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The Digiday Podcast

The Digiday Podcast is a weekly show where we discuss the big stories and issues that matter to brands, agencies and publishers as they transition to the digital age.
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Aug 30, 2016

It’s still hard to make money off news content. The problem, according to Refinery29 Co-CEO Philippe von Borries, is news isn’t advertiser-friendly — but it is critical for credibility. The tumult in the ad market will more likely to affect media brands mostly dependent on news content, he said.

Aug 23, 2016

Jason Kint, head of publisher group Digital Content Next, believes the ad blocking crisis is a terrible opportunity to waste. This is a chance for publishers, leaning on their direct relationship with their audience, to take back power from the array of tech intermediaries and platforms that have siphoned off most of ad revenue.

Aug 5, 2016

The Association of National Advertisers long-awaited report on lack of transparency in the media industry cast much of its blame on the convoluted way the industry is structured, giving cover to bad practices.

But for Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg, clients themselves need to shoulder a good part of the blame for problems in the system. It is their responsibility, in his view, to be more technologically adept and to manage all of their partners, from agencies to ad tech providers.

Jul 29, 2016

The autoplay video in feeds era is a little like baseball in the 1990s: You can get numb (and skeptical) of the giant numbers media properties are putting up, some in the matter of months of those sites going live.

Business Insider’s distributed media arm, known simply as Insider, is one of those fast growth publishers that have mastered the art of getting videos in front of people on platforms, mostly Faceook. In just 11 months of existence and with a team of 30, Insider now boasts a whopping 1.5 billion -- yes, with a B -- video views in a single month.

Jul 22, 2016

The Atlantic Media’s global business media brand Quartz is now three-and-a-half years old. In that time, it’s won kudos for its willingness to experiment and carve out a niche in a crowded space. Publisher Jay Lauf joined the Digiday Podcast and discussed why having resource constraints is a good thing sometimes and what scale means to a focused publication like Quartz.

Jul 15, 2016

Digital media publishers, from BuzzFeed to Vox, are looking to TV as the next platform to master, hoping their strong online brands, built mostly in text, can be translated to TV-like video delivered through traditional broadcast and over-the-top platforms.

Digital lifestyle media company Thrillist is no different. It expects to make the leap to “TV” -- whether that’s Netflix, Go90 or other over-the-top options -- within the next year, Thrillist Media Group CEO Ben Lerer said on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast. All digital media companies are looking at how their brands can live in other distribution channels, TV included, he said. Thrillist is now building a TV group to manage deals with outside production companies and its own internal video group to find ideas for bringing the Thrillist brand to life in TV.

Jul 8, 2016

Jarrod Dicker, head of ad product at the Washington Post, joins this week’s podcast. He talks about how ad blocking can be an opportunity for publishers to re-think the environment they have created. That means putting resources to figure out ad products, not just content. Dicker’s group is focused on this, creating products like Fuse (Instant Articles, basically, but for ads.) “…the opportunity to be at the forefront of this change is great.”

Jul 1, 2016

As a mid-sized publisher, the Daily Beast's president is more focused on building direct relationships with readers, rather than driving scale, which gives it focus, Mike Dyer said. It's also focused on marketing campaigns, as opposed to traditional adverts, because its in house data capabilities allow it to better understand audience trends.

Jun 24, 2016

The roots of Vox Media -- home to digital media brands like SB Nation, The Verge and Eater -- has its roots in an era when the website was the disruptive force in publishing.

It’s a different time now compared to when SportsBlogs came into existence in 2005. These days publishers like BuzzFeed and Vox itself reach far more people on platforms than on their own sites. That presents a company like Vox, which long prided itself on a proprietary tech platform for managing multiple large properties.

Jun 17, 2016

In 2010, Noah Brier was director of strategy at digital agency The Barbarian Group. He noticed something fundamental happening: Clients were in need of far more assets but didn’t have increased budgets.

That insight became the seeds of what became Percolate, a software platform for marketers to streamline and manage the creation of marketing assets, which Brier and co-founder James Gross started. Today, Percolate has 240 employees and has raised $75 million in venture backing.

