Content consumption and creation changes: Under 25s turn away from email and new podcast creation plummets

Semafor says that the 'billionaire era' of news is ending with a whimper

2023 will definitely be a year of transition in media as the economy turns and consumer behaviour changes. Trends that media managers have assumed over the past few years have changed, and as ever, we'll have to learn to adapt. The Verge is reporting that podcast creation plummeted in 2022. We'll get to the reason in a minute.

Bosses in Davos are saying that their under-25 staff don't do email, which I have seen in the organisation where I work. We use email for external communications, but internally, it's almost exclusively Slack. The question then becomes whether this will impact the efficacy of newsletters or whether this is like my office, a shift in internal comms rather than digital communication in general.

Semafor co-founder Ben Smith casts an eye over billionaire-owned media. Is this era ending as billionaires' interest and attention shift elsewhere?

And lastly, if we look back to the middle of the last decade, there was a crop of new media darlings that looked like they would take over as legacy media faltered: Buzzfeed, Vice, Vox and Mic. But how the screw turns! Mic fizzled, and Buzzfeed has struggled mightily since its SPAC. Vox just announced layoffs, and Vice is putting itself on the block at a fraction of the asking price that it did just a few years ago.


  • Spotify talks about how it uses agile coaches, and it's a great opportunity for media companies to see how innovative tech companies adapt their delivery management practices.

  • Google shifts its ad ops to third parties as cuts take hold at the company.

  • CNET drops its AI-generated content experiment for now.

  • Jean-Louis Gassée compares the current advances in AI to the dawn of the personal computer era.

Changes in the media market: Consumption, creation and ownership

It says it all in the first few paragraphs. Podcast creation has plummeted by 80% in the last two years.

Does this mean that Gen Z doesn't do email at all or just not at work? Do they retain the intimacy of the inbox for special communication? Or do they find instant messaging more intimate than email in most of their digital communications? This will take user research to find out. And that is important considering the importance of newsletters as an audience development and engagement tool. Do we need to expand that to channels and tools that resonate more with Gen Z? Good research will help answer that question and help media leaders set priorities.

A look at the last decade of billionaire media ownership. They still haven't cracked the business model issue.

More details on Vice looking for a buyer.

It is interesting to me to find out that Google is willing to outsource such a core part of its business. But with regulators circling, maybe they feel that they don't have a choice.

It is always instructive when a high-performing tech company pulls back the curtains on how it manages its operations.

Jean-Louis Gassée compares the current era of AI to the early era of personal computers, and I think it's apt. Just as with the beginning of that era, we have a number of powerful incumbents - Google, Apple, Meta and Amazon - not to mention a number of rising giants in China who are all rushing to take part in the AI boom. It will remake the tech landscape and the geopolitical balance of technology players for decades to come.

We mentioned this last week, that CNET has been experimenting with AI-generated stories. They have pressed pause after a backlash, but we have had machine-generated journalism for a few years now, and I think the question really is about clear signposting and transparency about the inputs that inform such journalism.

Changes in journalism: Cuts, the 'Davos problem' and PR outpacing journalism jobs in Canada

Whenever the economy hits a soft patch, there are layoffs in journalism, particularly at outlets that rely on advertising. Ad spend is highly correlated to the economic cycle, and while a number of organisations have insulated themselves to some extent with reader revenue, the drop in a key revenue stream still bites. This leads to a round of self-reflection and some adaptation.

Vox is the latest media company to announce layoffs. It's partly due to the economic cycle, but I would expect it would also relate to efficiencies that Vox is looking for after its merger with Group Nine. What's interesting about these cuts is that they cut across the business.

Hand wringing about business journalism in the wake Davos.

A look at how data journalism is changing journalism.

This has been a story that has been playing out across journalism and PR for the last 15 years.

This is a post from 2018. Rafat Ali talks about how to land a job at his latest media startup, Skift, which covers the business of travel.