COMMENT 

Revenue first

James Evelegh's editorial from today's edition of InPubWeekly.

By James Evelegh

Revenue first

Yesterday, Jim Bilton unveiled the key findings from this year’s Media Futures (previously known as Publishing Futures) research at Havas’ impressive 10th floor offices near King’s Cross. Lovely view of the Regent’s canal by the way.

In a whirlwind tour through the research, five things stood out for me: 1. After a dire 2017, things are beginning to look up… slightly. All key metrics (except ‘marketing spend’) were up on last year, and publishers are feeling fairly bullish about their prospects for 2019. It’s still tough out there though. 2. There’s a new sense of realism in the air. Whilst AI, VAA and VR are on everyone’s radar, the real investment is going into the old favourites: website optimisation, database, e-newsletters and paid-content. Furthermore, whilst developing new revenue streams is still important, publishers are putting greater emphasis on developing their existing ones. 3. We are less obsessed about platforms: the old labels of ‘digital-first’ and ‘mobile-first’ are giving way to ‘audience-first’ and ‘revenue-first’. 4. More change is around the corner. No surprise there, although the research did indicate a slight slowdown in the rate of change this year. “Massive” change is expected by publishers over the next two to three years. 5. Real change requires real investment. Sadly, it can’t be done on the cheap. It also requires a clear understanding of where you are now (something a lot of publishers don’t have), knowing where you want to go, and developing a set of robust KPIs to measure your progress along the way. Simple.

(Finally, two things: Firstly, the early-bird discount for The InPublishing Guide to Paid Content Strategies ends tomorrow and, secondly, we’re currently putting together the mailing list for the Sep/Oct issue of InPublishing magazine. To be added to the free circulation, please register here.)