From posting to hosting: nine media companies will begin publishing instant articles directly to Facebook

The Pew Research Center has found that 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook and the social media giant sees this number as an opportunity for growth. Soon users will be able to access news media content that has been uploaded directly to their feed. Publishing content directly comes with a handful of benefits and concerns for media companies.

Beyond the extra exposure, a major appeal of Facebook instant articles is the loading speed and improved user experience. Users will no longer have to open a third party site to view an article. Instead, they can load the content directly within the app. Facebook claims that smartphone users will be able to access information up to 10 times faster, and this includes posts with interactive maps and video.

This transition could very well reinvent the way we read our news, but the impending change does not come without worry from media companies. After building up a subscriber base of over one-million, companies like The New York Times understandably have some concerns about giving away content for free or on a platform they don’t control. Another fear is that Facebook could become more of a news destination than the media source itself, which could steer away their current readers and advertisers alike.

Publishers will still have the opportunity to sell and embed advertisements within their articles and keep the revenue, or they can allow Facebook to sell the space and get 70 percent of the total ad sale. Facebook is also sweetening the pot by allowing the news companies to collect data about readers with the same tools they use. Chief Product Officer Chris Cox insists that Facebook is not out to compete with the news media, saying “We’re starting with something that we think is going to work for some publishers for some articles and for some business models.” Only time will tell how this new model can evolve. 

Would you post your client's brand in a Facebook Instant Article? What questions should Facebook answer before this model can go mainstream?

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