As director of our Global Advisory team, I always look forward with anticipation to World Publishing Expo. Hamburg is no exception. Our panel of experts will be presenting in-depth seminars at the Media Port Open Stages this year to guide delegates through the key performance factors of the latest strategic trends in our industry.
So what are some of the key trends to look out for this year? I’ll be at the Expo with the rest of our team of associates to share our experiences with, and deepen our own understandings of, the state of native advertising, paid content, mobile, video and the process of innovation.
Native advertising has been a juggernaut in our business for a few years now, but is still growing at a rapid pace. It is attractive to marketers because it not only fits better on the small screen, but it is also not prone to ad blocking or viewability concerns. It is attractive to publishers because it has retained an exclusive value and it is also less disruptive to the reader.
The conversation around paid content has largely moved from “could to should” and from “if” to “how”. While many North American publishers have opted for the metered model, many European media houses have decided on a premium content strategy. While both solutions have their plusses and minuses, it is a clear path toward a sustainable revenue source for online publications.
Mobile traffic and revenue continue to dramatically rise. Mobile audience is overtaking the desktop audience of many online publishers, but our revenues still lag well behind in many markets. Even in many developing markets, mobile will be the first significant digital audience newspaper publishers will have. What is your mobile revenue strategy? Come to the Media Ports and visit our industry’s technology partners to hear about how companies are monetising mobile by focusing on highly visible, unique creative campaigns tied to local targeting technologies and other models.
This year, 2015, seems like it is the year for video, but in truth we are only at the beginning. Broadband is getting better everywhere. If you don’t have an in-house team, work with one of our many technology partners and ad exchanges to get in on this lucrative space. Video is a natural partner for the mobile audience and native advertising already, but there is now rapid technical innovation in how it is created and delivered.
It’s no longer enough to focus on a single business model. Publishers must pursue multiple new digital initiatives to sustain themselves. Editorial and business managers must understand how to identify, vet and execute new digital business models during the course of their work. Additionally, managers must learn how to be champions of change as well as understanding their field.
If publishers wish to capitalise on the changing media landscape, they must significantly expand their base of digital-only advertisers and direct subscribers. While digital growth still requires experimentation, 2015-2016 should be the years for real strategic thinking and carefully considered investment. There are new, winnable digital dollars within our markets. There will be a healthy discussion surrounding the process of innovation and how it can be pragmatically applied within media houses large and small.
The theme we chose for this year’s WAN-IFRA World Publishing Expo is Learn. Lead. Launch. It’s going to be an incredible few days that are packed, not only with useful information on the latest trends but also interesting opportunities for you to take the lead and participate in an international knowledge transfer unmatched by any other media industry conference. We also have one of the largest gatherings of media technology companies on the planet, which are ready and willing to help drive your next new product innovation.
Ben Shaw is director of Global Advisory for WAN-IFRA.
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