The website as archive: why NowThis publishes all of its content straight to social media

Insights, Interviews
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NowThis is a digital video news network that garners upwards of two billion views every month, according to Christian Tom, the company’s publisher and vice president of sales. And until recently, it did so without a website. In fact, since its launch in 2012, all of NowThis’ content has been native to social media.

“The company really focuses on what I call platform-appropriate storytelling,” Tom said. He noted that some media companies will post a story in identical format across multiple platforms. NowThis, on the other hand, is really focused on tailoring each story to the specific platform, whether that be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or YouTube.

 

That’s left NowThis‘ website as more of an archive than anything else.

“On Facebook and stuff it’s hard to have a repository of videos. You’ve got to scroll through, back and back and back and back,” he said. “But if you wanted to search for all of the videos about what Trump has done, you can go lose yourself in a whole string of videos, if you so want to.”

“The company really focuses on what I call platform-appropriate storytelling.”

Tom said Facebook makes up the largest source of the outlet’s traffic, where 10 channels have been built out. Viewers can follow the main NowThis page, but also get lost in NowThis entertainment, sports, food, money, and so on. Tom said the company works closely with the social platform, and is optimistic about Facebook’s recent algorithm change, which announced it will give priority to meaningful social interactions.

“I think part of the success that NowThis has had is because we already do in fact drive a lot of those so-called meaningful interactions between people to begin with,” Tom said.

Rather than taking news out of Facebook’s equation altogether, Tom said he had a feeling the social media giant is more worried about the spread of fake news. NowThis, he said, will do its part to ensure the quality and veracity of the stories it publishes. 

“It should go without saying, but I guess in this day and age it should be said. NowThis is a fact-based journalism organization,” he said. “NowThis researches and cites and sources its information because we are telling real stories. We’re not making up fake news.”

Megan O'Brien
Megan is a journalism student at Northeastern University.

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