The News Movement
The News Movement, a media company with an emphasis on social media, is meeting young consumers where they are. The company, which was founded by two former Dow Jones and BBC executives, currently has 64,000 TikTok, 19,300 YouTube, 6,900 Twitter and 5,700 Instagram followers. Most of the audience are very young: people aged under 24 account for more than half of the platform's TikTok and YouTube views (source: Reuters). On TikTok, the platform specialises in short, snappy videos that mix popular culture with sociopolitical events. At the time of writing, a video about the celebrity Lindsay Lohan sits next to a film about world population figures, a high-low mix that is likely to appeal to a younger audience.
Instead of coasting on the success that already made it one of Vox Media’s most successful platforms, The Verge has redesigned its website to appeal to a new generation of readers. Perhaps most remarkably, the editorial team have decided to stop covering the countless minor events that make up a typical news day and instead direct readers to rival publications where they were originally discussed. Rather than spending time writing about Elon Musk’s latest tweet, for example, the team can direct readers to the tweet itself, freeing up time for more meaningful reporting and analysis. By including stories from rival outlets, the website is also becoming a portal to some of the best technology writing across the web, another factor that will encourage readers to return.
It’s a tough time for legacy newspapers and media outlets. Post-truth politics and social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok have profoundly altered the way that we distribute and consume news. What’s more, the 24-hour news cycle has left people feeling tired and disenfranchised, something which we explored in our most recent macrotrend, The Paralysis Paradox.
To regain relevance in the public realm, newspapers will have to address the crisis of trust that afflicts the entire industry. By presenting a range of perspectives across the political and geographical spectrum, Semafor is trying to depolarise the press. With the influence of cancel culture on the decline, a greater desire for conversations across the political divide is growing. In our microtrend, Provocation Platforms, we explore how social media can encourage healthy debate among users.
For many companies, this will require returning to the basics, and reconsidering the primary purpose of news platforms today. By creating a space for rival publications to reach new audiences, The Verge is showing that its greatest point of difference lies in its ability to curate content to craft its own point of view. More companies would benefit from taking a similar approach to competition, especially considering the current media business model incentivises journalists to copy each other by covering the same topics, creating an excess of extremely similar articles.
With widespread subscription fatigue, it would also benefit companies to consider more radical subscription models, especially as the cost of living crisis causes readers to tighten their purse strings. Here, companies have a chance to learn from the rise of Squad Subscriptions, where subscriptions are becoming tools to generate passive income.
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