On this week’s Digiday Podcast, Recode executive editor Kara Swisher said Facebook’s relationship with the media has long been based on lip service. Swisher discusses the need for Facebook to clean up its act, whether platforms will ever pay media organizations, Recode’s venture into TV and more in the episode.
In the year since Axios launched, the company has raised $30 million in two rounds of funding and is already a touted news source, especially for Washington heavyweights. We checked in with Jim VandeHei, CEO and co-founder of Axios, on this week’s Digiday Podcast about what has worked for the publisher and if its approach has changed since VandeHei last joined the show in April.
In the nine months under CEO Heather Dietrick’s charge, The Daily Beast has entered the competition for Donald Trump coverage with big players like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Like with other publishers, the Beast's Trump coverage grew its audience. Yet the Beast’s growth was not contingent on Facebook, and that prevented the publisher, which Dietrick said gets less than 10 percent of its traffic from the platform, from losing audience with the recent news feed changes. Dietrick, who formerly served as president of Gawker Media, spoke about Daily Beast's business growth, figuring out video, subscriptions and more in the episode.
Imran Amed began The Business of Fashion as a blog he wrote for himself. Today, it has grown into a leading news and analysis website for the fashion industry with offices in London, New York and Shanghai. The publication has grown several revenue streams: events, online courses, a careers website and most recently, subscriptions. Amed discusses subscription strategy, events, filling a white space in the industry and more in this episode.
The media industry as a whole struggles to build a loyal audience for their brands. But theSkimm, which covers big national and global stories of the day, launched about six years ago with email newsletters. Now, with over 6.5 million subscribers, theSkimm is growing into a bigger brand with a loyal audience, and it all started when cofounders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg aimed at becoming a part of people's routines. The cofounders joined us on this week's podcast.
Nick Thompson, editor-in-chief of Wired, recently co-authored a story on how the 2016 election shook Facebook and catapulted them into an identity crisis. As he investigated this story over two years, it refined his own digital strategy and views towards Facebook's role in the business of news. Thompson discusses the story, what it means when the world of Silicon Valley collides with Washington, why he remains optimistic about Facebook’s interests aligning with publishers’ interests, and more.
When NBA star LeBron James left the Miami Heat in 2014, 20-year-old Omar Raja searched for highlights from James' Heat career and couldn’t find relatable moments outside of traditional highlights. So Raja started House of Highlights, an Instagram account that frames moments from games as funny and relatable narratives. Today, the account, which Bleacher Report acquired in 2015, has over 8 million followers, including A-list athletes like James and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. House of Highlights has a fiercely loyal audience on Instagram, continuing to post on the platform even as its audience has grown. Raja discussed House of Highlights' reasons for sticking with Instagram, the account's focus, its evolution and more in the episode.
On this week’s Digiday Podcast, YouTube network AwesomenessTV president Brett Bouttier joined us to discuss programming on YouTube and the emerging post-cable world. Awesomeness TV is doing programming for YouTube Red, but Bouttier said the platform is still in experimentation phase.
It's the year of loyalty for publishers, and as reverberations from Facebook's news feed change subside, only those that have created a need for their content will remain unfazed. At a Digiday Live Podcast event on Jan. 24, Bleacher Report CRO and CMO Howard Mittman said Facebook's community is waning, and all its changes aim to protect that owned and operated platform.
Viral content site Upworthy arrived in the media industry in 2012, popularizing the famous headline formula that came to be known as clickbait. A year in, Fast Company named it the fastest-growing media site of all time. Then, a decline in traffic occurred, as Facebook cracked down on "curiosity gap" headlines that induced clicks. But Upworthy hasn't gone away. CEO Eli Pariser joined the Digiday Podcast to discuss clickbait, riding the Facebook wave for traffic, building an ad model independent of display advertising and the Donald Trump era.
