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Stop The Death Watch: Why The Publisher-As-Platform Model Will Save Us All

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At Social Media Week London, dailymotion exec shares how media properties and brands can survive and thrive in the ‘platform era.’

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Over the past decade, the story of media has been one of death. It doesn’t take much Googling to unearth headlines that dramatically announce the death of print, radio and TV—and advertisers are well aware of these changes as budgets shift to new platforms and formats. So, what do these changes mean for publishers, brands and consumers?

At Social Media Week London, Claudia Page, VP of Partner Product at dailymotion, presented a new paradigm in which publisher-platform hybrids are succeeding due to their verticalized approach to content and emphasis on premium, trusted storytelling (over UGC). These two factors, per Page, are must-haves when it comes to driving audience engagement amid an increasingly proliferated media landscape.

Here, we recap some key takeaways from Page’s talk. You can view the session in its entirety by subscribing to SMW Insider.

The media death watch is oversimplified

To set up her talk, Page cited industry trade publications’ penchant for declaring various media types as being “dead” or effectively going the way of the dinosaurs. While it’s true that digital platforms like Facebook and Google, along with smartphone technology, has dramatically changed the so-called traditional media trifecta of print, TV, and radio, the key defining term to describe this evolution is “proliferation,” not “death,” she argued.

Page noted a clear pattern. As we approach the modern era, dominated by digital platforms and mobile technology, new media formats are emerging at a much more rapid pace—and further, they are occurring in tandem. This new phenomenon has made it increasingly difficult for publishers to amass captive audiences and for advertisers to effectively reach those audiences.

Verticalization affects consumers, publishers & advertisers in unique ways

The impact of this on publishers has been a move toward radical verticalization. Some major print publications and TV networks have survived, but they have been joined by a flurry of niche offerings that cater to unique audiences who gravitate toward particular topics or passion points.

For consumers, this means more time spent with media. In the 90s, the average American watched a little over 4 hours of television per day. Today, that number is even higher (5 hours) and has been augmented with more than 4 hours of time spent with smartphones. In all, consumers today spent 10 hours a day with screens, Page noted, citing Nielsen data.

Publishers are struggling to keep up by evolving their distributing strategy to fit various formats and platforms. Vice magazine, for example, launched in 1996 as a print publication. After evolving into a web property in the mid-2000s, the media property now exists as a standalone channel, VICELAND, and distributes content on HBO, YouTube, and dailymotion, not to mention across a swath of social platforms.

Finally, for advertisers, these changes have created an ecosystem in which it becomes more difficult to reach consumers in a premium and brand-safe environment. Gone are the days of purchasing a mass media buy with the New York Times or CBS and calling it a day. With programmatic buying and trends in UGC, brands are becoming more and more at risk for appearing alongside unsavory content.

Leading publishers are shape-shifting as platform hybrids

The solution to overcoming the challenges posed by media proliferation, per Page, is to evolve toward a publisher-as-platform model. Citing BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and Medium as examples, she argued that this structure will allow publishers to provide channelized content experiences that are viewed as trusted and credible by their audiences.

The benefit to advertisers: a premium, brand safe environment wherein niche audiences can be reached with relevant content and messaging. Page noted that dailymotion recently overhauled its user experience and app to architect an ecosystem in which entertainment-seeking consumers, trusted publishers and premium advertisers can exist in harmony.

In her concluding remarks, Page emphasized that prioritizing verticalized consumption experiences from credible storytellers is the formula for building engaged audiences in within the publisher-as-platform paradigm.

Further analysis and commentary from “Stop The Media Death Watch: How The Publisher-as-Platform Model Will Save Us All”:

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