RJI Futures Lab #176: NowThis Innovations with Chatbots and Facebook Live

    by Rachel Wise
    December 19, 2016
    NowThis uses Facebook Live as a way to engage with its millennial audience.

    NowThis has been a pioneer in delivering video news exclusively on social platforms, and it grew quickly thanks to an ability to find new ways to reach young audiences. Now the company is pushing forward with technologies like chatbots and Facebook Live.

    Reporting by Hailey Godburn.

    For more information:

    • NowThis did away with publishing content on its homepage in 2015. Instead, viewers can find videos on social platforms Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr and YouTube.
    • Aside from the main NowThis Facebook page, there are six other pages centered on niche topics: NowThis Entertainment, NowThis Politics, NowThis Her, NowThis Future, NowThis Booze and NowThis Weed.
    • The NowThis chatbot that offered videos, polls and information around the 2016 presidential election was available through Facebook Messenger on the NowThis Politics page.
    • In this previous Futures Lab update, NowThis Executive Producer Sarah Frank offered insights on what works best when delivering news on various social media platforms.
    • In February 2015, NowThis pulled the plug on its website, opting for its social-media-only publishing strategy. Almost a year later, NowThis had reached 1 billion video views on social media. Managing Editor Versha Sharma told journalism.co.uk that NowThis producers are “invested in how their video performs” and that “they are encouraged to build a relationship with the audience on the platform they’re working on. This includes not only reading the comments, messages and Twitter replies, but also regularly responding to them.”


    Rachel Wise is an editor at the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

    RJI Futures Lab web bannerThe Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: facebook instagram NowThis snapchat social media tumblr twitter Vine youtube

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