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News Industry Can’t Put Genie Back in Bottle

This week Facebook confirmed it will begin testing new ways for news publishers to sell digital subscriptions on the social network this fall. Privately, for months, leaders of major news outlets who were being briefed by the company have been expressing enthusiasm for Facebook’s plans.

Frankly, I’ve been a little surprised by their zeal. Just three years ago, some of these very same leaders had harsh words for the first internet company that ate their business by standing between them and their readers: Google.

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The lesson for publishers is clear. Whether you are dealing with CBS, Google or Facebook and its new subscription offering, once you have offered your product on someone else’s terms, the genie will be out of the bottle. And you won’t be able to put it back.

3 total comments
Patrick Giblin, Ben Werdmuller and 1 other commented on this article.
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Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Founding Partner, Eight
Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder & Managing Partner, SocialCapital
Tina Sharkey
Tina Sharkey
CEO, Brandless
Jonah Peretti
Jonah Peretti
CEO, Buzzfeed
Adam D'Angelo
Adam D'Angelo
CEO, Quora
Brit Morin
Brit Morin
Founder & CEO, Brit + CO
Dustin Moskovitz
Dustin Moskovitz
Co-Founder, Asana
Christina Miller
Christina Miller
President & General Manager, Turner
Max Levchin
Max Levchin
CEO, Affirm
Adam Mosseri
Adam Mosseri
Director of Product, Facebook
Alex Mather
Alex Mather
The Athletic
Martha Josephson
Martha Josephson
Partner, Egon Zehnder
James Murdoch
James Murdoch
Co-Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox
Andrew Kortina
Andrew Kortina
Founder, Venmo
Ben Chestnut
Ben Chestnut
Co-Founder & CEO, Mailchimp
Ruchi Sanghvi
Ruchi Sanghvi
VP Operations, Dropbox
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News companies are more desperate than ever to build digital revenue to compensate for the death of print.