Facebook sent tremors through the media industry when it announced its news feed change that would deprioritize publishers' content. For this week's Digiday Podcast, we talked to Meredith Artley, svp and editor in chief of CNN Digital Worldwide, before Facebook's announcement. Here's what Artley said about the platform: “The media industry collectively freaks out when Facebook makes a change that impacts your business. Well, what were you expecting? It’s their platform, and they’re not in the news business. We at CNN have gotten a little perturbed with those changes, but we can’t put ourselves in a position that it impacts our business in a significant way because that’s irresponsible of us.” Artley also discussed scale, platform strategy, Donald Trump’s feud with CNN and autoplay videos on the episode.
Last year, the big wave of pivoting to video washed over many media companies. Troy Young, global president for digital at Hearst Magazines, joined the Digiday Podcast last March and said half of Hearst Magazines' content would soon be video. This year, we invited Kate Lewis, svp and editorial director of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, on the podcast to check in with Hearst's digital operations. So far, one-third of Hearst's magazine content is video.
Facebook and Google wrecked the media landscape in 2017, and while publishers might retrench slowly in 2018, the collateral damage has been massive. The platforms have been the breeding ground for fake news and newsroom restructurings, leading to newsroom layoffs. On this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast, Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, said Facebook is already a publisher and the need to work forward from that point of understanding.
On this episode of The Digiday Podcast, we recap the big themes that emerged for publishers this year, from Facebook to the pivot to video to the focus on subscriptions. We bring you clips from top publishers like Bloomberg's Justin Smith, Axios' Jim VandeHei and New York Times' Meredith Levien.
HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen recently wrapped up a listening bus tour that made stops in various cities across inland America. On this week's Digiday Podcast, she said that in her many interviews, Donald Trump's name didn't come up. Polgreen talked about how the tour will evolve HuffPost's editorial focus, the results of HuffPost's rebranding and more.
As the new year approaches, media companies are evaluating their misses in 2017 and goals for 2018. It was a tough year for digital media, with Mashable selling for one-fifth of its one-time valuation, BuzzFeed missing its revenue targets and frequent layoffs. At a Digiday Live Podcast event exclusively for Digiday+ members, editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey chatted with Vox Media CMO Lindsay Nelson about where the industry fell short.
There are many blaming digital media woes on ill-thought pivots to video and an addition to venture capital. Nonsense, according to Bustle Digital Group CEO Bryan Goldberg. The fundamental issue is there are too many digital publishers competing for what's left over from Google and Facebook. Goldberg discusses consolidation, investing in digital media businesses, the duopoly and more in this episode.
This has been yet another turbulent year in the media industry, and publishers have pivoted to wherever they found potential for ad dollars or an alternative revenue model. Some are experiencing success with subscription models, particularly those with a legacy of trust and quality associated with their names, like The New York Times. Ken Doctor, a news industry analyst joins us on this week's Digiday Podcast to discuss subscriptions for local news publishers, FCC decisions, the problem with digital-only models, Tronc and more in the episode.
Attn, the 3-year-old media brand that distributes video stories through social platforms, built itself into a short-form video giant by taking a Facebook-first approach. The publisher has tried to align its content with Facebook’s interests. On this week's Digiday podcast Attn CEO and founder said that directing audience away from Facebook to owned and operated properties is a losing strategy. Segal discussed building a brand on a social feed, Facebook’s new products for publishers and more on the podcast.
BuzzFeed food brand Tasty has reached 1.8 billion views monthly on its Facebook videos, but it's looking increasingly beyond views to driving real-world action. Besides making food videos for social feeds, the brand is also selling merchandise like customized cookbooks. Ashley McCollum, general manager of Tasty, joins us on the Digiday Podcast.
While Google and Facebook hamper publishers' efforts to grow digital ad dollars, The Washington Post CRO Jed Hartman said on this week’s Digiday Podcast that publishers need to figure out their unique value and stop "whining about the platforms."
The Food Innovation Group is home to legacy brands like Bon Appétit, but in the shift to digital, the magazine has become a complement to Bon Appétit's digital and social offerings. With the majority of the group's revenue now also coming from digital, it's embracing programmatic advertising. “Programmatic is an activation method versus a buying strategy. If display [advertising] is a function of getting more programmatic, there’s a huge opportunity to streamline and create less friction [in transactions]," said Craig Kostelic, chief business officer of Food Innovation Group and Condé Nast’s Lifestyle Collection, on this week’s Digiday Podcast.
