The recent International Publishing & Data Conference in Lisbon was a landmark event.
The conference has been held every two years since 1981, known variously as the Worldwide Readership Symposium and more recently, the PDRF. In keeping with the changing times, this year the IPDC focused on data at the heart of publishing, with delegates from around the world discussing the challenges and opportunities in media audience measurement for 2020 and beyond.
Challenges are similar across markets, from cost cutting, to adapting samples and moving beyond Average Issue Readership (AIR).
Opportunities include more modelling and, rich data integration and cross platform measurement.
With a renewed focus on transparency and trust, there is no better time for JICs reassert their authority and we agreed, as custodians that we need to promote the importance of oversight on media audience measurement.
The overwhelming message was that the future is hybrid, cross platform, cross media measurement in which print can remain valued by many, providing it coexists with publishers’ online efforts.
For my highlights ‘reel’ of snackable content, I’ve chosen one key take out from each of the first few segments.
Readers at the heart of business strategy
While the conference focus was on data at the heart of the publishing industry, chairman Colin Morrison, in his opening remarks said given digital disruption has swept away a world where people would read just one or a few trusted sources, publishers should be putting readers at the heart of the business strategy. A commonly held theme by many nations over the two days.
In keeping with the first morning’s theme asking ‘will publishing survive until 2030’ Santanu Chakrabarti, Head of Audience Insight, BBC World Service shared results of an impact study with a sombre reminder that “Reach without recognition is just numbers on a dashboard.”
In “From big data to actionable insights” Hanne Brasseur, an audience engagement and analytics researcher who sits in the newsroom of Brussel’s public service medium VRT NWS believes tons of data doesn’t mean anything until you analyse it. By having a “culture of data” online analytics helps her newsroom make good editorial choices (in real time), take strategic decisions and grow loyal audiences.
Making the unmeasurable measurable
Ludwig Zeumer, executive director of Die Mehrwertmacher in Dresden, Germany “makes the unmeasurable measurable” using a laser scanmarker airpen which is linked to an app to give real time feedback on when print copy readership exits a news story. Again, real time data on the quality of the readers and quantity of data they consume.
These and other speakers collectively agreed that yes, the industry can and will survive, but given that media consumption has evolved to include video and audio, perhaps media companies some which are publishers reimagined and others who were never legacy publishers at all, will stand the true test of time.
After a morning focused on editorial, the afternoon session of day one set its sights firmly on advertising effectiveness. Watch this space for insights from that session.
Media and marketing pioneer Josephine Buys, who is the former and founding CEO of Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa, is now the CEO for The Publisher Research Council. Buys’ diverse career has placed her at the forefront of embracing media in a variety of industries [and platforms], from publishing and entertainment, to agencies and the public sector.
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