Fairfax Media has launched into a partnership with Facebook in Australia and New Zealand to continue rolling out the social media platform’s ‘Instant Articles’ program.
The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Stuff.co.nz will be responsible for carrying on the program, which features a suite of new interactive tools, including auto-play videos, interactive maps and audio captions, and improves the speed at which news stories can be viewed by as much as 10 times compared to standard mobile web articles.
Fairfax editorial director for Australian Metro Media, Sean Aylmer, said, “From today, we will use Instant Articles to share a significant number of our news stories daily, delivering our large and growing Facebook audiences an immediate, radically improved and more engaging mobile experience.
“We are taking advantage of innovative new technologies – including Instant Articles – to maximise the audience reach of our quality, independent journalism and enhance the experience our audiences have with our content.
“Our strategic partnership with Facebook underlines the tremendous mobile innovation happening at Fairfax and our unrelenting commitment to putting audiences at the centre of our publishing model.”
Fairfax New Zealand group executive editor, Sinead Boucher, added, “With rapidly growing audiences on mobile, we’re excited – not just about a faster mobile experience – but by being able to bring Stuff’s stories to life in new ways using the mobile-driven suite of Instant Articles interactive features.”
Instant Articles allows users to zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting their phone, watch auto-play videos while scrolling through stories, explore interactive maps, and ‘like’ and comment in-line on individual parts of an article.
Facebook’s managing director Australia & New Zealand, Stephen Scheeler, said, “Expanding Instant Articles in Australia and New Zealand is a significant milestone for the product and for each of our early launch partners.
“Fairfax is at the forefront of digital publishing innovation and we’re pleased they are our first local publisher to use Instant Articles in Australia and New Zealand, with the audiences of the SMH, The Age and Stuff enjoying fast, interactive articles in the Facebook app.”
“We worked closely with Fairfax Media in Australia and New Zealand to begin rolling out Instant Articles locally. Internationally, publishers are already sharing thousands of Instant Articles on Facebook each day, and looking ahead we’re excited to partner with more publishers here to bring the Instant Articles experience to more people.”
Fairfax mastheads remain in control of the content published via Instant Articles.
Fairfax mastheads are exploring opportunities to monetise Instant Articles display and pre-roll advertising. Existing analytics tools will be used to measure audience data and traffic to Fairfax’s Instant Articles.
“We expect Instant Articles will accelerate our already strong digital audience reach and engagement via Facebook,” Aylmer said.
Instant Articles is available to iPhone users. Android will launch later this year, with a small public beta available now.