As the local media industry forges ahead into 2022 and beyond, leaders in technology and services are developing ways to navigate the numerous opportunities that lie ahead.
LMA reached out to R&D members to provide insight about how they view changes to the local media industry. Interviews included:
- Matthew Ipsan, general Manager and business development, AdPerfect
- Martin Jensen, co-founder and chief commercial officer, NEXTA.IO
- Kevin King, head of brand and communications, Column
- Shannon Kinney, founder and client success officer, Dream Local Digital
- Peter Newton, U.S. CEO at Evvnt
- Kevin Rehberg, vice president, client development, Alliance for Audited Media
- Amnon Siev, CEO, GeoEdge
- Daniel Williams, co-founder and CEO, BlueLena
- Kim Wilson, founder and president, Social News Desk
Here’s what they said.
What do you think will be the most significant change to the local media industry in the next 1-3 years?
Matthew Ipsan: My sense is a great deal more local news organizations will pop-up, with some completely re-imagining the business model.
Martin Jensen: It’s been a topic for some time now, but preparing for the post-third-party-cookie world and investing in first-party data capabilities will be key elements of any successful digital campaign in 2022 and forward – regardless of company size and marketing budget. Investing in capabilities, and technology that can support it, is crucial, as we believe this will be requested by [small- and mid-size] clients sooner than later.
Additionally, we believe the [cost per thousand] pricing model will come under increased scrutiny, as more and more SMB advertisers are increasingly demanding better campaign performance with more transparency. In fact, the latest Borrell Associate SMB survey shows ROI being of most interest in 2022.
Also, finding the right balance between audience-based revenue vs. advertising revenue will continue to evolve. Seeing fewer ads and impressions is a likely scenario, but hopefully they will be more relevant, have a higher impact, and achieve better rates for publishers.
Lastly, publishers will further explore opportunities to join forces and build a walled garden of premium content – similar to Facebook and Google. Teaming up to ensure reach and competitive performance will be crucial to compete for the increasing digital budgets.
Kevin King: This might be biased, but I certainly hope (and believe) we will see more and more emerging technology companies come to market in support of the local media publishers. We know that Column will be among those mission-aligned partners. How publishers embrace technological change and how technology companies serve publishers will be a significant relationship to get right.
Shannon Kinney: I think we’ll see more media companies focusing more on investments in technology to streamline workflows and gain a deeper understanding of their customers and their relationship with those customers.
Peter Newton: Local media organizations embracing the power of developing relationships with individual audience members. Enriching personalized experiences will result in deeper audience loyalty and open up new commerce opportunities with consumers.
Kevin Rehberg: The shift to digital and the continued diversification of revenue. Local media will remain a vital source of community news and information but will also innovate to connect with readers through newsletters, podcasts and texting. When it comes to advertising, local media will become more like advertising agencies for local businesses by providing a range of marketing services and advertising solutions.
Amnon Siev: Two words: Audience trust. Across the industry, digital publishers will face a new frontier of bad ads – largely made up of clickbait and social engineering scams, which effectively devalue their editorial content. In 2022 and beyond, trust is the new brand equity – and scammy advertising remains the biggest threat to that trust. The local media industry will have to focus on aligning their brand and advertising content to maintain trust with their audiences. Creating a high brand trust environment is crucial to their current and future success.
Daniel Williams: As reader revenue models become universally adopted (in some form or fashion), over the next few years, we will see the pendulum swing back in the direction of bundling as consumer sensitivity to “subscription proliferation” intensifies. I also think over the next 1-2 years that a lot of philanthropic and foundation-funded projects will either prove a self-sustainable business model, or face uncertain futures, given the realities of the publishing business and the costs of operating a high quality journalism business. Our focus at BlueLena is to help these publishers be successful in the long run by focusing today on creating a strong foundation that involves building engaged, loyal audiences, then nurturing those relationships along a path to becoming reliable, recurring financial supporters.
Kim Wilson: I’m expecting to see a greater shift toward alternate revenue streams, particularly those that are grounded in digital and recurring revenue. Our print clients have been moving that direction for years and the emphasis has only grown stronger. Plus, we’re now seeing traditional broadcast newsrooms lean into memberships, newsletters and the like. At Social News Desk, we’ve put significant R&D effort into creating technology that will help newsrooms acquire digital customers now and into the future. And we’ve successfully developed a proprietary technology called Dynamic News Ads which turns a newsroom’s best content into a conversion. We’re excited to see how we can help newsrooms build up more subscribers, members and connections as this part of their business grows.