The Future Of Media and Thinking Small

Media Industry Analyst Ken Doctor recently wrote a piece for Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab where he explored the future of newspaper revenues in local markets. One of Ken’s ideas is that it’s unlikely media companies will be able to simply replace the one or two big revenue sources they have relied on in the past- rather he predicts success will come from placing bets on a wider range of products and services.  It’s all of these “smaller golden eggs” collectively that can build a meaningful business for media companies. I was honored that Ken cited my most recent talk at the Interactive Marketing East Conference in Boston as part of his exploration of where new revenue streams will come from:

Marketing services: That push is indicative of the fastest-growing digital ad line for many news publishers. Hearst Media Services and its Local Edge push, Tribune 365, Gannett Local, Advance Digital, and McClatchy are among the many companies plying this territory.

John Denny, VP of marketing for Advance Digital, recently spoke in Boston to the Kelsey Interactive Local Marketing East Conference. He outlined well the value of the marketing services push: “[There’s a] growing importance of ‘services’ in the world of marketing priorities for businesses. That money is now shifting from what has always been viewed as ‘advertising’ (whether traditional or digital media) to a whole host of growing priorities including search engine optimization, social media optimization, blogs, and content marketing.” Every merchant faces the same kind of blur of too many choices — digital marketing choices — and some will take a newspapers’ help in sorting them out.

As Ken goes on to discuss in his article, some media executives he talks to see the contribution from Marketing Services rising from about 10% of all Digital revenue today, to half of all digital related revenue within 3 years.

So while Marketing Services may be a small contributor today, the potential is there for this basket of “small things” to be a major contributor tomorrow.

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