- AI is more than a buzzword, but runs risk of becoming the ‘big data’ of the industry, i.e. most people use it completely out of context. Do we mean machine learning to moderate comments, or natural language interfaces for Google Home? Everything is getting mashed together!
- GDPR will be big disruptor – Mathias Döpfner suggested there was still time to change it, exhibitors spoke about being ‘GDPR ready’
- Despite Scott Armstrong making regular talks on how the Times of Oman said no to Google, it is clear the relationship has thawed. There were frequent mentions of DNI-funded projects, and even Döpfner, long known for a fractious relationship, made some cautiously optimistic statements.
- There is a wealth of startups solving niche but essential publisher problems. For example, how to run programmatic ads on newsletters, or processing micro-payments for articles.
- The WashPo is serious about selling arc to publishers… albeit one expert described it as almost too powerful! Will other players like Buzzfeed follow suit?
- Was interesting to see Mathias Döpfner so relaxed and on point fielding questions from Jeff Jarvis during a stellar opening session of the show. It was only a few years ago when Jarvis was openly critical of Döpfner’s vocal stance against Google. Apparently, no hard feelings on this day, both between these two magnetic figures in the industry and even toward Google. Well, Döpfner said he isn’t ready to declare peace on Google and other platforms, but he likes the direction of recent developments (interview here).
- When everybody is saying reach is dead as a KPI, Kevin Beatty of dmg media begs to differ. “Scale is absolutely important to us, because we believe, at this point in time, that digital advertising will actually make this business a hugely profitable business as well as actually building capital equity for our company. Not everybody agrees that that’s the case.” With 52 percent of its massive audience coming directly to MailOnline every day, he makes a good case.
- Michael Golden, Vice Chairman of The New York Times Co., said during the opening session that the NYT has reduced its churn in digital subscriptions about 50% in the last year. Despite The Times’ huge success in digital-only subscriptions, the company is still very dependent on its print revenue – to the tune of about 65 percent. Yet its latest Q2 earnings bolds well for the “Gray Lady”: 2.3 million digital subscribers, 63% more than in 2Q 2016. After the big bump in subscriptions coming off the US elections, they still managed to bring in 93,000 subscriptions in the quarter, a figure close to where Golden says they hope to average (per month) over time. Crucially, for the first time, digital subscriptions brought in more revenue than print advertisements (Q2).
- For those of us who think we are digital gurus, think again. “80-90 percent of people working in digital today don’t know what they are talking about,” said Esra Doğramaci (pictured above), Senior Editor of Digital at Deutsche Welle, during her presentation on video strategy. “It’s a new field.” That was just one of the head-turning nuggets from her. The other: Clicks, impressions; those are vanity figures for video, she says. They want help form a sustainable video strategy.” OK, you have my attention.
- It’s always encouraging to hear about investments announced and products being introduced at Expo. OK, you might expect more of that from digitally focused companies today, but there were a number of impressive announcements coming from the production side as well.
- Speaking of which, was interesting to see Müller Martini using VR glasses to allow visitors take a virtual tour of a modern mailroom in Europe. Then there was manroland featuring its MainPad new mobile service and maintenance tablet that the company says “delivers a reduction of downtime in case of damage and an increase in comfort when it comes to maintenance and repair of a press system.”
- Traditional “cross-media publishing” providers are increasingly saying their customers are not looking for “systems” anymore, but ways to drive business transformation and support the culture change in their newsrooms. What does this mean? On top of the basics of very clear planning and scheduling tools, it means providing clear dashboards around analytics or at least simple architecture that easily integrates other solutions that can do that, content testing, monetisation, and, yes, increasingly demands for AI-like tools.
- Adwonce and ppi Media were touting their self-service ad tools that put design and delivery in the hands of businesses and ad customers, a growing trend not just for small businesses and classified ads, it seems. Adwonce goes live with its first customer in late November.