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Three weeks with Threads
Plus, Q2 earnings from Alphabet, Spotify, and Snap
When Threads launched three weeks ago, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri made it clear that the platform would not emphasize hard news and politics. Explaining the decision, he posted:
Politics and hard news are important, I don't want to imply otherwise. But my take is, from a platform's perspective, any incremental engagement or revenue they might drive is not at all worth the scrutiny, negativity (let's be honest), or integrity risks that come along with them.
At the time, we wrote how Mosseri’s repeated use of the phrase “politics and hard news” suggested that there likely would be room for other types of news – particularly in cultural verticals such as sports, fashion, and music. It was also unclear (and still is) to what extent Threads could keep “politics and hard news” at bay, even with tight control of the algorithmic dial.
Of course, three weeks in, we don’t have definitive answers. But we can learn from publishers’ early experiments on the platform. Here are three takeaways from yesterday’s Digiday piece on the topic:
Threads is for brand building: WaPo’s Travis Lyles views the platform as a “brand building opportunity” and doesn’t expect it to be a significant traffic source. Vice’s Cory Haik agreed, “If there’s an audience en masse on Threads, we’ve got to be there in that water cooler.”
A lighter approach to news (for now): Texas Monthly’s Amanda O’Donnell said, “We wanted to… try to keep it light because it seems like that was the initial tone that Meta almost instructed people joining the platform to use.” Vice has also taken a more “lighthearted” approach, while CBS News has deemphasized breaking news.
Plans to experiment with politics: WaPo is already “highlight[ing] the major happenings in politics” and plans to keep political content “as simple as possible” around the upcoming election. Texas Monthly also plans to prioritize Threads as part of its election coverage, assuming engagement stays high.
One way to summarize: News publishers are treating Threads more like Instagram than Twitter. It’s not surprising, given the explicit guidance from Adam Mosseri and the more positive atmosphere the platform has cultivated.
And here’s the latest news in digital media:
The Guardian reported about $340 million in annual revenue, a new record driven by international and digital growth. The outlet is also creating seven new roles to report on “underrepresented regions and communities” in the US and UK.
Bloomberg Media is asking staff to come back to the office, expecting managers to be in person four days a week starting in October.
Staff at French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche have been on strike for over a month following the appointment of a “far-right” EIC.
Alphabet’s Q2 revenue grew 7% YoY, with Google ad revenue up about 3%.
Spotify’s Q2 revenue grew 11% YoY, with ad revenue up 12%.
Snap’s Q2 revenue dropped 4% YoY.
Other Platform News:
Threads is rolling out a chronological “Following” feed.
The ChatGPT Android app launched in the US.
Instagram is rolling out creator subscriptions in ten new countries.
TikTok is launching an ecommerce business to sell made-in-China goods in the US.
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