Ogilvy: Facebook is the ultimate news gatekeeper

An Ogilvy global study of news media pros found that more believe Facebook is consumers' go-to channel for news, over traditional media sources.

CANNES, FRANCE: Facebook is the number one channel where people consume news, edging out traditional media sources and outpacing other social networks and digital platforms such as Google and Twitter, according to an Ogilvy study released Monday.

Of global respondents, 39% said Facebook is consumers’ go-to channel for news; while 32% said traditional media sources are still the most popular; 15% saw Google as the biggest; and only 4% said the same of Twitter.

Jennifer Risi, worldwide chief communications officer at Ogilvy, explained that Facebook is exposing users to news publications they may not have read otherwise.

"Brands can leverage traditional earned media to reach key audiences like they always have, but they can do it by amplifying it further through social media and influencer engagement for effective comms to drive reputation," Risi said.

On a regional level, however, Facebook was seen as the top place to consume news by 60% of those surveyed in EMEA, and 22% in Asia-Pacific.

"These findings show that traditional media is still probably king in Asia-Pacific," said Risi.

Globally, print media [40%] was viewed as the platform most successful in adapting to the digital world, with slight regional differences among North America [45%], Asia Pacific [43%], and EMEA [32%].

"[Print media] had to be smart and agile about how they were going to respond to changes in dynamics of how people get their news," said Risi. "Traditional outlets are developing digital platforms so they have more ways to build out their content."

One example is The Washington Post’s recently launched daily newsletter, The Finance 202, that focuses on financial and economic policy, examining how the debate in Washington affects the financial industry, investors, and consumers.

The research also found digital platforms, such as live video and podcasts, present the biggest growth opportunity for news organizations to reinvent the standard industry media model.

Journalists worldwide see digital platforms [34%] and smartphones or mobile devices [28%] as avenues to "reimagine news reporting in a mobile era." Technologies such as VR [9%] and AI [7%] have yet to meaningfully resonate with media, the study found.

Risi added that news outlets are more often partnering to create "stronger, richer content for people to consume."

Vanity Fair, Cheddar, and Condé Nast Entertainment, for instance, launched a live weekly half-hour series, "VF Hive on Cheddar," in January. 

"The partnership we are seeing with traditional outlets working together and identifying and creating new online channels like Cheddar is helping to define the next chapter of news," Risi said.

Risi added that she disagrees with the view that traditional media is dying. Rather, she contended that traditional outlets are modernizing and taking advantage of new platforms.

"It isn’t dying; what’s changing is where you actually get it," she said. "The most influential news sources still are the CNNs and Wall Street Journals of the world that drive conversation. And now you don’t have to physically get it on a tablet or newspaper, you actually are getting it through sources like Facebook."

The most effective way to drive brand reputation and influence across all geographies, said those surveyed, is a mix of earned media [40%], social media [27%], and influencer engagement [13%].

The survey of 255 reporters and editors across the North American, Asia-Pacific, and EMEA regions was conducted in April 2017 by Ogilvy Media Influence staff in 22 offices around the globe. The survey assessed new strategies for an increasingly digital world and focused on the sentiments of media professionals who cover a vast range of topics.

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