Analysis, Media Voices

Media Moments 2018: A report from What’s New in Publishing and Media Voices

We’re really pleased to announce that we’ve launched our first report for What’s New in Publishing! Media Moments 2018 explores seven key areas which have influenced the media and publishing industry this year, from reader revenue and platforms to advertising and data. It finishes with a look at some of the key opportunities for 2019.

Each section gives an overview of the media moments which have defined the past year, along with a look at where we are now, what we can expect to happen next year, and case studies of publishers and brands who have made their mark, for better or worse.

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Analysis

How Women’s Health is defying circulation decline in women’s magazines

The women’s magazine ABCs are rarely a pleasant read for magazine aficionados. But one magazine stands out from the rest as having shown consistent circulation growth, as well as managing to increase its revenue for the sixth consecutive year.

We spoke to Women’s Health editor in chief Claire Sanderson on the podcast this week about some of the reasons behind the magazine’s growth, at a time when similar titles are seeing double-digit falls in circulation, and a few have folded entirely.

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Analysis

‘We only succeed if publishers succeed’: How Flipboard is growing a platform that works for publishers

It was with some surprise that I read about the figures a few weeks ago revealing that Flipboard had taken fourth place, behind Google, Facebook and Twitter, for referral traffic to publishers, sliding just ahead of Google News. Even more surprising was how tight this race now was. It changes day by day, but today for example, Flipboard provides 1.9% of referral traffic, with Twitter at 1.8% and Google News at 1.7%.

Flipboard hasn’t been high up the priority list for publishers for a number of years now. But when I spoke to Claus Enevoldsen on this week’s episode of the podcast, he said that “This is the right time for Flipboard. We truly believe that our time has come.”

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Analysis

How publishers are navigating the perilous path to diversification

Chris Sutcliffe looks at how and why publishers are working so hard to diversify their revenue streams, for Digital Content Next.

Many quality publishers are navigating the “valley of death” on their migration from an advertising-funded model to one more reliant on direct reader revenue. It’s not a journey that they’ll all survive. But publishers are being driven by the realization that solely ad-funded models won’t work in the age of platform intermediaries and tech giants, which control both content distribution and advertising revenue. However, for publications with a loyal, engaged audience, the journey is worth the risk.

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Analysis

Lessons in reducing churn from some of the world’s biggest publishers

Chris Sutcliffe explores strategies global publishers are employing to reduce churn in his latest piece for What’s New in Publishing.

The era of untrammelled growth in digital news subscriptions might be over before it truly began. Despite the high-profile successes of The Times, the NYT and The Washington Post among others, the needle hasn’t significantly moved when it comes to the number of people who are willing to pay for a digital news subscription. The latest Reuters Institute Digital News Report found that only single-digit proportions of people said they would subscribe to a digital news source.

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Analysis

Why micropayments aren’t dead…yet

Far from being a failed experiment, Esther Kezia Thorpe argues that we need to think bigger when it comes to micropayments, for What’s New in Publishing.

With the rise of subscriptions and paywalls comes the realisation that there’s a large chunk of a publisher’s audience that they may never be able to effectively monetise. Only an estimated 5% of a publisher’s digital readership will convert to pay for a full subscription, according to Digiday.

But what’s the alternative? Micropayments are one of the alternative revenue streams touted by hopeful tech start-ups and half-heartedly trialled by some organisations. But you’d be hard pushed to think of a publisher in the Western hemisphere who has properly explored micropayments, for better or for worse.

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Analysis

You Can Sell Anything Once, But How Do You Keep Readers Paying for Content?

Peter Houston explores the ‘Four P’s of Retention’ in his latest article for Publishing Executive.

Though the UK’s vote to exit the EU and the election of Donald Trump may have roiled the British and American public, both have been great for subscription sales. Stories of the readership surge caused by the Trump Bump and the Brexit Bounce are legend among audience development professionals.

Everyone knows, except maybe the president, that The New York Times gained more than 250,000 subscribers in the quarter after his election. The UK’s own Times newspaper doubled its subscription sales over the weekend of the EU referendum by opening access to deep-dive Brexit pieces like: Life after Brexit: what happens next.

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Analysis

Have you Started Thinking About Voice Search Yet?

Peter Houston explores how voice search could change the future of SEO, advertising, publishing and media for What’s New in Publishing

Search is back.

Ever since Facebook put down publishers in favour of friends and family, social traffic has been on the decline. Publishers, already frustrated by the lack of revenue coming from social platforms, have been looking again at search for their traffic.

For operations geared to social distribution, re-building search traffic means rediscovering search optimisation strategy and increasingly that means thinking about voice too.

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Analysis

If Paid Content is the New Hope, How Do We Convert Free Readers to Paying Ones?

