Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every Friday, we gather five important news stories from the world of media in Europe and across the globe.
In the last few weeks, media consumption habits in the Western world are slowly returning to normal as people adjust to the quarantine. The data for the last week shows that it is also true for podcasting.
The week of April 20–26 witnessed an increase in download numbers and audience numbers — for the first time since the wide lockdown started in early March.
Like thousands of media organizations across the world, BBC is facing potential pay cuts in the wake of the drop in earnings. The Guardian reported this week that the world’s oldest national broadcaster forecasts a £125 million (€145m) fall in income.
Yet, BBC’s somewhat unique position distinguishes it among rivals. The Guardian notes that “the financial outlook for the BBC is substantially better than many of its commercial rivals”. As we reported earlier this week, there are many reasons to seem optimistic of the BBC, as the crisis has shown just how important having a public broadcaster really is.
BBC is feeling relatively good now because of its safe business model. The Guardian is not funded by taxpayers, but its business model is also proving to be successful for now. This week, the British liberal newspaper reported a rise in readers’ support over the past year, with 821,000 people making a regular donation.
Is there a silver lining for the media in the decline of advertising? Some publishers find it easier to increase subscriptions with Facebook ads.
The cost of acquiring digital subscribers is plummeting. Thus, according to Digiday, some media organizations see “subscriber acquisition costs… fallen by to as little as one third of what they had been at the beginning of March”
In an interesting case which touches questions about security of remote meetings and ethics in journalism, The Financial Times’ Mark Di Stefano has been suspended after he was accused of listening in on private Zoom meetings.
The meetings accessed by Di Stefano were held by Independent and Evening Standard and devoted to sensitive information like pay cuts and furloughs. According to The Independent, “an account registered to Di Stefano’s FT.com email address joined the private video call for The Independent staff on Thursday for 16 seconds”, and Di Stefano later re-joined anonymously.