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In October, Twitter sales executives hosted reporters at the company’s headquarters in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. While reporters sipped custom coffees made by the company’s barista, execs enthusiastically made Twitter’s pitch: an array of video ad products to meet every marketing need, high-quality publishing partners and an audience that’s actually receptive to ads.
We are wrapping up the year by wrapping up the eighth issue of Digiday magazine, which is part of our premium membership program Digiday+. In this issue, we take a look at the big ideas that we believe will shape media and marketing in the year ahead. If there was one dominant theme of 2016, it was the questioning of many of the rosy premises of the shift to digital media.
When ad revenue growth was strong, publishers could justify pumping up circulation numbers willy-nilly. With those days over, publishers like The Economist are turning their attention to retention. The Economist has set a goal of doubling its circulation profits by 2020. To do that, it needs to grow digital subscriptions, which number about 350,000 out of a total circulation of 1.
Winter is coming for digital media, and one of the big casualties is their global expansion. Not long ago, digital media, awash in venture capital, was shouting from the rooftops about plans for global expansion. Arianna Huffington aspired to have her namesake publishing company in 50 markets by the end of the decade. BuzzFeed, Mashable and Business Insider expressed similar global ambitions.
It’s been a tough time for ad-based digital media, with companies missing ad revenue goals and their value declining. Having subscriptions looks better and better, which is why The Information continues to like the model. The $399-a-year technology news upstart says it continues to see growth in subscriptions and is branching out with new subscription tiers to complement the main $399 plan.
For some, the holidays is a time to feel gratitude and reflect on the blessings of the season. For sellers of media, it’s a mad scramble to do their utmost by Dec. 31 to maximize their bonus if they’re lucky — or make up for lost revenue ground if they’re not. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” said Tom Morrissy, president of the agency Noble People, recalling his days as form ...
Sexual harassment and bias and sexism are systemic cultural problems in the ad industry. They’re directly connected to the domination of men in this industry, which grossly misrepresents modern society. At agencies, we should treat them as an internal, industrywide brief that needs solving. The industry needs to evolve from being a “whisper network” and change the male mindse ...
Last spring, flush with $21 million in venture capital funding from investors including Time Warner, bringing its total funding to $52 million, millennial-focused Mic launched nine new verticals to cover subjects like social justice, pop culture, women and finance, broadening its original mandate as a news site. Mic planned to hire 35 people and reassign others to staff the verticals.
Publishers hoping to make money off Apple News can’t be cheered by this: David Kang, who became senior director of Apple News monetization and strategy in November 2017, is leaving after a year in the position. It’s unclear why Kang is leaving the Apple News role, but it can’t be easy running monetization at a company that’s been notoriously indifferent, if not hostile, to adv ...
Like most publishers in search of social audiences, Univision has its fingers in many platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. But to reach younger, search-driven audiences, it’s putting a big focus on YouTube. In the past month, Univision has launched its first two original shows for YouTube, and it hopes to release more.
Few images better capture the unfettered optimism and indignity of digital media than 2014 at South by Southwest, where a line of hoodie-wearing attendees snaked around the block at Mashable House, a pop-up lounge run by the tech news site, to get their picture taken with Grumpy Cat. Nearby, AOL “digital prophet” Shingy swung on a Mashable-branded wrecking ball.
Forget the pivot to video; the pivot to reality is in full swing in digital media. The culprits are well-known. Google and Facebook have an iron grip on digital ad revenue. Publishers are trying to save themselves by making wholesale shifts in their business models, but they can’t transition fast enough.
The crackdown on extremist content online has been a long time coming, but some publishers say they’ve been inadvertently punished by brands’ efforts to avoid having their ads appear next to offensive material. In the latest in our Digiday Confessions series, one publisher of a lifestyle site for women said the crackdown has forced her to water down her editorial strategy.
More cuts are coming to Oath. The entity that houses Yahoo and AOL is in the process of laying off up to 560 people today following Yahoo’s June acquisition by Verizon. That represents slightly less than 4 percent of Oath’s global employee count of 14,000. Among those people were staffers at Yahoo Finance in the U.K., but the cuts apparently aren’t concentrated in a specific brand or geography.
On any given day, Time Inc.’s branded content studio, The Foundry, is churning out campaigns for advertisers, to the tune of more than 1,000 over the past two years. But the studio is also doing in-house work, whether it’s designing materials for its new pet owners’ subscription service, PetHero, or creating animated GIFs to promote subscriptions of People.
As the era of free news wanes, one question for media companies that are pivoting to subscriptions and memberships is figuring out how much people are willing to pay. Local news startup Spirited Media believes the answer lies in an NPR-like approach that lets people pay what they want. Three-year-old Spirited, with sites in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Denver, plans to roll ou ...
This year, buyers and sellers of media have gotten more vocal about the nagging problems that plague digital media. Linda Yaccarino wants to get people to actually do something about it. The ad sales head of NBCUniversal has been railing at conferences, the upfronts and to the press. Her platform: Brand safety isn’t being addressed, media measurement is severely lacking, and F ...
Between Trump fever and advertisers finding their ads running against racist videos on YouTube, advertisers’ obsession with brand safety is at a peak these days. It’s meant that advertisers who have long been twitchy about running near hard news are avoiding it more than ever. But is the caution justified? Surveys have shown that the impact of ad context is a top priority for advertisers.
Branded content is undergoing its own pivot to video, putting the squeeze on traditional publishers that were already facing rising competition for those marketing dollars and battling low profit margins. Now, they find themselves battling it out with entertainment studios and production houses that are also piling into the market for original digital video.
CNN is the latest publisher to chase e-commerce dollars with a new online shopping guide called CNN Underscored. The guide, launching on Nov. 2, will live at CNN.com/underscored and recommend products and services in style, tech, health and travel. CNN will make money when people click on product links and shop, a model common to many publishers.