John Herrman, writing in the Times, reports that media websites are facing plunging ad revenue and traffic, as internet users steadily (and perhaps inexorably) migrate to apps and social media networks like Facebook. In this emerging scenario, the internet isn’t a diverse phenomenon offering readers a galaxy of websites—it is a homogenizing force, reducing itself to a handful of enormous entities. One statistic from Herrman’s report stands out:
Advertisers adjusted spending accordingly. In the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising will go to Google or Facebook, said Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst.
Publishers now face a conundrum: continue to make a stand for independence, hoping readers will stick around, or join the Facebook borg.