The New York Times is one of a few privileged publishers that have transitioned into a subscription business, and to do this, it started behaving like a consumer brand, according to the Times’ evp and COO Meredith Kopit Levien. She talks about subscriptions, advertising, differentiating from free alternatives and more on this week’s Digiday Podcast.
Politico has successfully steered its business model from advertising to subscriptions. Today, with 25,000 Politico Pro subscribers and a 90 percent renewal rate, Politico gets over 50 percent of its revenue from its high-priced subscription services. The key lies in focusing on the coverage that has been pivotal for Politico, according to Politico President Poppy MacDonald. The publisher has not wavered from its original brand of policy and politics journalism, so it’s managed churn and avoided the impact of the Trump bump. Macdonald discusses subscriptions, Trump bump and more on this week's podcast.
On this week’s Digiday Podcast, Spirited Media’s Jim Brady talks about building a local news media business that's sustainable. The key to economic success for Spirited Media lies in a scaled events business rather than the display advertising relied on by most publishers in local news markets.
As TV media networks continue to get pulled into the digital and social ecosystems, Facebook's growing video demands and efforts to become a giant video platform seem like a threat to TV's ad dollars. On this week's Digiday podcast, Howard Shimmel, chief research officer at Turner, argued that Facebook and TV exist in different spaces and Facebook can't compete with TV on ad viewability, impressions and other metrics.
On this week's Digiday Podcast, CEO and co-founder of Business Insider Henry Blodget said the publisher, which has over 10 million followers across social media platforms, is not trying to grow reach anymore. As the publisher's focus shifts to deepened engagement and frequency, it faces questions: whether an ad-driven model is better than a subscription model, how to monetize social and web video and how to approach the ever-growing need for video on platforms. Blodget answers these questions and more in the episode.
The answer to digital and social audience growth challenges for Colby Smith, vp of ABC News Digital, is to follow the audience. Since adopting this approach two years ago, the news network's digital division has produced content across all major social and digital platforms and seen convincing results. Smith discusses that and more on this week's Digiday Podcast.
Last year, Univision acquired The Onion under its Fusion Media Group division. Since then, The Onion and Gizmodo Media Group combined their sales operations. On this week’s Digiday Podcast, The Onion’s president and CEO Mike McAvoy said the consolidation has grown its reach, allowing it to sell more branded content.
Two years ago, NBCUniversal restructured its sales team. Allison Tarrant, executive vp of client partnerships at NBCUniversal said the change affected cross-divisional business approach for client partnerships. Tarrant joins the Digiday podcast to talk about what has changed in the approach and the results.
While Conde Nast publishes on Facebook, Snapchat and other platforms, YouTube remains an important platform to them for their premium content. Croi Mcnamara discusses this and more on the Digiday Podcast.
Tastemade now boasts 2 billion video views a month, across platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. While the company made its name in food -- think hands assembling dishes -- Tastemade plans to expand the brand further into lifestyle, including travel.
Former Droga5 president Andrew Essex believes the old model of putting logos in places and hoped they get noticed is over. Instead brands will need to be woven into experiences and content, a model he's applying in growing Tribeca beyond a standard film festival.
Luma Partners founder Terence Kawaja sees the duopoly as real, but that doesn't mean there's no opportunities in digital media outside Google and Facebook. By his math, Google and Facebook will take two-thirds of a $100 billion market, leaving plenty behind for newcomers to fight over.
Disney has a market capitalization of $163 billion, but it still doesn’t feel the need to be on every platform, Disney digital media head Andrew Sugerman said on an issue of the Digiday Podcast Cannes Edition.
Cannes is no longer a festival of creativity. Tech companies, media companies, consulting firms, telecom operators, venture capitalists, you name it — they’re here. For Amy Emmerich, chief content officer at Refinery29, this is a sign of the times in the business, as these worlds converge. Herself a TV veteran, Emmerich is now leading Refinery29’s transition from a text-based publisher to a multiplatform media company, including TV programming and feature films. She joined us on The Digiday Podcast for this week's special Cannes edition.
