A stellar cast of newsmedia experts and publishers spoke at the International Newsmedia Marketing Association’s annual World Congress in New York May 15 through today, including New York Times Company chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Interactive Advertising Bureau’s CEO Randall Rothenberg, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer for VivaKi, Rishad Tobaccowala, Marketwatch.com founder Larry Kramer and Verdan Gang CEO Torry Pedersen.
Key themes were integration of traditional and digital businesses, selling advertising across media, engagement with audiences, branding valuable media businesses, monetising content and changing mindsets from traditional to innovative media businesses.
“The digital transformation is accelerating,” Pedersen said. VG and Verdans Gang have recently integrated in order for the company to experience efficiencies and synergies among staff members and processes. While the newspaper circulation is in decline, the company has enjoyed an average of 33 percent profit margin on the digital side.
Sulzberger discussed its early successes with its paywall strategy, and is now fervently pursuing a social media strategy. While it is too early to provide early numbers, the paid content strategy has produced about 100,000 subscribers after six weeks, he said. Now a heavy investment is being made in interactivity with Times stories through social media like Twitter and Facebook. “We are in the early stages of building engagement,” he said.
Rothenberg challenged the audience to drive premium prices for their digital advertising while the market is flooded with “cheap tonnage” and “frictionless ad inventory.” Media companies should focus their attention on branding to show the high value of their content in the media marketplace, a message that should be targeted to both their advertising customers and their readers.