Earlier this month Facebook – the social valkyrie that escorts fallen media companies into the afterlife an inch at a time – launched its Marketplace product, widely seen as an attempt to usurp the Ebays and Craigslists of the world. It’s all part of what TechCrunch’s Josh Constine sees as Facebook’s ongoing quest to eat the internet and will presumably be quite damaging in the long-term to other peer-to-peer shopping channels who don’t have Facebook’s reach and omnipresence.
One group who will largely be unaffected will be the local publishers, for the simple reason that for the most part they had already lost control of classifieds. That particular battle had already been fought and lost, and regional publishers have been trying to adjust to the realities of digital publishing for years without that particular crutch against which to lean.
With few exceptions the past decade or so has been unkind to the regional publishers in the UK. As the print circulations of most of their titles fall steadily, taking with them advertising revenue, the regional papers have been forced to make cutbacks. Trinity Mirror has been accused of doing things “on the cheap”, including the launch of an original national title The New Day, about which post-mortems found little positive.