Aug 22, 2017

The media war for your attention

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

For decades, media has been measured by reach: How many people read the paper, listen to a radio broadcast or watch a show? In the smartphone-dominated world — where any media company can access almost anyone at anytime — the fight is shifting to dominating a person's attention.

Bottom line: "What people want to combine is digital video and TV metrics," says Jane Clarke, Managing Director of The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement. "And the current data sets aren't always clean."

  • Tech companies are crushing media at this game. Most ignore bulk traffic numbers and obsess about daily engagement. This is why they report daily active users instead of monthly unique visitors.
  • Life hacking is the hot trend for feeding addiction. The trick here is elbowing your way into every aspect of a person's life to create an unkickable habit and crank up engagement. Become a utility.The New York Times is focusing its subscription efforts on entities like "Cooking" and "Crosswords," two highly habit-forming topics.Last year, The Washington Post created "Floppy Candidate," an IOS and Android game aimed at attracting younger audiences.Facebook and Amazon are racing into the food delivery market, reaching deeper into consumers' lives.
  • Everyone's investing in binge video: Tech companies are pouring billions of dollars into creating original content to get a piece of binge watching time. At the same time, digital-first media companies, like Buzzfeed and Mashable, are going all in on original shows.

All of this creates a measurement conundrum, especially around video (more on that here). With Amazon, Apple, Facebook and others jumping into the business of original content, there is no way to accurately measure who is watching what, where and for how long. Tech standards for how they measure video consumption are very different from television, and they're often not vetted and verified. Snapchat, for example, measures a video view as any time a video is opened, while Nielsen counts video views on linear (and now digital) TV as active engagement for at least a minute.

Go deeper

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.