News UK’s opening session at Ad Week 2015 offered some thoughts and predictions on the future of media. However, this rather ambitious theme focused largely around business models for publishers, content and – briefly – tech.
Douglas McCabe, an opinion leader for Enders Analysis opened with thoughts on millennials: “[They are] more brand loyal and read more news and video than ever before, but contribute no cash to this media world.”
McCabe felt the incentive to invest in content had broken down – “there is almost a dis-incentive to be an originator of content because of the cost,” he said.
McCabe commented on the new burgeoning news sites – “media brands have been shocked by how BuzzFeed and Vice and others have brought news to kids and invested heavily in it. They are fighting back hard,
but they are not producing appealing content in the right kind of way so they are not going to win.”
On business models, McCabe feels there is now a place for something different, citing the Guardian and The Times as examples that can both work, “although this didn’t look plausible two years ago for the Times.”
Now both newsbrands describe their business models as membership-based, McCabe commented. He felt that the The Times model is “quite extreme” and will still have to “adapt over time.” Meanwhile, The New York Times was the model that looked most attractive in the marketplace to McCabe.
On native advertising, Paul Bay, founder of Citizenbay was blunt: “It should stay in the section called advertorial where it’s always been,” he said.
“There is a danger of blurring lines to the extent that the consumer doesn’t know the difference.”
Bay felt technology was growing “at such a rate organisations can’t keep up. But individuals and small, flexible businesses can.”
The panel pointed to Android Auto and Apple Car Play as key new technologies – and mobile, of course, being at the centre of everything the consumer does. However, McCabe cautioned that there may be a “natural ceiling” with mobile advertising.
“Mobile spend may never catch up with time used,” he said. “Unless the value of reaching a user is determined to be far higher.”