Viral content sites drawing impressive traffic numbers
2013 saw several young online publications drawing impressive amounts of traffic. BuzzFeed and Business Insider had been gradually building their audiences for years, but new players, Upworthy in particular, succeeded in building massive audiences in amazingly short time. Upworthy even gained a title “the fastest growing media site of all time,”and managed to reach whopping 87 million unique visitors per month by year-end. The site rides on curation; it does not publish original content but hand-picks “feel-good” content that it finds “super-shareable,” i.e. considered worth sharing by millions of people out there. And it works. There are now Upworthy-inspired sites popping up everywhere, aiming to build similarly on highly shareable content. When it comes to media industry’s survival game, these sites are not the cure, but they do show the power of people-recommended content.
Short-form video platforms conquering social media
Last year witnessed a rapid increase in the number of short-form video platforms – and their success. Snapchat had already been there since 2011, but it grew rapidly in 2013. Then Twitter launched its own micro-video platform Vine, gaining almost immediately amazing success. This on its half prompted Instagram to add video features to its own app. All these three managed to climb on the lists of top smartphone apps of 2013 and thus paved the way for the change in messaging. No wonder there are dozens of other players testing their appeal in this category as well. And, as it has been widely reported, teenagers are said to be leaving Facebook. They were the first big consumer group getting excited on such “camera-enhanced” short-form messaging services. For them, messaging increasingly happens via sharing videos or pictures on mobile devices instead of typing status updates on the keyboard. It should be safe to say that this trend will keep growing in 2014. And besides becoming a big arena for consumers, these platforms will surely be used by huge amount of marketers as well.
Picture and video sharing sites really took off in 2013
Digital media billionaires investing heavily on journalism
Just when everyone thought that the money is only escaping from traditional journalism, two deep-pocketed billionaires from the online world arrived for rescue in 2013 – both with an investment of $250 million. First came Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and bought the Washington Post for $250 million. The next announced eBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar of his $250 million investment in a new online journalism venture. Omidyar’s venture, that later on was named First Look Media, gained much credibility as he managed to hire well-known reporters such as the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the Edward Snowden story previously in 2013. The two investments differ in that one bets on a traditional newspaper that has been there since 1877 and the other on a brand new venture that will be created from scratch. However, the newspaper publishing world will surely keep their eyes open for both guys - who have been already called “new-media media moguls”
All these stories will take some direction in 2014. The development will be interesting to follow. But let’s still go back a few days to see what happened in the world of social media during the actual year-change. Here’s a map made by Twitter, showing how “Happy New Year” messages spread around as 2014 arrived: Tweeting “happy new year” around the world. Let’s make this a good year!
Pirjo is an Information Analyst at M-Brain Finland. She is a keen observer of the media landscape and has tracked the changes of the field for several years. No matter how excited she is of the new digital trails, she cannot imagine a morning without turning the pages of a good old paper Hesari (=Helsingin Sanomat).