Media Report 2019

HOW THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY IS AIMING FOR MAXIMUM POSITIVE IMPACT

As the issue of sustainability becomes increasingly topical – and increasingly pressing – publishers are recognising the need to widen their sustainability agenda and develop businesses that are equipped to meet future challenges.


Sustainability and environmental impact have never been hotter topics.
On a global scale, 2018 was one of the hottest years on record. In fact, 17 of the past 18 years have been the warmest in memory.

Not only is the planet getting hotter, extreme weather-related events including droughts, floods, hurricanes, wild fires and record high temperatures are becoming increasingly commonplace. Add to this species extinction, major concerns around access to water and growing disquiet over poverty and inequality, and it is glaringly evident that the environment and sustainability need to be high on the agenda of both consumers and corporates.

The publishing industry is not immune to this. In fact, as a user of natural resources, though potentially sustainable, responsible publishers today are increasingly asking what their role should be to meet sustainability challenges and with it achieve maximum positive impact.

Some publishers have already put themselves at the forefront of the sustainability debate, driving change beyond merely compliance “box ticking” to meet environmental standards – with some already demonstrable and impressive results.


Brand extensions and licensing can be extremely profitable...or a disaster!


Do you remember the Harley Davidson cake decorating kit? How about Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “FingerLickin’ Good” edible nail polish? Or these winners?
• Zippo’s line of female perfumes?
• Evian’s water-filled bras to keep women cool?
• Jeans manufacturer Diesel’s line of fine boutique wines?

Brand extensions can go horribly, horribly wrong.


The failure rate for brand extensions is as high as 80-90%, according to Mitch Duckler, managing partner of US-based brand strategy consulting firm FullSurge.

Your data may be worth (a lot) more than you think...

Data in the media world used to mean just four things:
1. Number of subscribers
2. Number of newsstand sales
3. Advertising revenue
4. The number on the bottom line

Today, data are what your chief data scientist parses and interprets for you. If you don’t have a chief data scientist, data are what you and your team struggle to convert into editorial, sales, and marketing insights.

But even that is a limited view of the power of data today. Today, data can be much, much more. Data can actually make you some serious money.

media companies as agencies: Almost everything a brand needs to create campaigns exists in media companies in spades

What makes a successful agency?

• Knowledge of the desired audience
• Knowledge of the brand’s customers
• Access to, and a relationship with, the desired audience
• An audience database second to none
• Exquisite storytellers.
• Expert videographers
• Media tech expertise
• Proven, sophisticated design capabilities
• Multimedia, multi-platform, multi-channel expertise
• Proven marketing expertise
• A nuanced understanding of how to build sophisticated multi-platform campaigns

Does that list sound like a media company to you?
Sure sounds like a media company to me.

The expertise inside media companies is looking like an agency to more and more brands around the world. Many have given up trying to create branded content and media campaigns on their own, or even with traditional legacy agencies.

As a result, many media companies that have created in-house agencies are seeing results that have come to represent from five to 60% of total revenue! Consider this example:

Bespoke software systems built BY media companies FOR media companies have proven successful and profitable for a select few.

If you’ve worked at a media company, you have had the “pleasure” of using a content management system or ad management tool, and you know it is, in fact, rarely a pleasure.

In the last five years, a few media companies decided to do what everyone else was thinking: WE could do a better job at this!

And why not? Who knows the needs of the editorial and advertising departments better than those departments themselves?

The frustration boiled over first at the Washington Post back in 2014. Over the following few years, Vox Media, New York Magazine, and Hearst all got into the Software as a Service (SaaS) business.

The Washington Post’s Arc system

Even before Amazon chief Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, the company was moving in the direction of solving its tech problems by itself.

While the company was scrambling to keep up with the lightning speed of digital change, they, like most other media companies, discovered that their CMS and ad management systems were holding them back.

“As a business, we asked more of our newsroom,” Jeremy Gilbert, the company’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, told Fast Company. “What we noticed was: 1) We didn’t have the tools to be more productive and, 2) The CMS was a fairly monolithic platform. Adding any features to it, making any changes to it, or getting support from vendors was just very difficult.”