Bloomberg Media Summit: Surviving The Democratization of Publishing
At the Bloomberg Media Summit conference in New York earlier this month, representatives from traditional media publishers, new media outlets and digital marketing agencies gathered to discuss their favorite topic – content. The conversation predictably included the threat - or opportunity – that democratized publishing tools pose to major media and entertainment companies.
The proliferation of content creation and distribution platforms has made it easy for brands to produce and deliver real time content directly to consumers. The volume of media that results from the accessibility to tools simply thickens the “primordial soup,” as one panelist called it, that consumers must wade through to get news, evaluate products, or find data.
Aggregators and curators of content claim to facilitate the discovery process by making it easier for readers to efficiently synthesize the various inputs through a common voice or point of view. New media brands, said Henry Blodgett, editor of Business Insider, attract audiences who appreciate the near real-time access to information, even if it comes at a cost to fact-checking.
The blurring of the line between news and user generated content was hotly debated on several panels, with many traditional media companies struggling to maintain credibility and journalistic standards in the face of citizen reported breaking news and Twitter memes. To be a trusted source for news, media companies may forego being the first to break the story in order to research and validate sources.
Brands and Ad Sales
Media publishers that claim to maintain a high journalistic standard for news often struggle to balance the needs of brands that wish to access their audiences by sponsoring editorial content and placing advertisements on their properties.
On a panel entitled “Merging Content with New Technologies, Content Reinvention with the Next Generation of News Readers, Tablets and Mobile Devices,” Bob Carrigan, CEO of IDG Communications, a leading publisher of technology media, spoke of the need for a “three-legged stool” of news, advertising and sponsored editorial. “It’s important to balance the needs of all of our stakeholders,” he said, “so we give everyone a seat at the table and work to find an approach that helps editors, ad sales and marketers meet their goals.”
The social engineering of content raises issues for traditional media publishers who fear their brand authority only gets diluted by opening the floodgates to marketing sponsorships. These same organizations worry about being dis-intermediated by syndication platforms like YouTube, Facebook, blogs and aggregators that allow brands to publish directly to their audiences.Continued on the next page