1) Publishers are diversifying and balancing their revenue streams
Many may be surprised to hear that VICE Studios were the co-producers behind this year’s Netflix sensation and source of controversy - the Fyre Festival documentary. Famed for its experimental and anarchic approach to journalism, VICE Studios have distilled this mentality in order to diversify its revenue streams, offering the likes of Netflix access to its storytelling capabilities and production services. Chief content officer of Vice EMEA, Tamara Howe outlined the reasons why being the face of Fyre Festival was never their number one priority and how this is helping fuel the publisher's growth.
Elsewhere at the Summit, Mumsnet, the UK’s largest network for parents, discussed their moves into mattresses. With over 12 million unique visitors and a network of over 9,000 influencers, the publisher is leveraging their insights to create unique physical products that meet the needs of their audiences.
Stylist Group discussed the launch of their new fitness studio, offering their readers an offline experience like no other. They'll be encouraging fitness fanatics to join them for burpees and strength training, as well as welcoming brands to the studio for photo shoots and experiences, as they capitalise on current health trends.
2) Publishers are moving more towards subscriptions models, but the realities of the paywall are tough
Publishers discussed how a 'one-size fits all' approach doesn't always meet the needs of their audiences - putting the emphasis on 'membership'. Being in a position to offer readers something new, that adds to their lives, rather than content alone, is becoming increasingly important. Publishers recognise the need to experiment, replacing traditional pay-to-play revenue streams with offline events and experiences, betting and membership schemes.
3) Publishers tackle platform dependency
As publishers navigate the ever-changing digital landscape, they're acutely aware of the dangers of platform dependency. Adopting a multi-platform approach and ensuring they're not wholly reliant on any one social media channel is a key priority. Reaping the benefits of Apple News remains a challenge, whilst engagement on Snapchat is on the rise, with millennials dwelling longer than previously thought possible. Ellen Stewart, Head of Platforms at Pink News, debunked myths surrounding the 8 second gold fish and Gen Z analogy. You can read more on that here.
4) Publishers continue to expand globally
Julian Childs, managing director at Business Insider discussed how BI has created a loyal international audience, at a time when publishers are under increasing financial pressure and uncertainty. By unifying international audiences, BI were able to create a single user view from around the world to better monetise their publications.
5) Retaining talent is a challenge
With media and tech giants offering increasingly enticing benefits packages and the opportunity to innovate and launch new products to market, publishers are faced with more competition than ever when it comes to retaining their tech talent. Publishers stressed the benefits of hiring senior talent, and allowing them to be autonomous and creative in their roles.
Digiday welcomed 150 publishers in Milan last week for the Publishing Summit Europe, discussing the biggest challenges and opportunities publishers face today. Despite increased pressures on the bottom line and fierce competition, news and entertainment content creators remain positive and realistic, as they continue to innovate and navigate change.