USA Today Network's Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Gentzel says he has found a duopoly fatigue among advertisers and realized that media companies can differentiate and offer what Google and Facebook can't. Gentzel joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey on the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast to discuss the opportunities that come with being a national and local publisher, leading efforts in VR and developing an agency model for being an advertising partner for businesses across the country.
Defy Media's CEO Matt Diamond says a bullish monetization strategy in the digital era has yet to emerge. He joined senior reporter Sahil Patel on the Digiday Podcast to discuss the monetization opportunities available on platforms and the next best opportunity for media companies in an OTT world.
This week, we are proud to introduce the Digiday Changemakers, 50 people who are making media and marketing more modern. Editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey speaks to co-executive editors Shareen Pathak and Lucia Moses about how the team selected the fifty, and they discuss some of the people who made the list.
The Dodo, a digital media brand for animal lovers, emerged during the onset of the Facebook wave. In April, it garnered over a billion video views across social media platforms. Naturally, says the company’s president YuJung Kim, social media is in The Dodo's DNA. Kim joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey on the Digiday Podcast for an on-the-road episode from New Orleans. They discussed staying away from content commoditization on social media platforms, expanding The Dodo's video arm and finding a white space as a brand.
Complex Networks has been in the business of verticals for a long time. The company has gone through major shifts in medium, ad revenue streams and products. The brand's credibility has pulled them through it all, and ahead of the curve sometimes. Now, media companies are trying to expand into verticals that include lifestyle. CEO Rich Antoniello joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to talk about what it took to develop these verticals, being independent of social and video platforms, and loopholes in the video and vertical expansion strategies of new media brands.
Streetwear publisher Highsnobiety began in 2005, when founder David Fischer started blogging about limited-edition sneakers out of his room at his parents’ house in Geneva, Switzerland. As the brand grows, it now staffs just under 80 people split between their offices in Berlin and New York. Fischer joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to discuss Highsnobiety’s social media strategy, revenue streams and the path to building scale.
Even as programmatic advertising grows in prominence, issues with the the technology remain. The Guardian knows this well. According to its CRO Hamish Nicklin, programmatic ads were about 60 percent of its display advertising last year. But Hamish is taking on the ad industry to claim the publisher’s share of ad dollars. Nicklin joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey on the Digiday Podcast to discuss his goals for programmatic and creating diversified revenue streams for publishing.
The Huffington Post is now HuffPost, as the 12-year-old publication rebrands to reflect the departure of its namesake founder Arianna Huffington. CEO Jared Grusd stressed that the rebranding isn't a sharp departure from its past. He joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to talk about the new HuffPost and how it's staying relevant for its audience across platforms.
After the Wall Street Journal reported that Google is building an ad blocker for Chrome, Digiday found that while publishers are publicly cheering, they’re reacting with great skepticism to the move in private. On this week’s edition of Deep Dive, where we go deep into the biggest story of the week, Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey spoke to media editor Lucia Moses about Google’s latest move and what this means for online advertising.
Publishers in the current media landscape may be trying to get Facebook right, but CEO of New York Media Pam Wasserstein is keeping her traffic diversified and dealing with platforms with caution. She joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to talk about the ways to build and diversify audience, and the next best digital areas to invest into.
Last week, Mic announced that it had raised $21 million in venture capital funding from investors including Time Warner, bringing its total funding to $52 million. The millennial-focused publisher is using the funding to launch nine new verticals to cover pop culture, women and finance. This is a broadening of its original mandate as a news site. On this week's Digiday Podcast, Haik joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to talk about Mic’s strategy to embrace platforms and the challenges of branding.
Digital publishing the past several years has been something of a shell game. Figure out what Facebook wants, optimize to that, bank pageviews and keep your costs below what you pay to create the same content your competitors are making. That era is coming to a close, according to Jim VandeHei, founder of Axios, a four-month-old media company focused on politics, tech and business. VandeHei, the former CEO of Politico, joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to discuss Axios, his new news brand initiative, and his ideas on how to build a successful company from scratch.
