Facebook’s plan to host news stories within feed has finally come to life after the social media site joined hands with nine media companies including, The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News,Spiegel and Bild, who are keen to reach out to its massive 1.4 billion user base.
In a blog post, the social media giant said that they were excited to introduce Instant Articles, “a new product for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook.” The initiative will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly. Facebook said that the new programme was aimed at making the reading experience at least 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles, which took about eight seconds to load. The social media giant’s new feature will also allow publishers to bring stories to life in new ways. Users will be able to zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting their phones, watch auto-play videos, explore interactive maps, listen to audio captions, and even like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.
Publishers can wither choose to sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory. Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said, “Fundamentally, this is a tool that enables publishers to provide a better experience for their readers on Facebook. Instant Articles lets them deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.”
Mark Thompson, President and CEO, The New York Times Company said, “The New York Times already has a significant and growing audience on Facebook. We’re participating in Instant Articles to explore ways of growing the number of Times users on Facebook, improving their experience of our journalism and deepening their engagement. We have a long tradition of meeting readers where they are and that means being available not just on our own sites, but on the social platforms frequented by many current and potential Times users.”
“It is great to see Facebook trialing new ways for quality journalism to flourish on mobile,” said Tony Danker, International Director, Guardian News and Media. ” The Guardian is keen to test how the new platform can provide an even more engaging experience for our readers. It is then vital that, over time, Instant Articles delivers recurring benefit for publishers, whose continued investment in original content underpins its success.”
Facebook’s Instant Articles is launching on its iPhone app with a special set of stories published by The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC and The Atlantic.