FIPP London…view from a millennial part II

Since then I began to monitor the FIPP website to stay up-to-date on the latest publishing industry news. In January of this year, when I was informed that a classmate and myself were invited by Chris Llewellyn to attend the FIPPLondon Conference in May, truly at that time I was very excited and certain ideas began to take shape in my head. I made up my mind to conduct my dissertation research in the area of magazines’ mobile publishing, as I had this peculiarly precious opportunity offered by FIPP.

The FIPP London event was an extremely valuable opportunity for me to learn about the latest trends in the magazine publishing sector from speeches delivered by the leading industry figures in this field. Meanwhile, it seemed to be a valuable way of understanding the issues that I will explore in the dissertation. After the preliminary organisation of notes taken during the conference, I think it is time that I write about my recent experience and reflections on the conference held in London. Overall, it is an invaluable and enriching learning experience for me. It provides me with a platform to be well informed of the innovations in the magazine media industry and meet industry thought leaders. Certain speeches presented give me fresh ideas for my dissertation project and encourage me to try to do some research that I had not been exposed to before.

FIPP London was comprised of four separate sessions, in which Mobile and Tech channels were a great way for delegates to hear more about the most recent insights into mobile strategies, technology and innovation in today’s complex and evolving mediascape from talks given by leading innovative media players. In recent times, although ‘mobile-first’ is the buzzword in the contemporary publishing industry, this much more recent phenomenon of magazine publications ongoing shift to the mobile media has not yet been thoroughly investigated in the academic circle. Hence, the FIPP Mobile session provided an avenue for me to understand mobile platform strategies through fabulous real world case studies drawn from various magazine media companies, such as PopSugar’s “IPA” (Immediacy, Personalisation, Authenticity) content strategy, key components of good mobile content at The Daily Beast, new mobile initiatives and e-commerce activities of Time Inc., Quartz’s new and unusual messaging-style app and its monetisation, app product – Espresso from The Economist to reach on the go consumers, the New York Times’ news and storytelling in virtual reality and VR monetisation, dominant logic and innovative business model developed by the Harvard Business Review to cope with threats and seize opportunities in a mobile and social world, and so forth. These vivid case studies dramatically illustrate how magazine media companies produce and distribute content on the mobile platform and other digital channels to engage and satisfy consumers, appeal to advertisers and find suitable and viable revenue models for long-term survival.

Besides, presentations delivered by Peter Kreisky, John Wilpers and Ross Sleight in the FIPP Mobile channel shed light on how the publishing industry has strategically responded to the rise of mobile and gave novel insights into mobile publishing. The presentation from Peter Kreisky discussed how magazine media has been transformed for a mobile generation, pointing out that business model transformation and fundamental cultural change are required in the process and stressing the key role of ‘bringing the audience inside’ and ‘building a culture of co-creation’ played in the transformation. John Wilpers’ speech highlighted that mobile is the future of content consumption, in which mobile-only experience and mobile-only content are key elements. Wilpers suggested that magazine media create a mobile-only experience in the light of mobile users’ two use cases, namely, micro moments and me moments. At the same time, he identified ten rules for producing mobile-only content. However, mobile is subdivided into two aspects – smartphones and tablets and each has unique user experience, therefore, as Wilpers emphasised, one-size-fits-all strategy is unwise and unworkable. The talk given by Ross Sleight also underscored the growing importance and crucial role of mobile along with organisational innovation and cultural transformation. According to Sleight, mobile is the present and the future and it is a behaviour rather than a device. Additionally, Sleight proposed that publishers build platforms for mobile instead of sites and apps and innovate on a number of levels, such as organisational structure and work practices.

Another significant theme of the FIPP Mobile conference is the importance of social media platforms to build engagement with existing consumers and expand audience reach. In the conference, Ruth Feldman displayed how Martha Stewart Living has embraced and used Facebook Live to reach consumers and build audiences; Johan Hufnagel explained French newspaper Libération utilises a new way – Facebook Instant Articles – to publish and display news stories to its users. Cosmopolitan US added another highlight to this theme, that distributing content on Facebook and Snapchat Discover to grow user base and achieve brand extension. Besides, it has set up an in-house video production studio to develop content for social platforms.

Last but not the least, the ‘Gen-Narrators’ report involving fascinating global research data on millennials’ media habits, attitudes and behaviours from The Economist and the presentation from Jesper Laursen on how native advertising plays out in the global magazine media industry aroused my great interest. The former research project tackled the common misperception around millennials’ media consumption and further revealed that traditional media brands play a key role in millennials’ lives, which goes against stereotypes. Through sub-segment of the millennials surveyed, a particular group of influential millennials called ‘gen-narrators’ and its four standout traits were identified. These findings provide extremely useful information to rethink and rediscover millennial consumers and find effective ways of exploitation and utilisation of this special group. The latter presentation provided a brief overview of key survey research findings on current and future trends in native advertising. Laursen highlighted that there are many opportunities ahead for native advertising and content marketing in a changing ecosystem where traditional advertising tends to underperform and ad-blockers are rising rapidly, although he discovered certain threats to the growth and success of native advertising.

All in all, FIPP London was inspiring and productive and it is certainly a valuable addition to my graduate studies. Plenty of items and information that I cannot access anywhere else but at the FIPP London are really useful and helpful to me.

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FIPP London…view from a millennial

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