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Platforms pull back on original content

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill with burn holes and scorch marks.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facing economic headwinds, tech platforms have pulled back on providing financial support for news organizations, studios and individual creators in exchange for content.

Why it matters: Content creators can no longer guarantee receiving checks from platforms and instead must be more strategic about how they monetize themselves.

Driving the news: Snap announced last week it plans to discontinue investments in some Snap Original shows.

  • The company said it will honor recent deals and continue to support its own show, "Good Luck America." But it will stop most new investments.

State of play: Platforms have sought original programming as a way to entice new users and increase engagement, akin to entertainment platforms like Netflix and Hulu.

  • Netflix has decided to cut back on its massive spending on content, however, following its subscriber losses earlier this year.
  • YouTube began to shut down its original production team in January.
  • Meta announced in July it would no longer pay publishers for content in Facebook's News Tab.
  • Substack has scaled back on its upfront payments to writers and other support services, per The Information.

Be smart: Tech platforms like Snap and Meta touted the importance of creators during the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual NewFronts ad presentations earlier this year.

  • That pitch still holds true. These companies are just betting professional content creators will continue to produce for their platforms without as much direct funding.

What to watch: Global regulatory pressure on tech firms to pay media outlets for their content could make efforts to pull back tougher.

  • In the U.S., lawmakers introduced a bill that, if passed, would force tech companies to pay news companies for their content.
  • A similar framework was introduced in Canada earlier this year to force tech firms to negotiate terms with publishers.
  • Both the U.S. and Canada are modeling their efforts after a bargaining code that was passed into law in Australia last year.
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