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World Congress opens with discussions on paid content, digital economics

Yasmin Namini, president of INMA and Earl Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA began opening day of the INMA World Congress at The TimesCenter with introductions and spoke about the transformation from print to digital

Ross Dawson, the founding chairman of the Future Exploration Network and creator of the Newspaper Extinction Timeline, kicked off the morning talking about creating the future of news by personalising it for the individual.

The goal is not only for news brands to offer value to participants but to give participants the ability to create value as well. Community is a large part of a successful news media strategy, Dawson said: “The future of news is so fundamental to the future of humanity that the call to create this future is absolutely extraordinary.”  

Neal Zuckerman, partner and managing director of Boston Consulting Group, took the stage and focused his discussion around branded content, which he believes the next source of media growth.

Four speakers foreshadowed the next big changes for advertising including data usage and how to reach consumers during a panel discussion titled “Inside the Mind of Madison Avenue: What’s Coming Next.”

Invest in your growing audience, said Michael Zimbalist, senior vice president advertising product, research and development at The New York Times, told the audience during a panel discussion on advertising. Advertisers want two things, the panel emphasised: to reach audience at scale, and have a high degree of engagement with that audience.

What advertisers really want, Zimbalist said, is the same level of engagement your audience has with your news content. That’s where news media company’s audience relationship is key.

“You have to bring a big audience to the table,” he said. Branded content combines the advantages of news companies’ audience relationship and content expertise.

The panels of speakers continued as World Wrestling Entertainment Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios and Condé Nast, Executive Vice President/Consumer Marketing Monica Ray shared the topic of paid content strategies.

Barrios discussed the success WWE’s Network has seen within the past year, accumulating more than 1.3 million subscribers who pay US$9.99 per month to view their content unlimitedly.

Ray talked about the success The New Yorker saw after re-launching its Web site. The online magazine took down its paywall for a few months and then reinstated it, which was a hugely succesful move.

The next panel discussed Big Data and its many uses in relation to analytics and understanding your consumer. Greg Doufas, vice president of data science and audience intelligence with The Globe and Mail, outlined four major components to think about when it comes to big data: infrastructure and technology, data itself, talent, and value objectives.

To end the day of discussion, the last panel of speakers discussed the growing area of programmatic advertising.

There are two major aspects of programmatic advertising, said Jeremy Crandall, senior vice president of operations and client services at Adroit Digital. Automated programmatic, which includes real-time bidding (RTB), is the side heard more often: “To me, programmatic is like a BLT sandwich,” she said. “RTB is the bacon.”

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