Digital Publishing Reader Revenue
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Media Makers Meet (Mx3) Berlin: “Growth should be driven by the product side, not sales and marketing”

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An exclusive event for those at the forefront of specialist media, Media Makers Meet (Mx3) took place recently in Berlin featuring one hundred media leaders who met to discuss business models, revenue generation, and more. The motto? ​​Learn. Share. Discuss. Meet. Partner.

October 19th and 20th saw the Media Makers Meet event take place in Berlin to discuss the opportunities and challenges B2B/Special Interest Media currently face. Sold out and restricted to 100 attendees, the event operated under Chatham House Rules so guests could talk and debate freely.

Here are a few TLDR takeaways:

* Challenges incoming, but Special Media is robust

Advertising is under pressure, staff shortages abound, and inflation is soaring. However, compared to B2C media, Special Interest Media shows significantly different behavior, especially in times of crisis when qualified information is more important than ever. Coupled with highly engaged audiences, Special Interest Media is better placed to weather the approaching storms. Key point: “Stay close to your audience, keep flexible and adaptable.”

* Print is under pressure

Special Interest Media is one of the last bastions of print, but this is under pressure as the cost of paper, energy, and production comes under severe pressure. Whilst some industries like the agricultural sector still have a high adoption of print, the direction of travel is clear – digital transformation. Print still has the possibility of becoming an optional, premium subscription but cover prices will need significantly higher adjustments as inflation nudges 60% YoY. Key point: “Digital does not work anything remotely like print. The best practice is to install a separate team for the digital side of the business.”

* A strong data strategy is essential

A solid first-party data strategy is key to securing future digital advertising revenues – it might take time to reach a critical mass of data, but the effort will be worth it in order to create stronger direct relationships with customers and glean more informed audience insights. For a Special Interest Media audience, trust is vital and data privacy is absolutely essential. Key point: “Before gathering data, the decision on the best data structure must be clarified. Only after the strategy and structure are clear can the choice of technology be made”.

* Revenue diversification and new content channels

Digital media provides the ideal opportunity to harness new content channels. Podcasts and newsletters were highlighted as particularly strong channels, with audio and video also making inroads – Germany even has a niche ‘radio station’ for craftsmen.

Events are also seen as a fertile area for Special Interest Media but come with a warning: Repeating a format year after year is a recipe for long-term decline. Instead, organizers need to surprise, challenge, and inspire. Hybrid events are also viewed as lucrative opportunities to expand revenue streams, especially in larger territories.

Consulting services and learning programs are also making inroads with many German Special Interest publishers leveraging e-learning programs, online checklists, professional development platforms, recruitment tools, and even legal summaries.

Opportunities abound – one specialist UK publisher has even repackaged some of its editorials and created evergreen content to be distributed through social media (allied to a strong SEO strategy).

Key point: Know your audience in-depth, understand their requirements, and build products to fulfill these needs. Growth must be driven by the product side and not by sales and marketing. Think outside the box!

* Private equity still retains a keen interest in Special Interest Media

The future for Specialist Interest Media is bright despite all the economical challenges it faces. Private equity companies are still showing strong demand and expect positive returns. However, a unique value proposition is key to generating their interest. Without that, the interest simply won’t be forthcoming.

The chief requirements for sale? Market leadership in a strong growth market, high subscriber retention, deep audience insights, good workflow and processes, and the ability to apply the business model to new markets. Key point: Leverage all your media assets to their fullest potential, with data at their heart.

Organizers Di5rupt are planning more events in the Media Makers Meet series – contact them for further details. The company is also organizing next year’s 45th FIPP World Media Congress in Cascais, Lisbon between 6th – 8th June, 2023.