Slate’s editor-in-chief Julia Turner believes that, even 20 years in, the company still occupies a unique space in digital news media. The news and culture publisher has had recent success with its two-year-old premium tier Slate Plus, through which Slate opted to keep its site free while giving members perks like ad-free podcasts, members-only stories and discounts to live events. She joins Digiday’s editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to talk about the focus and goals of the mid-scale publisher in the midst of changing digital and social media trends.
Gizmodo Media Group, now operating under Univision, has eight media brands, with six comprising the former Gawker Media properties left after that company’s bankruptcy and sale. Raju Narisetti, CEO of the company, speaks to Digiday's editor-in-chief, Brian Morrissey, about Gizmodo's choice choice to use commerce as a revenue model instead of relying heavily on social media platforms.
Hearst Magazines has some of the most storied brands in the magazine business, from Cosmopolitan to Esquire. Right now, video is a sidelight, accounting for about 10-15 percent of its content. But in a few years time, video should be half of output, said Troy Young, global president for digital at Hearst Magazines.
Purch is the big digital media company you haven’t heard of. The company has 25 digital media brands, $100 million in revenue, and is profitable. The company has done this by focusing on content that is near a purchase decision -- think review sites like Tom's Guide and Top Ten Reviews -- allowing Purch to mostly make money off performance marketing as opposed to brand advertising. “We’ve gone through a couple generations where brand is over-weighted in the marketing mix,” said Greg Mason, CEO of Purch, on the Digiday Podcast.
When he launched digital video company Cheddar last year, former BuzzFeed executive Jon Steinberg said he wasn’t interested in advertising. He saw Google and Facebook running away with the market, and instead would focus Cheddar on nabbing carriage fees from new digital video aggregators like Sling and Pluto. That didn’t work out, Steinberg said on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast.
The Outline was founded by Josh Topolsky to be a reaction to the sameness of digital media on the on hunt for scale. Instead, the publication is taking its cue more from magazines like The New Yorker in attempting to create a culturally resonant brand but with its roots in digital media. Topolsky believes that while packaging is important, particularly in developing new storytelling techniques native to digital media, the true test of publications remains in cultivating a distinctive voice that means something to a particular audience.
Barstool Sports, to put it mildly, is not for everyone. It’s content veers decidedly in the frat-house direction, features a section devoted to scantily clad girls, venerates all things Boston and holds that anything and everything can be a source of amusement. But it is also a media brand with something more valuable than ever: loyalty. CEO Erika Nardini joined the Digiday Podcast to explain why the company’s close ties to its users allows it to have a diverse business model that relies on advertising for just half its revenue. "Advertising will be about 50 percent of our revenue, maybe less. It’s a great thing," she said.
This week we are joined by Bleacher Report's Dave Finocchio, who talks about making it as a content publisher in the age of duopoly, how Bleacher Report plans to make money off its massive distributed audience and whether it is going to be focused on TV.
The Information's founder and CEO Jessica Lessin joined the Digiday Podcast to discuss why Facebook and media companies will continue to squabble, mostly because media companies are being badly beaten by Facebook in the battle for people’s attention and advertisers’ dollars.
In under five years, Independent Journal Review has risen to a new type of politics news site with a 40-person editorial team, a White House correspondent and the designation of the most-shared publisher on social channels on election night.
What started as a magazine is becoming something more. In this episode editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey discusses the major trends of the year in media and marketing with Digiday managing editor Shareen Pathak and senior reporter Sahil Patel in a special holiday edition of the Digiday Podcast.
A decade ago, Atlantic Media relied on print for 85 percent of its revenue. That figure is now 10 percent. And now 70 percent of its digital ad revenue is rooted in some kind of content-based campaign, according to Michael Finnegan, president of Atlantic Media, this week’s guest on the Digiday Podcast.
The use of Facebook to spread propaganda, distortions and disinformation should serve as a wake-up call to the platform, NBC News svp of digital Nick Ascheim said on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast.
