It has happened to you. And to us, the members of the Opennemas team. Quite possibly, to anyone. You are reading the newspaper in its digital version, and suddenly your eyes focus directly on a headline with several marked characteristics: it hides information (deliberately), it invites you to enter by offering a juicy argument and, in one of its many variants, is based on a list format.
This is the 'click-bait', a controversial strategy based on the creation of baits as an easy way to achieve a massive consumption of pageviews. And there, an infinity of media and also the brands have opted to embrace it as a form of survival that, however, could carry a sweet poisoned to the future, both in terms of image and reputation. How did we get to this? We'll tell you. But, first of all, let Frank Underwood speak...
1. The crisis of financing models in digital: More visits, more impressions. And the more impressions, the more advertising revenue. The equation is simple, but it has also given way to a sensational loop of which many digital newspapers do not seem to want to leave, as the professor Enrique Dans explained some time ago. Yes, the 'branded-content' route is being explored, but the feeling is that there has been an impasse. What formulas emerge? Exploit entertainment at the same time as the information supply is one, but also subscriptions and specials. El Heraldo de Aragon and El Ideal of Granada are already working on it.
2. The need to differentiate from competitors: It is the era of search engines and, in particular, social networks. And there, if you are not able to be the first to arrive and publish the news, you must be the best when it comes to creating a different approach. This daily struggle also explains why we often read yellow headlines that we would never have imagined reading on paper. Yes, now you could close the tab in Chrome and decades ago the newspaper, but in the latter case the business with the advertisers was already done. And we should not forget the Bastenier legacy...
La información no juega al escondite con el lector: ahora no te lo cuento, ahora te lo cuento. Eso es el 'click-bait'.— M. A. Bastenier (@MABastenier) 27 de diciembre de 2016
3. Absence of an alternative (and sustainable) way to advertising: We already talked about it in this blog in previous chapters. The payment for content is a real possibility, but still in an experimental stage for the media. And also, not applicable to all of them. The success of the proposal depends to a large extent on the quality of the format and also on the loyalty of the readers community. Could a local or regional media survive if its public denies a monthly subscription? Think about it.
Will there be a change of course? For the moment, it seems utopic to think about it. But there are warning signs. In fact, based on the discontent of many users, initiatives have already emerged on platforms such as Twitter. For example, the account @respuestavideos, which disassembles 'click-bait' cases from 'youtubers' to notify it to the public and, in the process, is an interesting form of complaint.
By the way! If you are reading this, the click-bait has not despaired you and you want to create your own digital media, Opennemas is here to help you. You can launch your own newspaper TOTALLY FREE and in less than a minute. And if you have doubts, talk to us!