Seven surprising ideas from Digital Media Strategies 2017

Digital Media Strategies 2017

Now you may think you have a good handle on how media is changing, but there were some surprising ideas emerging from the Digital Media Strategies conference last week that might just challenge your views…

1. Future are buying print assets

Future have recently acquired Blaze, Imagine and Team Rock – all traditional print driven publishers.  FD says they see value in the heritage and the brand, and print mags are available at lower prices but still generate cash.  Future’s plan is to use their expertise in web to expand the digital presence of these established titles.  They are also using the newsstand bookazine format to test new markets.

2. Dennis make as much from car finance as selling cars

Dennis have moved strongly into e-commerce with the acquisition of, using their automotive media brands to drive traffic.  In the panel discussion Paul Lomax said that many of the skills built up in the publishing business are highly relevant to e-commerce:  web design, SEO, online content and customer service.  Dennis also offer finance on the cars they sell, and this is as lucrative as the transaction itself.  As an established publisher they have credibility with customers and the FSA.

3. Ascential aren’t budgeting for advertising

Natasha Christie Miller put down much of the success of the former Emap portfolio to an obsession with subscriptions.  Retail Week’s revenues are now split 1/3 events, 1/3 subs and 1/3 marketing solutions.  They don’t budget for straight advertising any more – they just work with clients to connect them with retailers and offer marketing solutions.


4. IDG’s unique value is insight into buying process

IDG is a digitally driven media business, with 90% digital revenues, and 50% of revenues some form of lead generation.  They now describe their audience as “buyers who read” rather than “readers who buy.”  CEO Mike Friedenberg believes that the unique value they offer to IT vendors is deep understanding of how corporate IT buyers move through the purchase cycle and what content they consume at each stage.

5. Influencers could usurp publishers

Evolve media have developed close relationships with c300 social media influencers, with between 10k and 1m followers. They plan brand campaigns for clients across this network rather like a traditional media schedule, co-creating content for the brands with relevant influencers that can be used across owned media and the influencers own audience, plus further social amplification.  Might this marketing channel ultimately usurp traditional media?

6. High priced digital content can work for news media

Norwegian regional publisher A media has built up almost 500k paid digital subscribers (in a country of just 4m adults). They now charge the equivalent of £15-20 per month, and have the same churn rates as when they charged a lower rate.  87% of sales are made online; they no longer use telemarketing.

7. Segmenting audience by attitude not lifestage

Young women’s publishing phenomenon Refinery 29 – reaching 400m women worldwide – have a very tight editorial stance – they are inclusive and political, keen to represent young women – and base their knowledge of their audience on social listening to micro communities and analysing readership data. The brands they work with to co-create sponsored content have to match their editorial values, but benefit from the implicit endorsement of a trusted media channel.


So the very definition of media is being overturned – and businesses formerly known as publishers are becoming e-tailers, financiers, content agencies, and lead generation experts.


If you’d like to talk through how to interpret these trends and identify opportunities for your media business, please get in touch to fix a time for a chat over the phone or over a coffee.

About the author:

Carolyn Morgan has over twenty years experience launching, growing, buying and selling specialist media businesses across print, digital and live events. Carolyn now advises publishers large and small on their digital strategy and writes and speaks on digital publishing strategy.