MediaPost held their annual Publishing Insider Summit this past weekend in the historic golfing city of Pinehurst, North Carolina. We were honored to be a sponsor of the event that was attended by industry stars like Mike Smith of Hearst Magazine, Bonnie Fuller of Hollywood Life, Eli Lippman of American Media, and Noah Keil of Group Nine Media.
After numerous meetings, countless panels, and plenty of golf and banter…. here are my main takeaways from the Summit.
The need to diversify revenue
Many discussions and even a panel or two were focused on revenue diversification. With the erosion of print, most publishers have made the pivot to digital, which opens up a wide range of possibilities – but not every opportunity suits every publisher.
Here are a few strategies that stood out to me at the Summit:
American Media (US Weekly, inTouch, Men’s Journal, and more) license their content to different apps and sites, such as MSN, AOL, and Smart News, which has brought them significant success.
The Capital Broadcast Company now has nearly 15 revenue streams and one of the largest slices of the pie is events; several years ago they only had 3 revenue streams in their chart.
Hollywood Life, the female skewing news and entertainment publication, has mastered the art of content distribution through social media channels, Apple News, Flipboard and other emerging platforms. Bonnie Fuller, President and Editor in Chief, advised “to anyone who is in the editorial news business, diversify as much as you can because you don’t have control over your platforms of distribution.”
Are podcasts for everyone?
Podcasts have seen tremendous growth over the past several years from 17% of the US population listening to podcasts weekly in 2018, to 22% in 2019 (Infinite Dial 19). As the podcast audience grows so does the number of places to distribute podcasts, with options like the Apple podcast app, Spotify, Google and Pandora. Publishers must try to navigate through this space to reach their target audience and generate revenue.
Some publishers try to monetize their podcasts with pre-roll or sponsored advertising but don’t have the scale or the resources to make a profit. Others try and with a lot of effort and some luck succeed over time and a few have found podcast hacks.
Hollywood Life found a way around these revenue obstacles; instead of solely publishing their podcasts, they take photos and video footage during the interview and later use the transcript to create articles to push out on their site and distribution channels. They have managed to generate revenue not from the podcast itself but from the content developed around it.
The importance of synergy
A prominent topic this year was the synergy between different departments in publishing. Many publishers believe that having team alignment as opposed to siloed departments, allows for consistent objectives and better collaboration. As Eli Lippman put it, “synergy needs to happen or else we all fail.”
As traditional publications tackle their digital initiatives there is a focus on transforming the many different business units into one. McClatchy, a legacy newspaper company, began implementing their digital strategy about 12 months ago with the goal of transforming their 30 different sales operations into one reconstructed, powerhouse. This allowed the different departments within the organization to understand the tasks and hurdles of the other teams which led to a more holistic structure.
The conference was a great opportunity for me to connect with publishers and gain a deeper understanding of their struggles and goals. We encourage publishers to use a holistic approach by going back to basics and creating great content. By combining the right content with innovative technology and experience, we help publishers profitably scale and maintain a sustainable business.