Alex Webb, Bloomberg:
Consider all the paywalls and paid services that are rolling out across the internet. News, films, music and even theatrical streaming are now available for a subscription fee. The latest example is Twitter Inc., which announced last week that it plans a paid product, dubbed “Super Follows,” where users can charge followers for “premium” tweets and other content.
Why is this?
The move is a way for the company to decrease its dependence on advertising revenue — a pot of money that’s increasingly being swallowed up by just Google and Facebook.
Not sure I agree that subscriptions are caused by the precipitous drop in advertising revenue, but I definitely agree with the premise that the drying up of ad revenue is caused by the success of Google and Facebook in swallowing up the lion’s share of the ad business.
In the past decade, however, that ad money has gone overwhelmingly to the search and social media giants. Last year, Google and Facebook hoovered up 74% of the $300 billion spent globally to advertise on the web, according to the World Advertising Research Council. That’s left everyone else who had been reliant on ads scrambling to make ends meet.
And that is harmful. It makes it harder and harder for indies to make a living, makes it harder for news outlets to cover the news objectively.
Not sure what can be done here, but something’s gotta give, or we’re all going to become plot lines in a future edition of Dark Mirror.