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Portrait James Hewes

Predictions 2019: challenges and trends

James Hewes, CEO of FIPP, the network for global media, shares his predictions for the year ahead: the challenges and opportunities for magazine media around the world and the biggest trends (not unexpectedly: voice, AI and blockchain) in business in 2019.

What will be the five main challenges for the magazine industry in 2019?

I think the first challenge will clearly be around print revenue. In most markets, this will continue to decline, although there are signs that this is happening at a slower rate. In turn, this will create pressures on costs – which is probably the second challenge, how do we make traditional print operations even more efficient. I am fairly sure you will sure more merger and acquisition activity in 2019, even after the frantic deal-making of the past few years. Our third challenge is in advertising, where digital advertising, which has long delivered lower revenues per consumer than print, is now also facing a crisis of trust among marketers. We must continue to diversify our revenue base in 2019 to avoid dependence on advertising for our survival. Finally, I think there will continue to be challenges for publishers in attracting and retaining staff – the jobs market is ever-more competitive, particularly for young, digitally-savvy talent.

How should we tackle the challenges?

I think there are probably three major things publishers need to do. The first is to collaborate more. In areas such as challenging the power of big digital platforms and tackling digital ad fraud, the industry is far more effective if it operates with a single voice. Supporting organisations such as FIPP, your local publishing association or other international bodies is a very effective way of ensuring our voices are heard ‘as one’. The second is to continue our commitment to continuous learning. The media industry will change at an even faster pace in 2019 than it did in 2018. The only way you can keep up with this rate of change is to make both a personal and an organisational commitment to learning, Conferences, white papers, new stories, podcasts and videos – all of these provide a wealth of information from the industry that you must consider and absorb. The final aspect is around identifying new opportunities for your business though networking. Companies are becoming increasingly inter-connected, both in terms of their technology usage and their general business relationships. If you operate in isolation, the chances are you will be left behind. Committing yourself to regularly meeting new people and considering new ideas from third parties is an essential part of meeting the challenge of today’s media industry.

What are the five biggest opportunities for magazines in 2019?

Well, I can give you 11 opportunities! Our colleagues at Innovation Media Consulting, with whom we produce our annual Innovation in Magazine Media Report, have identified 11 new business models that publishers must pursue to successfully diversify their revenue. I won’t steal their thunder by telling you all of them, you’ll have to check out one of their regular presentations at industry events. But I do think that the biggest opportunity is in paid content. Our inaugural Digital Subscriptions Snapshot, published earlier this year, revealed a huge range of news publishers making significant revenue from charging consumers directly for their content. There is a real sense that consumers are increasingly aware of the value of journalism and are prepared to pay for it. The opportunity for magazine publishers is to move into this space too and I think you will see a large number of companies trying this next year. But before you dive into this space, you must be sure that you are producing high-quality, unique content that is valued by your audience, otherwise you will struggle to convince significant numbers of consumers to pay for it.

What new trends will have impact on the magazine business in 2019?

I guess the three biggest areas we’ll be watching 2019 are : i) voice; ii) AI; and, iii) blockchain. Of these, voice is the furthest advanced. There are over 50 million smart speakers now in circulation globally, mainly Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. The continued growth of these is going to make development of voice products essential for publishes in 2019. Usage of AI is mainly confined to other industries at present, particularly the growing self-driving car market. In publishing, we can expect greater use of AI in marketing, particularly around paywalls, as well the increased automation of routine tasks such as basic journalism and translation. Finally there is blockchain. This has been much-hyped and there’s no doubt that the first applications will be in the banking industry. However, there is a lot of potential usage for a permanent, unalterable record of transactions and ownership in our industry too and media companies would be wise to monitor developments closely.

This is only a very brief summary of some of the challenges and opportunities that our industry faces in 2019 – we will be discussing these and more at our two major events next year, the Digital Innovators’ Summit (Berlin, 25-26 March) and the FIPP World Media Congress (Las Vegas, 12-14 November), I look forward to seeing you there!

See you in 2019!

James Hewes President and CEO FIPP – the network for global media

FIPP Ibero America

FIPP Ibero America is the leading international media event for companies interested in doing business in Latin America, the Hispanic market in the USA and the Iberian Peninsula.

With Latin American media revenues set to rise for the 7th consecutive year in 2016 and the segment outstripping others in the US, the North, Central and South America hold plenty of opportunity for businesses in and/or looking to enter these markets.

When ?

Monday, 27 February, 2017 – Tuesday, 28 February, 2017
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Eastern Time)

Where ?

Eden Roc Miami Beach
4525 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Florida 33140

More details ?

Click HERE.

De 10 sleutelwoorden in magazineland

Midden oktober vond het FIPP-congres plaats, de jaarlijkse hoogmis voor wie met magazine media bezig is. Een overzicht in tien sleutelbegrippen.

  1. Longform

Premium, longform content vormt het hart van het DNA van een uitgever, zeggen ze zelf. Zo onderscheiden ze zich ook van digitale start-ups.

  1. Video

Willen magazine media zich onderscheiden van bloggers en contentondernemingen, dan moeten ze inzetten op nieuwe middelen en manieren. Video is daarbij een prioriteit. The Huffington Post verwacht dat binnenkort 50 % van zijn content video zal zijn.

  1. Social media

Integratie binnen social media platformen biedt uitgevers een unieke kans om hun bereik te vergroten. Keerzijde van de medaille: zo heeft een uitgever geen rechtstreeks contact meer met de lezer en beschikt hij niet meer over de gegevens van die lezer.

  1. Cultuur

De bedrijfscultuur wordt belangrijker dan de strategie. Wanneer een uitgever erin slaagt om de bedrijfscultuur te veranderen en met een open blik naar nieuwe technologieën en opportuniteiten te kijken, is een aangepaste strategie slechts een logische volgende stap.

  1. Podcasting

Podcasting is opnieuw hip. Voor het eerst lijkt er zowel engagement van het publiek als een manier om het te rentabiliseren.

  1. Micropayments

Dankzij Blendle en andere micropaymentsystemen lijken magazine media eindelijk een manier gevonden te hebben om te tonen dat hun content waarde heeft en ervoor betaald moet worden.

  1. Print

Print evolueert, maar print blijft actueel. Het succes van o.a. Flow toont aan dat er zeker een markt voor is. Nichemarkten zijn ideaal om nieuwe magazines te lanceren.

  1. Ad blocking

Adblockers vormen een bedreiging. De oplossing kan twee richtingen uitgaan: ofwel verbied je surfers die het gebruiken de toegang tot je site, ofwel zorg je voor betere en creatievere advertenties.

  1. Uitgevers

De rol van een uitgever verandert. Hij staat niet langer aan het roer van het schip. Hij is eerder de man die de borden draaiende houdt.

  1. Samenwerkingen komen soms onverwacht

Een uitsmijter: Advertentieakkoorden of andere samenwerkingen zijn niet noodzakelijk het gevolg van maandenlang onderhandelen. IBT Media nam Newsweek Magazine over nadat ze toevallig in hun zoektocht naar bedrijfsruimte in hetzelfde gebouw belandden.