Here at the Washington Ideas Forum, the heads of ABC, NBC, and CBS took to the stage for a panel moderated by our James Fallows. Alongside the discussions of international reportage and the politicization of news, ABC president Ben Sherwood provided an interesting rationale for his outfits expanded partnership with Yahoo. Here's the thing. As explained by Sherwood, the deal was not an effort to reach (large) Yahoo's audience per se.
Yahoo, he said, was the largest provider of news items that were shared on Twitter and Facebook. Ergo, "If we are the primary news provider to Yahoo, we'll be the primary news provider on Facebook and Twitter," Sherwood said.
When the deal was announced, I tweeted that I didn't have anything interesting to say about it. But if you look at what Sherwood is saying, they didn't buy an audience, but a distribution platform that was formerly called the audience. That's a fascinating idea. You don't buy passive eyeballs, you buy active sharers. "News is fundamentally social," Sherwood says. "We embrace it."
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