Bustle CEO Bryan Goldberg sees magazine publishers as hostage to high costs — all that car service costs and those gleaming office towers cost big money — and not a lot of competition advertisers looking to reach women. He aims to change that. Bustle is trying to appeal to the “everywoman” and skip falling into the trap of focusing only on urban lifestyles. “We want to be for women who love themselves but weren’t at the popular kids table at the cafeteria,” he said on the Digiday Podcast.
Get ready for a podcast about podcasting. This episode of the Digiday Podcast features Jason Hoch, the chief content officer of How Stuff Works, a digital publisher that attracts nearly 30 million downloads every month. How Stuff Works grew into one of the largest podcast publishers in the U.S. primarily through word of mouth, but now it has to compete with A-list publishers like Time Inc., Gannett and The New York Times, which are all flexing their content distribution muscles to quickly scale up. Hoch talks about how HSW plans to build on its position of strength, where he sees the industry going, and the pitfalls it has to avoid.
The Weather Company, which owns The Weather Channel brand, is on pace to get 2.5 billion video views on Facebook this year, said the publisher’s editor-in-chief Neil Katz. And yet there is still very little revenue being made by publishers on Facebook, which holds the power in its relationship with publishers. That might change in a few years, just as the power struggle has seesawed between cable companies and TV networks over the years.
The shift to mobile and video is profound for publishers. According to Sharethrough president Pat Keane, publishers that treat both as a side project risk seeing their businesses evaporate. As an investor in Refinery29, he sees how video has risen quickly to become 30 percent of its $100 million-plus in revenue.
Thought Catalog has seen its audience chopped in half thanks to the whims of the Facebook algorithm. But that’s to a disciplined operating plan, the company has managed to remain profitable. The “new reality,” according to Thought Catalog CRO Alex Magnin, is publishers need to operate far more efficiently in a world where available supply of ad impressions dwarfs the amount of demand.
18-month-old Fatherly is building a media company based on the premise that the “doofus dad” stereotype needs to be retired. Co-founder Mike Rothman sees an opening for a nimble media property that talks to millennial parents.
David Carroll, associate professor of media design at the New School, doesn’t think technology has made advertising better. It’s made it more easy to track, but outside of that, ad targeting has led to worse advertising. Just witness the rise in ad blocking, which is a way for consumers to directly express their unhappiness with the state of advertising in digital media.
Podcasts are having a moment. But with Apple providing limited data on their audiences, big brands are reluctant to throw a lot of money at the medium. Radio and podcast veteran Andy Bowers is the chief content officer at Panoply, Slate's 1-year-old podcast network. When he started at Slate, the publisher's podcasting operations amounted to him reading Slate articles into a mic. Today, Panoply is a Slate platform that partners with publishers including The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated.
Most publishers today see native advertising as the path to a sustainable online business. While each publisher's approach to this model differs, T Brand Studio, The New York Times’ brand marketing unit, describes itself as an agency rather than an in-house creative unit. T Brand pulled in $35 million in revenue in 2015, up from $13 million in 2013. It's on track to create 100 ad campaigns this year, said Sebastian Tomich, the Times' svp of advertising and innovation.
It’s still hard to make money off news content. The problem, according to Refinery29 Co-CEO Philippe von Borries, is news isn’t advertiser-friendly — but it is critical for credibility. The tumult in the ad market will more likely to affect media brands mostly dependent on news content, he said.
Jason Kint, head of publisher group Digital Content Next, believes the ad blocking crisis is a terrible opportunity to waste. This is a chance for publishers, leaning on their direct relationship with their audience, to take back power from the array of tech intermediaries and platforms that have siphoned off most of ad revenue.
The Association of National Advertisers long-awaited report on lack of transparency in the media industry cast much of its blame on the convoluted way the industry is structured, giving cover to bad practices. But for Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg, clients themselves need to shoulder a good part of the blame for problems in the system. It is their responsibility, in his view, to be more technologically adept and to manage all of their partners, from agencies to ad tech providers.
