Navigating Bill C-18: Shaping PR and Media Buying

Navigating Bill C-18: Shaping PR and Media Buying

The partners at the agency, along with their colleagues and friends, have been abuzz and chatty by the rollout of Bill C-18. This legislative development has not only ignited some wild discussions but also sparked engaging debates and led to exploring intriguing rabbit holes. Lets face it, these conversations are actively reshaping the landscape of PR and media buying, injecting a new energy into these fields.

At its heart, Bill C-18 aims to rebalance the power between tech giants and traditional media by enforcing payment for content usage. However, this stance has caused a standoff, raising questions about who controls media.

A notable aspect gaining attention is the noise emanating from traditional media companies. These entities, having difficulty pivoting their revenue models, are experiencing a significant impact. In all honesty, they’ve been aware for years that the business model that served the previous generations would no longer suffice in today’s dynamic landscape. Some were doing it right. A prime example is the National Post. Take, for instance, the writer Sabrina Maddeaux; when she releases an article that goes viral, the majority of readers discover the content through her Instagram story and the subsequent shares it garners. The phenomenon is intriguingly clear: the habitual daily visit to the online site for viewing articles has become less frequent, with the process now predominantly driven by social media engagement. This shift highlights the evolving dynamics of how news is consumed now.

Taking a closer look, a puzzling pattern emerges in terms of blocked media outlets. Some, like BlogTO and CTV Ontario, are restricted, while others like BuzzFeed Canada and Robb Report are not. This inconsistency reveals a perplexing process, making us wonder if it’s the Canadian government, Meta, or both that hold the reins. Meta owns Threads and no-one is blocked there. Hmmm, building new users Meta?

This debate strongly affects younger audiences who rely on digital platforms for news. Meta and similar platforms wield significant influence here. As younger Canadians engage less with traditional news sources, the effect ripples from social media to website visits.

Indeed, a compelling strategy has surfaced within the realm of new NEWS platforms, characterized by its emphasis on placing social sharing at the forefront and tailoring their models accordingly. These platforms prioritize crafting content with a “social-first” approach, recognizing the pivotal role that social media plays in disseminating information and engaging audiences.

If a media outlet remains unblocked under Bill C-18, it doesn’t necessarily call into question its legitimacy as a media source. While being accessible under the law can offer advantages in terms of wider reach and engagement, it’s crucial to remember that being recognized as a media outlet extends beyond this specific legislative framework.

In light of this innovative approach, a pertinent question arises: Why should these platforms be penalized? By adapting to the changing dynamics of media consumption and capitalizing on the power of social sharing, they’re not only keeping pace with evolving audience preferences but also redefining the way news is accessed and shared. Acknowledging and supporting such strategies can foster a more inclusive and adaptive media landscape that effectively addresses the preferences of contemporary audiences.

Lets Talk Dollars and Sense: The impact extends to media buying and PR. Inability to share blocked article links on Meta hampers outreach efforts. Media companies struggle to share content on social media, diminishing their visibility.

The evolving media landscape brings broad consequences, reshaping budgets, strategies, and editorial approaches. With revenue challenges, the essence of PR’s media has changed. The traditional “advertorial” model loses potency. Today, dynamic strategies are the norm. Social media, particularly Instagram, becomes vital for sharing content. Media buying agencies use ads to amplify links, boosting visits and impressions.

These questions arise: Are we unintentionally penalizing platforms like Meta, navigating complex media changes? Does the government need to regulate the news?

It was a cycle. Now it is not

Let’s delve into a real-life scenario. Imagine a marketing agency working with the aim of boosting awareness for a particular Mexican cola brand. In this scenario, it’s safe to assume that the cola brand would ideally want to secure editorial coverage of their product on a platform like Blogto. It’s a common understanding that such coverage would likely require some form of compensation, and the concept of social sharing might not be applicable here.

However, consider a situation where the Mexican cola brand is prominently featured at a popular taco festival, and Blogto covers the festival extensively on their Instagram stories. This sudden exposure becomes a significant brand achievement for the cola company. The ripple effect could potentially lead to a collaboration for direct paid advertisements on the Blogto website. This sequence appears to be a positive outcome, fostering brand visibility and engagement. Now this relationship cannot exist. 

Final thoughts
Amidst traditional media’s struggles, will Bill C-18 boost their profits? Are media buyers urging outlets to print again? Or will funds flow to owned content and ads on Meta? The future holds answers, steering these transformations.