Look I love Buzzfeed as much as the next millennial, and not just for the ‘Which Superhero are You?‘ quiz (Green Lantern as you asked) and the like but also for some serious journalism. But it’s business model bodes ill for the future of journalism.
As the latest video from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight observes new media companies like Buzzfeed have been at the forefront of rolling out ‘native advertising.’
Essentially traditional online advertising turns out to be supremely ineffective and we are as resistant as ever to paying for online content. The solution they have hit upon is to instead sell advertising that looks like regular content on the site. The problem intrinsic is that the whole premise is that it becomes difficult to distinguish advertising and journalism.
In this environment, the argument for compelling people to pay for journalism – as the licence fee does – is stronger than ever. So new technology far from negating its value as is often suggested actually make it more relevant.
So repeat after me: