My last few days have been interesting—I’ve been speaking with some of the major print publishers in the industry about their current strategy and challenges. Unsurprisingly, most of them are focused on mobile and/or video product roll-outs.
What is particularly fascinating about these conversations is that publishers are taking a direction where execution and success are solely focused on catching up with successful or popular products produced by typically non-print oriented publications. While is it noble to try and keep up with the Jones’, I wish I was seeing more innovation or willingness to take a bet and impress t consumers with something radically different or better than either their print product or the established digital product in market.
However, there is a silver lining. Many of these publishers have taken positive steps in hiring digital-focused staff at the C-level, purchasing large digital-only businesses or in producing a successful internal product (luck?). The digital landscape is not slowing down for anyone — competition is entering from every angle and consumers are demanding high quality and comparable features from every publisher, especially on mobile. Publishers have little room for error when moving into new content spaces, like mobile, but if they don’t launch quickly they risk their brands losing relevance.
In my humble opinion, it is time for these pubs to make a bet and take a major leap forward with their products. By truly embracing the new digital platforms, produce something far better than what currently exists and surprise their consumers with an exciting and fresh experience.
Here are few good examples of publishers that I think are either well positioned to make a leap or have already pivoted successfully:
Meredith – great acquisitions, new strategic hires and a clear focus on winning in video
Atlantic – total re-launch of digital product, hired super smart digital staff and executed a flawless audience develop strategy
Vox Media – perfected publishing model with SB Nation and then launched a tech site ‘The Verge’ which within a month became a huge success; they have a proven formula for quality content at scale. Expect them to launch into more categories with instant success
Which publishers do you think are ready to take a leap forward and prove that their brands are able to dominate in digital like they did in print?
The views expressed here reflect the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of 24/7 Media, its affiliates, subsidiaries or its parent company, WPP plc.
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