FIPP Congress: Publishers are Sitting on a Goldmine

Last week I shared some insights from the early days of FIPP World Media Congress 2020, a month-long virtual event for the publishing world.

Wolfgang Blau, President and COO of Condé Nast, opened the event with a straight-shooting keynote address, talking about the need to understand your media brand’s mission if you hope to ride the waves of change successfully.

“To build the media company of the future we have to ask what is the dream, what is the purpose and mission of a media company and journalists today – and where the trajectory of change that we have seen is heading,” he said.

“We may be calling this the new normal but the only thing that is new and normal now is that change of all kinds, in all areas of our business, is accelerating,” Blau continued. “The good news is that humans are incredibly adaptable and inventive and if you look at the history of some of the world’s long-established media companies many of them have made it through much, much greater challenges.”

As the event unfolded this week and last, some important lessons rose to the top, according to this post by FIPP staff in What’s New In Publishing. At the top of the list: Integrity is making a welcome comeback, according to James Wildman, CEO of Hearst UK.

“Publishers offer trust and brand safety, which – dare I say it – has slightly gone out of fashion in recent years,” said Wildman.“But the pendulum seems to be swinging back in our direction; integrity matters again.”

Srini Srinivasan, managing director of the Vikatan Group, said that troubled times in India are driving consumers back to print and off social media platforms. This sentiment was echoed by others, including Juan Señor, President of Innovation Media Consulting.

“A vertiginous collapse of trust in social media platforms has led to some brands rethinking whether they should spend their few remaining ad dollars on influencers,” he noted. “It’s a gain for us because our journalism has been very responsible and accurate. This is something you must articulate when selling.”

Ultimately the content in the FIPP event so far all points to the fact the media brands have a potential goldmine at their feet if they only figure out how to become essential to their readers and ad partners — and be able to articulate that. The return to reader revenue, predicted in early January, seems to be gaining momentum as social media continues to fall out of favor.

“Publishers have a great edge (over Amazon) because visitors are coming there to be inspired, spending their leisure time on the sites,” said Jonas Sjostedt, CTO and co-founder of Tipser. “They are coming there freely and returning. They can leverage that to introduce relevant commerce. Amazon is a destination where you know what you want, but for things you didn’t know you needed – that’s where publishers have a fantastic edge. They are just sitting on this goldmine they can start capitalizing on if they do it really well.”

The FIPP World Media Congress 2020 continues through the month of September. If you’re looking for a dose of inspiration along with a strategic look at how to turn insights into actions, do yourself a huge favor and get involved.