The Media Minute 07.07.2020

Companies of every size are looking for that magic equation that drives innovation and provides true value to the consumer. There is, of course, no simple answer, and in the new reality during and after COVID-19, it might be even less clear. However, based on my experience working with brands of all stripes and sizes over the past 25 years, the ingredients of innovation are…

Climate change is a growing concern for readers across the world. Almost seven in ten (69%) people consider it to be a very, or extremely serious problem, according to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020. The role of the news media is critical in influencing levels of public concern.

The relationship between Facebook and its largest advertisers is really one big dysfunctional loop — Facebook’s continual detachment drives advertiser frustration. Advertiser frustration, in turn, drives and hardens Facebook’s detachment. The latest standoff is fueling the cycle once again.

Publishers Time Out Group, Meredith Corp. and Vox Media announced new virtual events set to take place over the remaining summer months. Time Out’s Experience:NYC and Experience:LDN, Meredith’s Food & Wine Classic and Vox Media’s Pivot Schooled will each engage audiences through carefully curated talks, performances and special offers.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has significant ramifications for publishers and their handling of consumer data, not just in California but across the country and the world. Similar to the EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation, CCPA is the first overarching state-level privacy law in the United States and will likely give way to similar laws across the country.

Since March 2020, news organizations have had to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to publishing. It is not just traditional print publications dealing with the ramifications of COVID-19. Digital news outlets and nonprofits have also had to weather the storm, but they are rising to the challenge.

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The Media Minute 07.01.2020

Today’s publishers are working to survive in a new reality where media consumption is up, but revenues are down. The relentless news cycle has editorial teams running at top speed to deliver original, insightful content to readers and viewers hungry for a new understanding of a changing world.

A new study by marketing platform LiveIntent shows that some publishers are seeing surges in revenue via online newsletters. The newsletter categories that have registered the highest bumps include shopping (103%), home and garden (55%) and business (31%).

For marketers, 2020 started out with so much promise — but this changed rapidly as the industry faced a global epidemic head-on. Not only did our own daily routines come to a screeching halt, for many of us our professional lives did as well. Almost as quickly as lockdowns began, we saw drastic changes in the realm of digital media and advertising.

The New York Times has cited its crossword puzzle app as an important source of paid subscription growth, but games can help to keep readers engaged in other ways. Publishers should consider how a gamification strategy fits with their goals of boosting reader revenue, urging repeat website visits and reducing churn.

It’s a law publishers are also taking seriously in the expectation that more states will adopt similar privacy legislation. “This regulation continues to hold us all to a level of accountability, ensuring that we make smart decisions with sensitive data and information of our consumers and employees,”

Chris Krewson likens the economic fallout for local news organizations from COVID-19 to the health impact the virus itself has had on individuals. Those who were healthiest to begin with are most likely to survive. Those with compromised immune systems could emerge with permanent damage or not emerge at all.

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The Media Minute 06.23.2020

As people stay at home around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, online traffic has surged. People are clicking through mobile and web news alerts at 43% higher rates than they were prior to the crisis, according to my company’s notifications platform, which is used by USA Today, the BBC, and The Wall Street Journal, among many other media outlets.

The UK subscription box market is estimated to be worth £1B by 2022, according to a report for Royal Mail created by GlobalData Consulting. It will be up 72% from 2017. “The business model also presents significant opportunities for international expansion, with our survey revealing that nearly 90% of subscription businesses make at least some of their sales overseas,” it adds.

In figuring out how to wring value from the present surplus of digital events, publishers are using them to collect valuable first-party data that can be used to monetize other parts of their business, ultimately reducing their reliance on third-party cookies.

The coronavirus pandemic has been painful for publishers that have lost advertising revenue. But it has also been an opportunity to promote paid subscriptions. Local newspapers that offered 90-day trial subscriptions for free or at steep discounts need to have a strategy to retain those readers as lockdowns ease and many people get back to their former routines.

Though many independent publishers interviewed by PW last week reported a drop in sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, several said sales are—surprisingly—up for the year, buoyed by strong interest in backlist titles, direct sales to consumers, and enhanced digital initiatives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of newsrooms to impose massive cuts, layoffs and furloughs—so much that several media organizations have called on Congress to lend crucial financial assistance to the industry.

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The Media Minute 06.17.2020

According to the Forbes Coronavirus Cancellation Tracker, more than 83 million would-be event attendees have been affected by the pandemic. And that’s just those who’ve had their events canceled or rescheduled so far. Even once large gatherings resume, there will inevitably be attendees who will decide not to go due to lingering concerns about the virus.

