A decade ago, Huge was a bootstrapped startup agency in a 200-square foot room in Brooklyn with about 10 employees. Now, it’s 1,400 people with offices around the globe growing 30 percent a year.
Podcasts are having a moment. But with Apple providing limited data on their audiences, big brands are reluctant to throw a lot of money at the medium.
Radio and podcast veteran Andy Bowers is the chief content officer at Panoply, Slate's 1-year-old podcast network. When he started at Slate, the publisher's podcasting operations amounted to him reading Slate articles into a mic. Today, Panoply is a Slate platform that partners with publishers including The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated.
Most publishers today see native advertising as the path to a sustainable online business. While each publisher's approach to this model differs, T Brand Studio, The New York Times’ brand marketing unit, describes itself as an agency rather than an in-house creative unit.
T Brand pulled in $35 million in revenue in 2015, up from $13 million in 2013. It's on track to create 100 ad campaigns this year, said Sebastian Tomich, the Times' svp of advertising and innovation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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