News thrives on smartphones, but publishers don't

The big players in digital news like The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and NBC News are struggling with a change in how they make money and how they define themselves as brands.

The cause is the rapid migration of news consumers and advertisers to smartphones. This migration has put the news brands at the mercy of Internet giants Facebook, Google, Apple, and others who already monopolize digital advertising.

Alan Mutter, the @newsosaur, has a deep dive on the trend and what it means for publishers.

In essence, the news publishers have discovered that much of their audience -- in some cases, most -- is accessing their content on smartphone applications provided by the big technology platforms and social networks. This means that the publishers are losing control of their users and revenue.

So the publishers have started doing something that looks like syndication of their product to the social networks and platforms. They tailor content to live on each of the platforms rather than their own -- distributed content, as described by Joshua Benton of Nieman Lab -- to increase the speed that users can access text, photos, and video (crucial on handheld devices).
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