EVENT RECAP: Six Takeaways from the FIPP World Media Congress Help Publishers Move Forward

August 31, 2022

By Jan Davis, M&A Media Content Creator with John McGovern, CEO/Owner-Grimes, McGovern & Associates

Grimes McGovern joined 350 participants from 30 countries in Cascais, Portugal, for the 44th FIPP World Media Congress, organized and hosted by Di5ru.pt. John McGovern, who spoke at the Congress, noted that the overarching theme of the conference was the impact of the pandemic on publishing companies and how publishers are finding their new normal in these changing times.

While the pandemic shuttered many businesses, some publishers found their page views and subscriptions increased in 2020, resulting in a “Covid Bounce.”   However, while many media companies witnessed a significant spike in activity in 2020, user fatigue was evident in 2021. Total users and page views haven’t kept up the pace seen in early 2020.

James Hewes, president & CEO at FIPP, remarked on the industry during COVID: “Newspapers, which we long thought would be the most vulnerable to digital disruption, have proved to be surprisingly resilient developing successful digital subscription strategies. Magazines and the magazine media industry lag far behind in digital subscriptions but have arguably a bigger opportunity in e-commerce. Many of them, though, are just starting their digital transformation journey.”

Speakers and attendees alike have a positive outlook on the industry and assert that there has never been a better time to work in this industry. Arnaud de Puyfontaine, CEO of Vivendi, told the audience, “The publishing industry has weathered the crisis and, in some ways, has benefited from new consumer habits. The pandemic has accelerated what we have been experiencing over the last few years, particularly in the trends linked to the digital revolution. Permanent reinvention is the core media industry.”

 So, the million-dollar question is, “where do we go from here?” To answer that question, McGovern shares these top takeaways from the conference:

 Go digital. If you haven’t migrated to digital, do so now. Digital allows publishers to expand in areas not available with print, such as podcasts and video.  Remember, the younger generations are continuing in various ways. But shifting to digital does not mean swapping dependency on one revenue stream for another. Profits must be reinvested in new revenue streams. 

Have multiple revenue streams.  Magazine and newspaper publishers must develop new revenue streams to spread risk across several big bets. Some digital revenue streams should be direct to consumer revenue because industry revenue sources in the future rely on digital subscriptions and e-commerce.

Know your readers.  Invest in ways to better understand your readers. If you are experiencing growth, figure out why the change is happening in specific segments.  The underlying shift in the industry is moving towards a direct relationship funded by direct interaction with readers and consumers.  Understand your readers from a digital perspective. Reduce ad clutter; the monetization will follow and provide a better consumer experience.

Content is still king.  Invest in digital, print, and eCommerce content, update it and keep it focused on your brand.  Invest in e-commerce. Successful magazines in the B2C world are mixing content with products on multiple digital platforms.

Build scale.  Media companies know that they need scale, which is witnessed by the amount of consolidation and transformation in the industry.  There will be more mergers and acquisitions as companies seek to build scale, not only within publishing but moving into other sectors.

Maximize first-party data. First-party data is an asset. Make sure you are building, harnessing, and leveraging first-party data.


Media/PR and Advisory Questions Contact:  John McGovern, CEO/Owner at (212) 255-9700 or email: [email protected]



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