Axel Springer’s Warning, Potential Sale of Twitter, IDG’s Approach to Ad Blocking, Political Parties’ View of Media, InDesign CC Tip: Publish Online – Republish to an Existing URL

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news and tips for media industry pros! This week, we’re sharing stories about an interview in which Axel Springer’s CEO warned about the need for a “healthy ecosystem” with search and social giants,  potential Twitter buyers, IDG’s “tough love” approach to ad-blocking readers, a Pew study on how views about the media depend on political party affiliation, and more.


  • European publishers are continuing to sound the alarm over the increasing power Google and social platforms like Facebook have over media companies. After likening the situation to a David versus Goliath struggle in an earlier open letter to Google’s Eric Schimdt, Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner (pictured) again warned in a Financial Times interview that traditional media will fast become extinct unless the industry comes to an agreement with big U.S. tech groups on a sustainable business model. “You will have a monopoly of content distribution that will be mainly driven by user-generated content and by professional content by commercially interested players,” he said. “You will have a total mix-up of rumours and facts—a pretty traumatic scenario of information or propaganda. It will be very painful for democracies.” Although the European Commission has passed new rules that force search and social companies to pay a fee when they use publishers’ copyrighted content, EU publishers are pushing for new legislation that will provide greater protections. Nevertheless, Döpfner said he is encouraged by recent talks with Facebook and Snapchat: “They understand the necessity of a healthy ecosystem.”
  • While reports about the potential sale of Twitter have swirled for some time now, rumor has it that a deal may be just around the corner, with Disney, Google, and Salesforce all reportedly interested in buying the 10-year-old social site. Given the widely different businesses the potential buyers represent, Fortune offered a look at the direction Twitter would take under the ownership of each. For Google, the focus would be on social and news, while Disney would likely use the platform for sports and entertainment programming, the report said. For, the angle would be customer service communications and business intelligence. It also noted that Facebook has long been trying to grab a piece of Twitter’s business, though if it threw its hat in the ring, it would likely have to overcome antitrust concerns. But given its big cash reserves, a surprise move can’t be ruled out, it added.
  • Tech publisher IDG told Digiday its “tough love” approach to ad-blocking readers is proving successful. Using messaging explaining that the company depends on advertising for revenue, it began blocking access to content until users turned off their ad blockers. The result? Some 38% of those visitors whitelisted its sites, which include titles like CIO, Computerworld, Macworld, and PCWorld. User education is key, said IDG CEO Mike Friedenberg in the article. He noted that while a majority of sites offer quality content that most users are willing to pay for in some way—by simply registering with an email address or agreeing to a small charge for access, for example—”you also have sites that look like Times Square and you can understand why the user community is pushing back by downloading ad blockers.”
  • And no surprise Monday’s presidential debate consumed a big chunk of media real estate this week. For its part, Poynter offered highlights of a Pew Research Center study that showed political leanings have a lot to do with how Americans view the media. When asked about the negative traits of media, conservatives cited bias in reporting, while liberals pointed to poor choices in reporting. On the positive side, 41% of conservative Republicans said media did a good job of “reporting the news,” while 38% of liberal Democrats said public service is what the media does best. Citing another poll, conducted by Monmouth University, the report added that 70% of Clinton supporters said they wanted debate moderators to fact-check candidates, compared with just 46% of Trump supporters.

On the Technology for Publishing Blog

  • Monica Murphy’s latest InDesign CC Tip explains a new Publish Online feature that makes it easier to update existing documents without having to distribute new URLs and to organize lists of published documents and URLs.
  • ICYMI: When it comes to the visual appeal and usability of your website, font choices play a key role. Check out our most recent infographic pick for some great combinations.
  • And don’t miss this month’s installment of Media Metrics, highlighting reports on smartphone news notifications, newsstand units sold and dollar sales, Snapchat ad revenue projections, Google’s survey of mobile users, and much more.

Image: Financial Times

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Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.