This year has been more challenging than publishers and advertisers alike could have ever anticipated. In this new era we find ourselves in, digital transformation has accelerated at a rapid pace and on an enormous scale, bringing the virtual world into regular day-to-day life as homes double as workplaces.
Media organizations have acted quickly to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and meet audiences’ needs during this time of uncertainty. Technology has been integral to publishers’ ability to adapt to the shifting landscape. Many new industry developments that have occurred or sped up over the past few months are likely here to stay. In this article, we’ll explore 6 publishing industry changes we’re thankful for.
For decades, advertising has been the primary driver of revenue for media companies. This isn’t likely to change anytime soon, however, increasing numbers of publishers are turning to subscription models to diversify their revenue mixes. Competition from Big Tech, coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on ad sales, has thrust this trend into the spotlight.
Combined advertising-subscription models are proving to be a win-win-win (for publishers, advertisers, and audiences). The latter group wants personalized, quality content, which they can get by subscribing to a specific publication or content series. Publishers and advertisers want loyal audiences and first-party data, which subscription models also deliver.
Our recent Adweek report, Combined Revenue Models Gaining Traction in Media Industry, found that 38% of publishers are “very or extremely focused” on growing their organizations’ subscription revenue.
Flexible work environments
Many companies, including those in the media industry, have opted for long term work-from-home arrangements this year, and even into 2021.
As much as 30% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be working from home multiple days per week by the end of 2021, according to Global Workplace Analytics. In the U.K., remote work peaked at 38% of the workforce in June, reported The Guardian. And in Canada, approximately 40% of workers currently hold jobs that can be done from home, according to Statistics Canada.
The nature of office work, including in-person meetings and coffee break chats, has transformed as a result of the pandemic, even for organizations that already allowed occasional remote work. While this arrangement isn’t ideal for everyone, the flexibility for employees and access to larger talent pools for employers are welcome changes.
Unless you’re in agriculture, silos aren’t good for business. Publishers have been forced to be extremely agile this year, which has led to awareness of the need for increased interdepartmental collaboration and the breakdown of barriers between teams to get their best work done.
The more often departments can collaborate with one another, the greater opportunities for creativity and innovation will exist within media companies. For example, marketing and sales teams working together can lead to deeper insight into the problems driving subscription churn, and what changes may need to be made to content to better retain subscribers. That valuable subscriber information can then be relayed to advertisers.
Disparate data is one of the most negative effects of departmental silos within media organizations. Data privacy legislation is becoming more robust, and the battle for advertisers’ dollars is becoming more competitive. These two factors combined make it crucial for publishers to own clean, legally obtained data that they can use to target audiences and grow their advertising revenue.
Publishers can overcome these challenges by increasing interdepartmental collaboration, regularly auditing their existing databases, and investing in the necessary technology (which we’ll discuss later in this article) to help them stay ahead of their peers from a data perspective.
Competition with walled gardens
Google and Facebook have caused numerous headaches for countless publishers over the past decade, with their low advertising costs, massive reach, and resulting effects on media companies’ bottom lines. But publishers aren’t taking the fight with Big Tech lying down.
While the media industry and the general public haven’t always had a perfect relationship, more than 60% of Americans and Canadians trust traditional media, while less than 30% trust social media, according to The Edelman Trust Barometer 2020.
Publishers are well aware of this and other advantages over the walled gardens, such as media organizations’ ability to provide advertisers with a customizable, brand safe environment and control over their marketing messages.
Investments in technology
We’ve discussed a few solid strategies that publishers have adopted recently. However, you need the right technology to put your plans into action. Many publishers already use technology solutions such as data management platforms with data-sharing capabilities to help their businesses run smoother and bring in more revenue.
For example, a media sales solution like Lineup’s Amplio system enables publishers to combine their advertising and subscription data into one platform to make better conversion decisions.