Three Key Takeaways from the FOLIO: SHOW 2017

Evan Heby, Advertising, Media and Publishing Marketing Lead

October 25, 2017

The 2017 FOLIO: SHOW brought media, publishing(opens in new tab) and ad-tech businesses together in New York City for three days of stimulating content and conversations about the changing state of media. It’s clear that the industry is moving and changing faster than ever before, and that adapting to change is no longer an option, but rather it’s an absolute must to survive.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the show:

Social media: Friend or Enemy?

If your media business does not use social in some capacity, it is likely that you are missing opportunities. However, the major question at FOLIO was not if companies are using social (everyone agreed that their company had a social presence), but rather is social a friend or enemy? Matt Thompson, cross-platform executive editor of the Atlantic, talked about digital media growth and content delivery via social. There’s been a dramatic shift in the way news is delivered and digested, and what media businesses must do to stay relevant.

“It’s harder to retain a distinct, core brand identity when someone encounters just one story a month,” Thompson said. “You need to pay attention even to the tone of a Tweet and make sure it’s in your brand voice.”

With so many content channels available today, it’s vital companies ensure they have consistency across their brands and their distribution channels; without consistency, your company risks losing customer loyalty and dissension with your target audience.

Investment trends

Folio did a survey on magazine companies’ vision for 2018 and there are some interesting points that pop out as it relates to overall industry trends.

  • Digital Media is still the anchor for most businesses. The move to digital is not stopping; media businesses know that they need to rely on digital to reach new audiences. It is imperative that traditional publishers make their content readily available for customers to consume anywhere, anytime.
  • Traditional print advertising is not dead; print media is still an important part of the publishing business and is crucial for companies that sell B2B for brand awareness and increasing overall impressions.
  • Events are a huge indicator of success for many new-media companies because they allow for companies to cater their target audience exactly, while providing applicable content that customers or potential customers may not have seen otherwise.

From the results of Folio’s research, it’s clear that investment trends are not as scary as once feared – media companies are continuing to invest in traditional channels, as well as new ones to keep pace with the growing brands – both nationally and internationally. Moreover, the trend of reinvesting in agency software(opens in new tab) is apparent – 41.6 percent of respondents making a technology-related investment will be investing in unified database and data management tools. Companies recognize the absolute necessity of having one source of the truth to ensure operational excellence at their business.

Diminishing margins

With the chaos and constant change of the current media landscape, along with the seemingly never-ending number of delivery vehicles for content, revenue per ad has been plummeting. Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor of Gawker, said “Ad inventory today is limitless and media is forced to move stories so quickly that in a lot of cases they’re just kind of throwing their story out there and chasing readers, hoping ultimately for the ad revenue.” The same ads we are publishing today that cost $10 could have been up to 10x as expensive just five years ago, Spiers said. What does that mean for media companies? A larger number of transactions and a handful of new revenue streams will ensure that their businesses continue to grow. According to Spiers, today’s media companies have an increasing number of revenue streams to manage, and lower average transaction prices; the bottom line is that your media company needs to be able to easily maintain visibility into transactions and revenue streams to be able to keep up with the changing industry.

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