Peter Houston looks at what will convert an audience from free to paid in his latest article for Publishing Executive

So we’re agreed? Reader revenue is the way to go. We’re over traffic-at-scale and ad-only funding models. Subscriptions probably won’t pay all your bills, but a healthy mix of subs and ad sales is what we’re all about these days.

OK? Great! Now that we’ve settled the paid content argument, how are we actually going to get people to pay?

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Analysis

Reader revenues? Absolutely, but what will people pay for?

The pivot to paid-content is undoubtedly a positive move for publishers, but what exactly should we be asking our audiences to buy? Peter Houston reports.

If you’re reading InPublishing, it’s probably safe to assume that you care about the future of the publishing industry. And assuming that you care, you probably welcome the signs that the industry has a new revenue stream worth embracing: you’re happy that paid-content is firmly on publishing’s radar.

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Analysis

Peter Houston talks: No jobs at the farmers’ market

A UK Government investigation into the sustainability of ‘high-quality journalism’ has released a rather depressing snapshot of the state of regional newspapers across the country.

The Cairncross Review, launched in response to a decade-long decline in print circulation and advertising revenues, is expected to report early next year. But ahead of a call for evidence, it released a preliminary study detailing the declines.

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Analysis

Twitch, Facebook, YouTube and the future of Interactive Video

Chris Sutcliffe explores the future of interactive video for What’s New in Publishing

With the huge amounts of investment into digital video over the past few years, from all corners of the media industry, the question on everyone’s lips is “what is the future of interactive video?” We’ve seen everything from the famous stunts of people watching puddles and watermelons to the rapid rise and disappearance of circular video on Snapchat. But the real future of the medium is likely to be something that has been quietly growing for the past few years, and to which huge brands and publishers are slowly waking: Twitch.

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Analysis

Are Digital Magazine Apps A Stepping-Stone to Paid Content?

Peter Houston revisits the world of digital magazines for Publishing Executive

The conventional wisdom on digital magazines is that they’re dead, at least as a custom format, separate from print and enhanced for the tablet or phone.

Apple often gets the blame – killing Newsstand killed digital magazines. But the shuttering of Apple’s standalone magazine space, as awful as it always was, was a symptom not a cause. Excessive production costs and audience apathy killed the generation of magazine apps inspired by the launch of the iPad.

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Analysis

The Top Media Newsletters

We at Media Voices get a LOT of media newsletters between us to keep on top of everything that’s going on for the news round-up. It’s often tough narrowing it down to just a couple of key things to discuss in 15 minutes each week.

Now that your inboxes are looking a little clearer post-GDPR, here are our recommendations of the top media and publishing newsletters to sign up to, including how often they come out and key features.

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Analysis

Key lessons from The Pool on getting to know your audience

On paper, The Pool goes against everything we think should work in a digital publishing site. It publishes just a few pieces of content, and releases them in timed ‘drops’ throughout the day to a schedule, inspired by radio timetables. To top it off, it targets younger women – a market arguably already well-served by more traditional media companies.

But every detail of the way The Pool works has been carefully thought through and meticulously implemented by founders Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne, drawing together years of research into not just what women want, but their daily habits and their relationship with both their mobile phones and the internet.

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Analysis

Media’s hopes and dreams for 2018

It’s safe to say that 2017 was a bit of a bumpy year for media organisations. From mass job cuts, ill-advised pivots and a growing outcry against the burgeoning duopoly, there’s no sign of the wave of digital disruption easing up on the industry.

In our bumper end-of-year special, we chewed over many of the issues that the past year has thrown up, interspersed with contributions from some of our past guests.

Rather than concoct yet another list of media predictions for 2018, we decided instead to ask some of the experts that have appeared on the podcast what they hope 2018 holds for the industry. All the responses below are included in the episode – give it a listen if you want to hear more about what each guest thought about the year gone by and what their own personal priorities are for 2018.

Kevin Anderson, media analyst Continue reading “Media’s hopes and dreams for 2018”

Analysis

Is digital dying?

According to Betteridge’s law, the answer to all headline questions is, of course, no. But the last few weeks have seen some stories about digital media organisations that have shaken the firm belief that digital can stand alone profitably with a bright future as print lies spluttering.

In a single week it emerged that Buzzfeed and Vice are going to miss their revenue targets, Mashable was sold for $50 million, and the resistance to the Duopoly is growing as Broadcasters, the FT’s Lionel Barber and the Guardian’s Kath Viner have all waded in.

These events all set the tone of this episode of the Media Voices podcast, dedicated entirely to this question of whether we’re witnessing the beginning of the end for digital media.

People have long been saying ‘print is dead’ but it is becoming clear that digital was dead from the start – at least as a sole revenue source – despite all the hope and all the resources that companies have been pouring into it.

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