The autoplay video in feeds era is a little like baseball in the 1990s: You can get numb (and skeptical) of the giant numbers media properties are putting up, some in the matter of months of those sites going live. Business Insider’s distributed media arm, known simply as Insider, is one of those fast growth publishers that have mastered the art of getting videos in front of people on platforms, mostly Faceook. In just 11 months of existence and with a team of 30, Insider now boasts a whopping 1.5 billion -- yes, with a B -- video views in a single month.
The Atlantic Media’s global business media brand Quartz is now three-and-a-half years old. In that time, it’s won kudos for its willingness to experiment and carve out a niche in a crowded space. Publisher Jay Lauf joined the Digiday Podcast and discussed why having resource constraints is a good thing sometimes and what scale means to a focused publication like Quartz.
Digital media publishers, from BuzzFeed to Vox, are looking to TV as the next platform to master, hoping their strong online brands, built mostly in text, can be translated to TV-like video delivered through traditional broadcast and over-the-top platforms. Digital lifestyle media company Thrillist is no different. It expects to make the leap to “TV” -- whether that’s Netflix, Go90 or other over-the-top options -- within the next year, Thrillist Media Group CEO Ben Lerer said on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast. All digital media companies are looking at how their brands can live in other distribution channels, TV included, he said. Thrillist is now building a TV group to manage deals with outside production companies and its own internal video group to find ideas for bringing the Thrillist brand to life in TV.
Jarrod Dicker, head of ad product at the Washington Post, joins this week’s podcast. He talks about how ad blocking can be an opportunity for publishers to re-think the environment they have created. That means putting resources to figure out ad products, not just content. Dicker’s group is focused on this, creating products like Fuse (Instant Articles, basically, but for ads.) “…the opportunity to be at the forefront of this change is great.”
As a mid-sized publisher, the Daily Beast's president is more focused on building direct relationships with readers, rather than driving scale, which gives it focus, Mike Dyer said. It's also focused on marketing campaigns, as opposed to traditional adverts, because its in house data capabilities allow it to better understand audience trends.
The roots of Vox Media -- home to digital media brands like SB Nation, The Verge and Eater -- has its roots in an era when the website was the disruptive force in publishing. It’s a different time now compared to when SportsBlogs came into existence in 2005. These days publishers like BuzzFeed and Vox itself reach far more people on platforms than on their own sites. That presents a company like Vox, which long prided itself on a proprietary tech platform for managing multiple large properties.
In 2010, Noah Brier was director of strategy at digital agency The Barbarian Group. He noticed something fundamental happening: Clients were in need of far more assets but didn’t have increased budgets. That insight became the seeds of what became Percolate, a software platform for marketers to streamline and manage the creation of marketing assets, which Brier and co-founder James Gross started. Today, Percolate has 240 employees and has raised $75 million in venture backing.
Forbes Media CRO Mark Howard said the publisher is seeing success in its fight against ad blocking, convincing 8 million people to turn off their ad blockers or whitelist the site. Still, he views ad blocking as an “existential threat” to publishers. The answer isn’t as simple as shifting to subscriptions, either.
Now This does 1.6 billion video views a month across social platforms. The four-year-old distributed media company got rid of its website in early 2015 and went all in on platforms. Despite the big numbers, NowThis doesn’t focus on viral hits, according to president Athan Stephanopoulos. Instead it tries to “raise the floor” for the median set of the 60 videos it produces a day.
SoFi wants to build a financial services lifestyle brand for promising people. To do so, it’s brought in digital media veteran Joanne Bradford as its chief operating officer. Bradford said community is now the cornerstone of any brand, which is why SoFi runs over 250 member events a year.
Visa’s Shiv Singh believes digital media isn’t as measurable and accountable as it presents itself. Much of this arises from a lack of standardization of measurement — and a lack of transparency. “It’s hard to know the truth,” Singh said on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast.
Feel-good publisher Little Things has built an audience of 50 million users a month thanks to Facebook — and it’s profitable. CEO Joe Speiser joined the Digiday Podcast to discuss how the publisher grew out of its roots as a pet-food retailer, why he’s not too worried about being overly reliant on Facebook and the advantages of not being reliant on venture capital.