Platform vs. Business Media

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While contemporary platforms continue to expand their services each day, business media find themselves struggling to compete against such big opponents on their own. According to techcrunch.com, platform models are “all about facilitating the production and distribution of content”. In fact, each user has access to the media contents in platform models, and they get to decide which content is relevant enough to raise on to the top. On the other hand, techcrunch.com explains that for business media, “access and means to create and publish content were limited to staff editors or freelancers. Audiences had very little say, while all content decisions were made by publishers”. Accordingly, the business media has limited reach to the audience when streaming their contents. In order for the platforms and business media to coexist in modern society, it is essential to understand each of their standings so that both of them can benefit when operating similar services.

Scenario A: Platform

Let’s say that you are a platform – one of the GAFA – and you want to aggregate digital payment services. Your task is to convince business media that have already established digital payment services on their own to participate in your service. What kind of offers can you make so that joining your service appear more attractive for the business media than operating their existing services on their own?

From the perspective of business media, joining a large platform is beneficial because it would lead to an increase in the number of users and an expansion of their services. For example, a large platform like Google certainly has diverse groups of users who engage more time in their respective services, compared to the users in business media, such as Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Social Keizai Media apps. According to App Ape, it is apparent that Google has far greater activity rate and more balanced gender ratio compared to the two business media.

In fact, by participating in a large platform, the business media can decide which articles can be viewed for free and which articles should be charged by sorting them out based on their contents and engagement rate. Hence, they can provide straight news on the platform for free, which leads to capturing of a new set of readers who come from clicking the “related articles” on the platform. Meanwhile, the business media can charge audience for specialized articles so that only the readers who pay for the subscription can read more technical contents. Accordingly, the business media, such as Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Social Keizai Media apps, can utilize large platforms such as Google to act as an entrance to gaining more users and subscribers. People can discover the business media’s contents on platforms and if they like the contents, they can seek for more technical ones by paying the subscription fee. However, there are some cons to participating in aggregate digital services. Large platforms would be in total control regarding the exposure of media contents because they get to decide which articles can be streamed and which cannot. That means they can increase or decrease their customers’ exposure to the business media as they choose and swap in and out of other media content when the platforms feel like it. Consequently, the platforms would act as commodity suppliers: they decide which content is best suited to convey advertising, and who will see it.

Scenario B: Business Media

Meanwhile, let’s say that you are business media, and you receive an offer from a mega platform to participate in its aggregate digital payment service. Under what conditions would you join in its service? How would you earn money from the platform?

As a business media whose content distribution cost is far more expensive due to lack of technologies, it would be beneficial to join the platform as long as the business media do not stream the specialized content that only they get to publish. They should utilize the platform solely for the purpose of attracting users so they should charge user more for technical contents by offering subscription. In addition, from the perspective of mega platforms, it would be beneficial to aggregate these digital payment services so they can capture a new set of users as well. According to App Ape, people tend to access business media services quite often during the daytime, while a platform like Google is being accessed the most in the evening.

Consequently, by incorporating the business media into platforms’ services, both of them would certainly gain a new set of users who otherwise would not have captured in their respective services. Therefore, it is important to understand each of their standings so that everyone can benefit from the aggregation.

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