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Three experts share publisher expectations for 2018

It’s been an eventful year for magazine media around the world. There was company consolidation and mergers. Publishers entered into new partnerships, opened retail stores, explored voice, AR and VR, produced pop-up limited-editions and expanded on events as the search for revenues – against the backdrop of Facebook and Google’s dominance in digital advertising – continued.

 

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Here Matt Egan (IDG), Josh Macht (HBR) and John Wilpers (IMC and author of FIPP’s annual innovation report) share their expectations for 2018.

***Hear more from Matt, John and Josh’s colleague Maureen Hoch at Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin, Germany from 19-20 March. Book your discounted Early Bird tickets, available for a limited period only, here***

Matt Egan, editorial director, IDG

Across the media landscape, 2018 will be remembered for a return to quality:

In terms of content and circulation we will continue to see users coalescing around fewer, more niche pieces of content. The era of the generalist portal is well and truly over: the goal is to be the best at one thing, and not do anything else.

From an audience acquisition point of view, search will continue to reflect user behaviour and deep, rich, expert content rather than ploys towards overt optimisation.

Media companies will stop talking about size of audience, and focus on responsiveness and engagement.

Joshua Macht, publisher, Harvard Business Review

I never love my predictions — nothing ever turns out the way you think it will!

But in 2018, we may see the continuation of some trends that are deeply impacting media. For example, Facebook and other social media are clearly dealing with what it means to be a grown-up media company. Not sure if the government will weigh in, but it’s possible.

I think we’ll also begin to see companies like Snap, which have stumbled a bit, find their footing as significant media players.

Lastly, I think we’ll continue to see downward trends for most print media, but the good news is that we’ll also start to see a number of these properties start to get significant traction with their digital reinventions.

John Wilpers, US senior director, Innovation Media Consulting

In a time when pollsters and predictions are proven pathetically wrong with regularity, it takes some hubris to try, but what the heck: Here is what I think should happen, not that it will:

  1. Publishers will realise that they and top management don’t know everything but the combined wisdom of their staffs might be a treasure trove of ideas to solve problems and innovate to the future. They will solicit ideas and empower internal teams to develop one idea a month and fund it (and I volunteer to help!).
  2. Small and mid-size media companies will give an innovative, creative staffer or two a half-day or even a full day a week to work on one innovation that data show might work with their audience (a skill for a voice-activated device, a chat bot, a niche pub or site, a 360 video...).
  3. Reader revenue efforts will go into high gear after early efforts have proven successful.

If media companies only do #1, they will have a much better year, internally and externally, than they have had in a long time. 

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