We now have more than 70 speakers confirmed, so it is a good time to give our members an exclusive look at the first draft of the planned agenda. Do note it is a working document; still subject to much change. However, it should give you a good idea of where we are, and where we’re headed with our planning. View the working draft here.
A quick reminder that our special pre-agenda offer for the Congress ends this Sunday, 30 April. For FIPP members, the offer represents a massive saving of £1,100/ticket compared to the final rate for non-members. If you haven’t yet register and want to attend the Congress, at this discounted rate, sign up here before Sunday.
Out of interest: Internet brands wanting to be ‘magazines’
A growing number of web-native publishing brands are developing vertical plays – targeting special interest segments through vertical channels and/or standalone sites. It brings them and magazine media brands more closer together than ever before.
‘Vertical brands are what people trust’
One such example is About.com. Neil Vogel was lumped with a flagging general interest brand, not a shade of the site’s former self, when he took over as CEO of About.com. The job was «to take a company that was founded in 1996 and make it relevant in 2017.» They redeveloped the site, but after «initial excitement, nothing happened.» According to Vogel:
The problem: They «were building the same general interest brand as before, better.» However, this «model was from the 90s, where scaled brands equalled trust. We were focused on building the wrong thing.»
The answer: In the early years of the Internet «scale was all that mattered. If you had scale, people trusted you. But that’s not true anymore.» But «now vertical brands are what people trust. These are brands that are meaningful today.»
The vision: They are also going to do away with the original About.com brand. «We need to be more like a Vox, or a Meredith. We’re going to be like Condé Nast, Hearst. What we’ve done is we’ve figured out the Internet has changed and we need to change along with it.»
Getting in on the game
About.com launched four standalone verticals (in health, personal finance, tech and homes) with a fifth (travel) to launch in May. Add to that launches as verticals from the start (e.g. Quartz, Skift and subscription-only site The Information); established pureplays organising coverage into vertical channels (e.g. Mic announcing 9 new verticals this month); and other media such as NBC News (verticals for tech [MACH], health [BETTER] and futurism [THINK] getting in on the game – to name only a few. The pattern is clear.
Advertising (or the lack of it)
There is good reason for this, of course: Advertising. In a market faced with the dominance and scale of the Google and Facebooks of the world, there is realisation massive audience numbers do not automatically translate to success.
Theirs is a marketplace further dominated by the success of calls-to-action ads. That leaves perhaps – if/when advertisers fully realise this? – mostly premium, brand-driven advertising on the table. Which is a field of play not unfamiliar to premium magazine media, including as video come increasingly into play.
Earlier this week The Atlantic wrote of Yahoo’s «demise» (as a publicly traded company) as a «death knell» for news organisations. «Print newspapers will continue to fold, but Yahoo’s demise is a signal that web-native companies are next. If you run a business that relies on digital-advertising revenue for an outsized portion of your funding, you need to find new streams of revenue. Now. [Although] It may already be too late. Unless you’re Facebook or Google, that is. Facebook and Google are practically drowning in ad revenue … and that’s the root of the problem for every other business trying to clamour for a piece of it.»
The power of special interest / vertical brands
Special interest brands arguably stand a better chance than those relying purely on advertising. There’s tapping into consumer/customer passions, there’s connections and community, there’s granular data and there’s the opportunity to build diversified revenue models.
In recent months alone, we talked about it with Immediate Media Co’s Francois-Regis Coumau here, IDG’s Michael Friedenberg here, Axel Springer’s Hans Hamer here, and did a feature piece for the upcoming Congress here, to offer only a few examples. These developments are cause for optimism, in particular when you consider the value of established magazine media brands and their audiences to build on.
At the Congress
Special interest/verticals as a topic will feature in several sessions at the FIPP World Congress in October, ranging from panel discussions, to slots focused on particular developments within the special interest media ecosystem, through to case study presentations.
FIPP Insight Awards
Don’t forget to enter your magazine media research initiatives for the FIPP Insight Awards 2017 by Tuesday 2 May. The Awards will be for the best research studies published in 2016 or early 2017 that promote the use of magazine media as an advertising medium, anywhere in the world. The winning researchers will be invited to present their campaign at the FIPP World Congress. Get more info including the criteria and entry form, here.
FIPP and UPM Rising Stars Awards
Entries to UPM and FIPP’s Rising Star Awards for 2017 are now open. The Awards celebrate exceptional young talent in the industry globally. Find out more here.
This month’s most read stories on FIPP.com
Here is a selection of the most read stories for April to date on FIPP.com:
Publisher business models in the age of platforms (read)
Condé Nast and Joe Media on creating a sustainable video strategy (read)
Lessons for all publishers from the transformation of Abril in Brazil (read)
Inside view: the battle for top talent across media, tech and other sectors (read)
Futurist Amy Webb on what to look for, and how to think about, trends set to impact media (read)
What digital companies and media should learn from China (read)
How an African travel magazine built a thriving business on brand extensions (read)
Only 4 month’s old, Gentner’s new vertical play powers towards initial targets (read)
Why and how Schibsted innovated by launching new magazines (read)
How Paris Match’s innovative data tool engages audiences during the French election (read)