editorial value that they could feature on the cover of a respected publication.
Site Attack Doesn’t Silence Alleged Cosby Victims
After its site was brought down by attackers this summer, New York Magazine deftly switched gears and posted these powerful narratives to Tumblr until their site could be restored. The extra bit of effort to deliver a story that had been suppressed for decades made an already poignant moment in publishing that much more resonant.
The Evolution of Instant Articles
The spike in intrigue over Facebook Instant Articles perfectly embodies a tough question publishers have been mulling for years but is no longer avoidable in 2015: at what point do I pull back on trying to pool audiences on my own site and invest more heavily in reaching new audiences where they already congregate?
According to our research, the fervor over Instant Articles died down during the summer, leaving many to wonder if it was getting off to a slow start. Then in September, Facebook added more publishers to Instant Articles, and in October, rolled it out to all iPhone users, which re-ignited interest.
Now it seems Facebook is ready to make its first concession to publishers. After complaints that it was too hard to monetize, Facebook is going to allow more ads to appear in Instant Articles.
What’s next? Ad blockers for Instant Articles?
Collateral damage in the public fallout between Bill Simmons and ESPN? Mere casualty of strategic thinking on their parent company’s part? Whatever the reason, the demise of Grantland marked the departure of some of the best writing on the web. And not just sports writing. Any writing.
After years of watching sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy grow with content first surfaced on its platform, Reddit finally stepped into the ring with a site of its own. Upvoted.com aims to show Reddit’s more flattering side with “best of” content culled directly from its subreddits.
In keeping Upvoted and its flagship platform separate but integrated, Reddit has embarked on an interesting strategy; it allows them to work with advertisers and monetize users (mostly along the lines of sponsored content) without compromising what makes Reddit unique (and terrifying to some) in the first place. With time, connecting the dots between Upvoted and Reddit can help them scale the former and drive adoption of the latter.
The New Gawker?
Reddit wasn’t the only one trying to turn over a new leaf this year.
While Gawker is no stranger to controversy, 2015 was a particularly bumpy ride. After the fallout overs its reporting on a sex scandal this summer, Gawker recently announced more layoffs as it reorganizes its editorial operation and switches focus to politics.
The 2016 election should give them plenty of fodder to test whether the new approach will work.
South Park Weighs in on Ads
You know it’s serious when South Park gets involved.
Similar to John Oliver’s guacamole and Twizzlers moment, South Park concluded its season with a run of episodes skewering ads as a constantly changing enemy slowly but surely taking over the world.
As one character summarized:
And now, the ads have taken the next step in their evolution. They have taken human form. Ads are among us, they could be your friend, your gardener. The ads are trying to wipe us out. The question is … how?”
Who said it never hurts to laugh?
What were the moments in media that stood out to you? Share them with us on Twitter @Outbrain #MediaMoments