The 2017 conference season is in full swing, and has already been one for the books. In just the last three weeks, the Wibbitz team managed to attend six media industry events in five different cities all over the world: FUSE: The Convergence of Tech & Media in Philadelphia, Digiday Publishing Summit in Miami, The Grill in Beverly Hills, New Video Frontiers and FIPP World Congress in London, and ONA17 in Washington DC.
Besides running on coffee and ramping up travel credits, our team had the chance to meet, listen to and learn from the biggest movers, shakers, and leaders of the media and publishing industry. In case you weren’t able to make the trek to all these great events, we decided to share some of the biggest takeaways and hottest topics that were on the top of everyone’s mind:
Amazon, the dark horse disrupting the Facebook-Google Duopoly
Because a large number of digital publishers rely on Facebook and Google for a significant portion of their traffic, these two leading platforms collect nearly half of global advertising spending. But not for long, as this duopoly is about to be challenged by Amazon. The disruptor not only dominates online shopping and cloud computing, but now has its sights set on advertising, which could pull in $5 billion in ad revenue by next year. With Amazon Publisher Services, Amazon Ad Platform, and the increasingly popular Echo devices, this dark horse has no sign of slowing down.
“The media industry is at an early state in the realm of big data and AI”
These words were spoken by Martha Stone at this year’s FIPP World Congress, who conducted a panel discussion on AI and media with AP’s Francesco Marconi and Google’s Alice Zimmerman. This high-profile discussion delved into how media companies can better leverage AI to process big data, analyze audience behavior, and produce content accordingly.
AI is making more and more buzz in the industry, but the majority of newsrooms around the world are still behind when it comes to adopting automation into their publishing strategies. However, those that are embracing AI technologies like NLP (natural language processing), predictive analytics, and machine learning, and tools like recommendation engines, image recognition and content creation platforms are already reaping in the benefits. Check out this slide from the FIPP AI panel, where Wibbitz got a shoutout!
All eyes on digital video
Video has become the primary focus for publishers who are looking to connect and engage with their younger generation audiences, and who are expanding their revenue streams. The trend has been expedited as of late, as mobile devices have made digital video more accessible and shareable, platforms like Facebook and Google have adjusted their news feed algorithms to prioritize video content, and social video channels like Snapchat, Youtube, and Instagram have become daily destinations for the millennial and Generation Z demographic. Plus, video is lucrative. The newest forecast expects digital ad spend to grow 15.9% this year in the U.S. and reach $83 billion in revenue.
Sites optimized for user experience will be prioritized
After years of cramming their sites with flashy ads and click-bait content recommendation widgets, publishers are re-evaluating their sites and prioritizing their users’ viewing and reading experience. These actions have recently become necessary, and even urgent, now that tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple are cracking down sites with ads that slow down page speed. The Washington Post and Dotdash, formerly About.com, are the latest to improve their sites’ UX by cleaning out distracting elements and prioritizing original content.
Social Stories are making vertical content work
Stories have become ubiquitous in the world of social platforms. Seeing the huge opportunity on Snapchat Discover, Instagram and Facebook Stories, many innovative brands are investing heavily in – and even hiring their own dedicated teams for – the production of snackable, text-heavy, vertical video content specifically for Stories (we like to call them Snippets).
Balancing monetization options
Many publishers are already looking to decrease their reliance on platforms like Google and Facebook, even though these platforms still play a large role in their monthly revenue stream. That’s why we’re starting to see more pioneers explore more diversified and controllable solutions – like memberships, paid content, branded content, sponsorships, events, and even online classes – to build sustainable monetization strategies that don’t depend on finicky platforms.