Email newsletters, once thought of as low-tech and unfashionable, are proving increasingly valuable to publishers looking to build strong direct relationships with audiences, says this year’s Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

The third quarter in the most normal of times is a media lull, landing smack dab in the middle of languid summer months, used more as a preparation for the critical fourth quarter to end the year. This summer, advertisers have their plates full as they settle into the most unusual summer in memory.

In an open letter being sent to the ad industry today, a group of publishers and tech companies are calling for a fundamental change in the way their audience data is accessed during open programmatic trades.

In response to Monday’s Day of Solidarity, which saw more than 1,100 publishing workers demanding that the industry take action to diversity its workforce and to publish more black authors, three of the Big Five publishers issued statements saying that they will do just that.

It’s been rough out there in sales land during this health crisis. And yet, web traffic is spiking for media companies. So, what do we do to leverage that and take a bad situation and make it better for our advertisers?

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The Media Minute 06.09.2020

Depending on their age and stage of life, the nation’s two youngest generations are getting a first taste of what it’s like to be a remote worker, home-schooling parent, or web-only shopper. Within a very short period, the way Millennials and Gen Zs buy products and consume media also has changed dramatically.

Puzzles, games and comics have long been a staple of newspapers and beloved by their most loyal readers, and I’m sure most editors can relate to how angry subscribers get when the results of the previous day’s crossword doesn’t appear in the paper.

The uptick is driven by increased video production, higher viewership and, crucially, the resurgence of advertisers looking to reach a large audience. As quarantine restrictions loosen, advertisers are running video ads to raise product awareness, providing a much-needed boost to advertising demand.

Publishers that post articles on Facebook have a new worry. An Australian court ruled this week they are liable for defamatory comments that other people make about those posts.

The social network’s parent company, Facebook, recently revealed that it was not sublicensing Instagram images used in website embeds—which could create headaches for associations and others that share their social images.

Business owners were still optimistic when COVID-19 started its relentless march from opposite ends of the country to eventually coat the nation. But with reported cases rising higher every week and the death toll in the U.S. creeping toward triple digits, projections of businesses reopening grew later and later.

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The Media Minute 06.02.2020

Over the past two decades, companies of all stripes have embraced affiliate marketing as a way to drive quality sales, attract new customers, and generate high-value leads. What’s more is that the model’s pay-on-performance compensation structure has made it possible for brands to cost-effectively test campaigns.

Want to make marketing a competitive advantage for your business? You’re gonna need a flywheel. No individual hack, no short-term set of investments, can compete. Likewise, growth hacking in its classic form is often plagued by short-term returns, and processes that quickly stop working once the hack is popularized.

Over the last few months, virtual events have been used as an incentive for people to subscribe to publisher paid-for programs. Since launch in April, Verizon-owned TechCrunch has hosted 10 members-only investor Q&A series events, Extra Crunch Live, via its subscription tier, Extra Crunch.

Publishers have seen a surge in web traffic and paid subscriptions among homebound readers during the coronavirus pandemic. With lockdowns gradually ending in the next few months, a key strategy will be to retain those subscribers by reminding them why they signed up in the first place.

Four major book publishers have filed suit against the Internet Archive for copyright violations relating to the Open Library project, setting the stage for a major legal fight over one of the internet’s longest-running ebook archives.

In the span of just a few weeks, the entire world has been plunged into an inconceivable ordeal. A global pandemic has led to an unprecedented collective psychosis. The fear caused by uncertainty about the present and the future amplifies the turmoil. People get sick, and others unfortunately die.

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The Media Minute 05.26.2020

In a digital world where audience attention is stretched thin, content marketing is one way for brands to stand out and engage potential buyers. And because 50% of all B2B marketers outsource part of their content marketing, such as content creation and distribution, B2B publishers can step in to help while generating revenue for themselves.

The Meeting Professional was also able to distribute the digital edition not just to MPI members, but to anyone who has signed up for a webinar or an online course or attended an MPI conference in the past, doubling its distribution from 50,000 in print to 100,000 for the digital edition.

The curve in subscription growth is starting to flatten for some but still remains higher than before coronavirus. Still, publishers including Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Guardian anecdotally say they are seeing signs of stronger retention rates from subscribers who have signed up since February and March.

Publishers that complain about losing advertising revenue to Google can now support those claims with a new academic paper that argues the search giant has abused its power.