Jun 10, 2016
Forbes Media CRO Mark Howard said the publisher is seeing success in its fight against ad blocking, convincing 8 million people to turn off their ad blockers or whitelist the site. Still, he views ad blocking as an “existential threat” to publishers. The answer isn’t as simple as shifting to subscriptions, either.
Jun 3, 2016

Now This does 1.6 billion video views a month across social platforms. The four-year-old distributed media company got rid of its website in early 2015 and went all in on platforms. Despite the big numbers, NowThis doesn’t focus on viral hits, according to president Athan Stephanopoulos. Instead it tries to “raise the floor” for the median set of the 60 videos it produces a day.

May 27, 2016

SoFi wants to build a financial services lifestyle brand for promising people. To do so, it’s brought in digital media veteran Joanne Bradford as its chief operating officer. Bradford said community is now the cornerstone of any brand, which is why SoFi runs over 250 member events a year.

May 20, 2016

Visa’s Shiv Singh believes digital media isn’t as measurable and accountable as it presents itself. Much of this arises from a lack of standardization of measurement — and a lack of transparency. “It’s hard to know the truth,” Singh said on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast.

May 13, 2016

Feel-good publisher Little Things has built an audience of 50 million users a month thanks to Facebook — and it’s profitable. CEO Joe Speiser joined the Digiday Podcast to discuss how the publisher grew out of its roots as a pet-food retailer, why he’s not too worried about being overly reliant on Facebook and the advantages of not being reliant on venture capital.

May 6, 2016

BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen believes publishers are dependent on platforms no matter what their strategy. The BuzzFeed approach is to embrace the network and rely on “the process” which is its approach of continually learning and adapting its content based on feedback from the audience.

May 4, 2016

Glossy is a new publication from Digiday Media that will chart the seismic activity tearing through the fashion and luxury space, and this is the inaugural episode from the Glossy Podcast which features the people making change happen in the fashion and luxury industries. Spring is a hip hit, one of the bigger success stories in the space, having raised $32.5 million in VC funding from two rounds. An interface similar to Instagram offers both high-end and low-end shopping options. And it only takes a tap to purchase. “The future is direct to consumer,” said Tisch, who formerly worked at Fab.

Apr 29, 2016

On the Digiday Podcast, The New Yorker’s digital editor Nick Thompson discussed the high bar on quality a legacy publication has in digital media. That means it can’t do things unless they’re “really good.” His goal is to maintain the same quality as The New Yorker has in print, only in a daily digital format, whether on desktop or mobile.

Apr 22, 2016

Mashable is in the throes of major change. A little over a week ago, the company reshuffled its executive ranks and shifted directions away from covering general news. Newly installed chief content officer Greg Gittrich visits the Digiday Podcast to discuss why general news is hard to pull off and the publisher’s new focus on where culture meets technology — with a heavy dose of video thrown into the mix.

Apr 15, 2016

The Economist has stuck to its knitting and remained focused on a subscription model, aided by advertising. That’s appearing a prescient bet, as ad-dependent publishers that bet on giant audiences are now facing challenges. Paul Rossi, president of The Economist Group, joins the Digiday Podcast to discuss why direct reader revenue is critical.

Apr 13, 2016

As far as media conglomerates go, it does not get bigger than Bloomberg Media. With the platform era in full swing, the strategy behind Bloomberg’s next phase will be driven by multi-directional goals.

Justin Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media. Brian Morrissey, president and editor-in-chief, Digiday

Apr 8, 2016

CNET is now over two decades old. It doesn’t see itself as a stodgy legacy brand, according to Eric Johnson, general manager of CNET’s media group. CNET recently started a 15-person autos brand, Roadshow, following the launch of a magazine two years ago. The future is still bright in media for brands that are differentiated and focused, he said.

Apr 1, 2016

Food52’s Bridget Williams joins the Digiday Podcast to discuss why scale is often overrated in digital media. At Food52, the Business Insider veteran is trying to build the “anti-Business Insider” that ignores scale in favor of a vertical approach that prizes deep connections with a passionate audience. 

Mar 25, 2016

David Plotz is a digital media veteran, dating back to when he joined Slate in 1996. Now the CEO of Atlas Obscura, Plotz is focused on building a differentiated media brand around the idea that everyone’s an explorer of the world. That’s harder than ever in the world of platforms, Plotz explained on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast. “When Facebook is the primary content delivery system, are you going to be able to thrive as a distinctive publisher,” he said.

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