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A few housecleaning things before I get to this year's first newsletter: First, many thanks to you,  subscribers new and old (hi Cam!), for reading and for the many helpful tips/links/ideas you've sent in over the course of last year.

Second: I've wrapped up my list of helpful 2017 reports, unless a few stragglers come in late. Will be starting on 2018 soon.

And I recently wrote about how and where I traveled in 2017 on my Web site, which I guess means I now have a blog?

Lastly: Be on the lookout for i18n swag and new ads in the newsletter as I look to diversify the revenue streams with this newsletter over the next year in response to Facebook's recent changes -- ha, kidding! I will of course be pivoting to video!


Facebook's announcement about News Feed changes was certainly the most consequential global media news of the week. It will mean some big changes, sure, though it also feels somehow like the game hasn't changed, just the rules. Facebook seems clear that this won't have an impact the appearance of news/links/media shared by actual people into their feed, just on publisher pages -- which was the basic landscape on Facebook six years ago! Digital media is a flat circle. 

Anyway, the changes are going to roll out more or less immediately, and there are already literally thousands of thinkpieces on what it all means. My favorite so far, though, was from Joshua Benton, director of Harvard's Nieman Lab (which figures pretty heavily in this week's edition, sorry). His piece makes a number of points, including this one, which I think is basically right:

"I kinda think Facebook wishes it wasn't in the news business."

Just how true that point is will determine a lot of what Facebook does over the next few months, but this week's announcement does feel like just the first step. (Nieman Lab)


Spiegel Online's CEO has a remarkably refreshing take on his publication's relationship with Facebook: "If Facebook’s ideas aren’t attractive for us, we will do less with them; if they are, we’ll do more." So simple! (Digiday)

Besides Facebook changes, I think the other big media trend of the year is going to be more Chinese digital companies focusing on the U.S. (or elsewhere globally). It makes sense -- if there are in essence two internets, one in China and the other in the rest of the world, the Chinese companies have an advantage: They're not blocked. So Tencent or Alibaba have the chance to have one global, business in a way that Google or Facebook don't. And it's starting to happen: The big Chinese internet companies are boosting  their investments in U.S. tech and media companies. (Axios)

Very worrying news from Manila: Rappler, a digital news and media site there, has been ordered to shut down by the country's SEC. This follows Rappler's tradition of tough, skeptical coverage of Duterte's government. (Rappler)

The New Yorker's new head of newsletters (and former BuzzFeeder!) Dan Oshinsky is focused on growing the magazine's newsletter audience (currently 12% of its monthly digital total). Among his plans: New newsletter projects focused on international growth in the U.K., Canada and Australia.  (Nieman Lab)

The New York Times signed a big bcontent licensing deal in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria with Ringier Africa. (Pulse)

Nieman Lab also reported a few weeks back on the BBC's innovative approach to international personalization. The BBC is thinking about how to convince people to use data to access their content in countries where it's still prohibitively expensive. "How can the BBC create content for these markets while being conscious of the on-the-ground realities of people's lives there, particularly those that relate to money, Internet access, language, and cultural differences?" (Nieman Lab)

And Quartz shows how expensive broadband data access still remains in much of Africa: "In Nigeria, for example, the $80 average cost of monthly broadband packages is nearly double the national minimum wage of $50." (Quartz)

Vietnam launched a new cyber unit, named Force 47, made up of 10,000 members dedicated to cracking down on "wrong views" -- i.e., anti-state criticism. (Reuters)

Insight into WeWork's strategy in Asia. "Landlords in Asia are coming to us and asking for help or a cultural upgrade. It’s one of the biggest opportunities in Asia." (TechCrunch)


Alibaba's UC Browser growing in Asia: UC is a simple, lightweight browser with features that make it ideal for some developing markets: It takes up less memory (many low-end smartphones in Asia have only 12 GBs of space), it's more portal-like, and users like its simple design. Over half of all mobile browsing in India last year was done on UC. (WSJ)


The Growth of Subway Systems in China and Taiwan: I find this visual of the expansion of metros in China/Taiwan fascinating, and given the decrepit and deteriorating state of New York's subway (and infrastructure in the US generally), disheartening. (TransitOriented.Design)
A semi-regular roundup of links, images and other HTML of note about trends and ideas in global digital media, put together by Scott Lamb.

About the name:
i18n is a numeronym, per Wikipedia, "where 18 stands for the number of letters between the first i and the last n in the word 'internationalization.'"
Copyright © 2018 i18n, All rights reserved.

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