Media Insider: Meta Cuts News Funding, Cuomo Returns to Cable, Vox Lays Off 39

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

Person holding a smartphone with facebook app displaying a news story

Meta officially cuts funding for U.S. news publishers
Axios | Sara Fischer

Meta no longer plans to pay publishers for their content to run on Facebook’s News Tab, according to sources. News has been deprioritized as the company focuses on more creative initiatives like short-form video. “A lot has changed since we signed deals three years ago to test bringing additional news links to Facebook News in the U.S. Most people do not come to Facebook for news, and as a business it doesn’t make sense to over-invest in areas that don’t align with user preferences,” a Facebook spokesperson told Axios. Hundreds of news publishers are still eligible to have their content included in the News Tab, but the funding to roughly 50 publishers for their content will not be renewed.

Read more about Zuckerberg’s “relentless pace as he pushes his company through a tech transformation during a global economic slowdown.”

Chris Cuomo is returning to cable news, but on a much smaller channel
The Washington Post | Jeremy Barr

Chris Cuomo announced this week that he’ll be hosting a new prime time show on the NewsNation network beginning this fall. This will be Cuomo’s return to television after leaving CNN in December amid an ethics controversy. He also recently launched a podcast called the “Chris Cuomo Project.” NewsNation launched in September 2020 with the goal of providing down-the-middle, unbiased news reporting and analysis. Compared to the cable behemoth CNN, NewsNation is still trying to build its audience and reportedly averaged only 46,000 viewers in prime time last year. When asked about CNN during his announcement for the new show, Cuomo said, “As for CNN, I will never be a hater. CNN has great people. CNN has a great purpose. And I wish them all the best, and I miss so many of the people there. But, it’s time for me to move on, and I believe I can be more than I ever was before.”

More broadcast news: Five networks, including CNN, provided the bulk of the viewership for the most recent Jan. 6 hearing.

Vox Media lays off 39 people amid economic uncertainty
Axios | Sara Fischer

Vox Media is laying off 39 people, less than 2% of its total staff of more than 2,000, as it tries to get ahead of a potential economic downturn. The layoffs are spread out across several key areas, including recruiting, sales and editorial. Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff wrote in a memo to staff, “Our aim is to get ahead of greater uncertainty by making difficult but important decisions to pare back on initiatives that are lower priority or have lower staffing needs in the current climate.” Despite the cuts, the company will continue to hire for critical roles but will reduce the pace of hiring moving forward, according to a source.

More layoffs: The entire editorial staff of Mel Magazine — roughly 15 people — has been laid off, one year exactly after the title was acquired and relaunched by Recurrent Ventures.

Readership habits across 670 subscription news websites revealed
Press Gazette | Aisha Majid

Recent data from Chartbeat shows that digital circulation revenue continues to grow at a much faster pace than income from online ads as subscriber bases expand. Across the 670 sites measured from January to May, 12% of page views were generated by subscribers, 4% by registered users (those that have shared their details but haven’t paid for a subscription) and 84% by readers that are neither subscribed nor registered. Although the percentage of page views by registerd viewers is small, the group is still considered an important step on the path to subscription. Jill Mercadante Nicholson, Chartbeat’s marketing chief, said, “We’re starting to hear a lot that the registration moment is really important because you are capturing information in your CRM about that person. You can think about the habits of individual people and it gives you a lot more messaging options to try to drive those subscriptions.”

Speaking of subscriptions, Newsweek is looking to build a digital subscription business to, in part, help improve its reputation amid a messy legal battle with its former parent company.

Instagram responds to criticism with shocking revelation that it will ‘continue to support photos’
TechCrunch | Amanda Silberling

In response to mounting backlash about the app’s increasing focus on video, Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted a video this week to clear the air. The app has recently made updates that make it more similar to TikTok, even declaring that it’s no longer just a photo-sharing app and offering cash bonuses to successful influencers. But users, including some of the biggest names on the platform, are not happy about their feeds being full of reels and “recommendations” and shared a graphic reading “Make Instagram Instagram again (Stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends).” In his response, Mosseri confirmed Instagram will continue to support photos as “part of our heritage,” but he had a caveat: “That said, I need to be honest: I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time. We see this even if we change nothing. We see this even if you just look at chronological feed.”

Read next: TikTok will soon grant researchers access to the framework behind the platform and its moderation system so they can “assess content and trends or conducts tests.”

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