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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