Quarantined with a six-year-old child underfoot, Megan Frederickson wondered how academics were managing to write papers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns implemented to stem coronavirus spread meant that, overnight, many households worldwide had become an intersection of work, school and home life.

They were easing into it before coronavirus and an economic crisis happened. Now faced with an unprecedented fight for survival, we can expect newspapers across the country to reposition themselves as a public good and seek philanthropic funding.

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The Media Minute 05.20.2020

Physical distancing and stay-at-home orders have forced publishers to do things they never thought possible. We will never unlearn the new skills and tactics we’ve had to develop. Nor will your readers.Here are five changes the pandemic has wrought, along with ways publishers can adapt and prosper.

The business world is a very different place compared to just six months ago. Perhaps no more so than in publishing, where we’ve seen the distribution and printing of newspapers, magazines and books all but stop in some markets, while at the same time the audience for news, entertainment – and let’s face it, escapism – has exploded.

News publishers aren’t mincing words in their messages to push subscriptions, directly appealing to readers to support journalism and even make up for lost advertising revenue.

Advertisers are more likely to cut their media budgets for print than for digital, making online outlets more significant for publishers amid the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, a study suggests.

Google’s dominance of the $130 billion digital advertising market is harming advertisers, publishers and consumers, according to a new paper that outlines how the U.S. could bring an antitrust case against the internet giant.

t’s a combination of letters and numbers most of us had never seen placed together just a few short months ago. Now it dominates everything we do as journalists, from covering daily press briefings to chronicling the outbreak’s impact on our communities.

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The Media Minute 05.13.2020

The writing has been on the wall for years. The decline of display advertising has been well documented in this publication and others. CPM rates for ads have fallen at the same time ad viewability has been called into question. Rather than sit back and wait for the walls to potentially come crashing down around them.

There’s more competition than ever before: literally hundreds of millions of publishers, brands, and individuals are creating and amplifying content in attempts to earn attention. Simultaneously, the content bar has been massively raised: what stood out from the crowd in 2010 would be lucky to get 1/10th the attention 10 years later.

The media industry is mostly in dire straits, particularly those dependent on advertising revenue. A media company that hasn’t rolled out pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs in this period is an exception to the norm. Despite many publishers recording record traffic and viewing figures, the supply and demand economics of the ad market means ad prices have dropped and revenue has plunged.

The coronavirus pandemic has magnified the financial difficulties for many local publications, and it’s not too early to consider their longer-term marketing strategies for when the health crisis subsides. Government bailouts can provide an emergency lifeline, but the industry will emerge much stronger by developing a mix of diverse sources of revenue.

The Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire. A David taking on Goliath. Any way you want to put it, the new ecommerce site Bookshop has attracted a lot of attention for challenging Amazon on its original turf. (What, did you forget Amazon launched as “Earth’s biggest bookstore”?)

Content has always been king for news publishers, but with print readership declining, publishers have had to think creatively with how to reach readers who are moving over to different platforms. Whether it’s through TikTok, podcasts or videos, media companies are experimenting with various ways to entertain and engage with consumers.

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The Media Minute 05.05.2020

Marketing leaders around the world are struggling to strategize around the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially top of mind is how to reach and engage your audience. Email might seem like the best option right now. After all, email is a channel your audience trusts, and it lets you maintain consistent voice while reaching people instantly.

The global spread of COVID-19 has had a damaging effect on many publishing businesses. However, “subscription businesses are proving to be resilient,” according to an analysis of over 700 subscription-based companies by Zuora, the publisher of The Subscription Economy Index.

The coronavirus content surge happened across all formats, including video on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, where publishers saw a surge in viewerships in March for virus-related videos. Now, that viewer interest is tapering off, and publishers are inching back to more of their regular programming mix.

Publishers that are planning to reopen their offices as cities and states begin to ease pandemic lockdowns face numerous decisions about how to safeguard workers. As long as the coronavirus is a significant health threat, publishers must determine how to adapt almost every part of their operations.

By the end of 2020, the total number of Facebook users is expected to reach an all-time high of nearly 1.7 billion people around the world. That’s a lot of eyeballs. It’s also a lot of pressure when you have a business and are trying to figure out a strategy for optimizing your tactics for targeting ads efficiently and effectively.

Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain and owner of USA Today and 260 other daily publications, announced it was implementing pay cuts and furloughs across the company as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close and local advertising to plummet.

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