Issue #9 — The best news story formats tested by the BBC

Business models

Bloomberg takes a stab at overhauling the display ad

It’s not like basically every media conglomerate has tried to revive advertising repeatedly, but Bloomberg thinks it’s got something original to bring to the display advertising business. It’s built an in-house programmatic unit that automatically generates one of four advertisements based on a video and headline, which is apparently worth more money.

Bloomberg believes that it has a “trove of data” on readers that can adapt it to be more relevant for them, but we’re suspicious that this will do much at all, except artificially inflate prices in the short term by doing it in-house.

The ‘New York Times’ custom cookbook lets readers choose the recipes

A fun, original idea that isn’t even all that related to its day-to-day business: The New York Times is offering a trial run of customisable cookbooks, which lets the reader pick their favourite theme, then their favourite recipes. It’ll be compiled, along with other related recommendations, into a custom book, creating the ultimate digital crossover (for a solid $35 plus shipping).

Fresh ideas

The Economist revamps The Big Mac Index to help boost subscribers

The Economist has redesigned its purchasing-power tool, the Big Mac Index. The Big Mac Index was invented in 1986, and is a simple way for people to compare wealth across countries with a reference point, and has become a metric everyone knows about.

Surprisingly, the index is available without a paid account, and is intentionally left open to the public in order to help build a relationship with audiences, particularly in academia, before asking them for money.

With 430,000 paid digital subscribers, this seems like the right rule: give the reader value before asking them for cash, and they’ll be more willing to hand over their credit card.

The BBC spent 12 weeks testing new story formats, and we've got the results

The basic idea: test every crazy idea the BBC could think of and see if any of these story formats could work in the real world. The company tried everything from a ‘fast forward’ format that allows quick skimming through video with subtitles, to an idea to play 'background noise’ with an article.

As you’d expect, many of these failed to actually work, but the BBC built some compelling things we haven’t seen anywhere else before.

'The Daily' by The New York Times was the most-downloaded new show in 2017

The New York Times’ podcast experiment, The Daily, has become an unexpected breakout success at the organization, with millions of downloads and propelling its host, Michael Barbaro, to impressive heights.

WTF?

Teens debate big issues on Instagram flop accounts

Taylor Lorenz is a master at figuring out trends among teenagers and the latest one is a head-scratcher: so-called ‘flop accounts’ are being used to ironically share the news. This trend is really something, and worth reading about if only for the quotes from the teenagers themselves.

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