The latest edition of Digiday's Confessions series brings precious insights shared by a publishing executive at a national newspaper who is frustrated at how slow publishers continue to be when responding to the biggest threats in digital media, whether it is how to deal with the platforms or the belief in the “mirage” of promised revenue created by ad tech.
In the interview, Digiday's counterpart exposes the major threat that: "Publishers must stop giving away their best assets – their journalism and direct monetisation – for scale." There is scant evidence that Facebook or other social media care about journalism. The recent issues around fake news and the inability to police it is one such episode. Their offer to publishers is nothing beyond: “Give me all your journalism for nothing, and we’ll collect all the audience data, and keep it within a walled garden.”
The interview provides an excellent explanation of why publishers have been continuously missing the point when it comes to digital. Self-criticism over the publishing industry is concentrated in this quote: “We were slow to recognise the decline of print, slow to recognise the failed promise of digital advertising, and slow to recognise that the promise of ad tech was to a large extent a mirage. We’re slow to change our business models, and we’re slow to get our act together as a group of publishers.”
Digiday's Confessions series is based on interviews and opinions of senior industry decision-makers; this digital medium grants anonymity to senior publishing and media professionals in exchange for their openness and truthfulness about the most difficult and even embarrassing issues for the industry. Read more about the story here.