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Rebooting Media: The Digital Publishing Revolution for a Fully Social Web

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Ben Elowitz brings together eight of the most thoughtful media industry influencers and offers their most cogent assessment of the future of media on the social web.

Ben Elowitz brings together eight of the most thoughtful media industry influencers and offers their most cogent assessment of the future of media on the social web.

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  • 1. Rebooting Media: The Digital Publishing Revolution for a Fully Social WebJeff Berman Wenda Harris Lewis DVorkin Erik Flannigan Ben Elowitz Anthony Soohoo Greg Clayman Theresia Gouw Jason Hirschhorn NFL and Millard Forbes Media MTV Networks Wetpaint Digital Media The Daily Ranzetta MediaBuddy Media Media Link LLC Entertainment Entrepreneur Accel Partners ReDEFined Group A digital media thought leadership publication sponsored by
  • 2. Rebooting Media: The Digital Publishing Revolution for a Fully Social WebWinter 2012 03 Introduction by Ben Elowitz, Co-Founder and CEO, Wetpaint 05 How Facebook Is Crushing Search by Jeff Berman, General Manager of Digital Media, NFL; board member, Buddy Media 08 Facebook Delivers Sharing on Steroids by Greg Clayman, Publisher, The Daily 10 Tearing Down the Walls That Traditional Media Built by Lewis DVorkin, Chief Product Officer, Forbes Media 12 Building Great Relationships With Your Social Media Fan Base by Erik Flannigan, EVP Digital Media, MTV Networks Entertainment Group 14 The Three S’s of Social Media–Surprise, Serendipity and Spontaneity by Jason Hirschhorn, Curator of Media ReDEFined 17 Turbo-Charging the Web’s New Personal Recommendation Engine by Wenda Harris Millard, President & COO, Media Link LLC 19 How ecommerce Is Blazing a Trail on the Social Web for Publishers by Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, Partner, Accel Partners 22 The People-Powered Web Is Revolutionizing Innovation by Anthony Soohoo, Digital Media Entrepreneur 24 Conclusion by Ben Elowitz, Co-Founder and CEO, Wetpaint
  • 3. 03 Introduction By Ben Elowitz Co-Founder and CEO, Wetpaint The Ultimate Social Network – course of the last several years, I’ve been immensely Confronting an Industry’s Greatest Challenge grateful for those leaders’ intelligence and vision. As Don Graham, Chairman and CEO of The So, I thought it was only fitting to help create the Washington Post Company, recently remarked on- ultimate social network – one that will enable our stage at a conference of leading CEO’s, the media industry to share the smartest ideas as it remakes industry as we have known it for the last 100 years digital media. is collapsing. The basic structure of our industry   – content creation, packaging, distribution, and That’s what this compendium is all about. monetization – have shifted so substantially that the   rug has literally been pulled out from underneath Rebooting Media: The Digital Publishing media’s business model. Revolution for a Fully Social Web brings together eight of the most thoughtful influencers and offers A new model must be created – and the DNA of the their most cogent assessment of the new online medium itself has been irreversibly altered so that it relationship-building that is helping to connect is now innately social. people in absolutely unprecedented ways. And yet, in the midst of this upheaval, I’ve found Together, these eight contributors reinforce three that even the brightest and most well informed dominant themes: strategies are able to tap only part of media’s new nature and capture just a slice of the industry’s Building a media brand on the new social Web remaking. means that publishers have to meet consumers where, when and how they want. It’s all about At a time like this, to get a complete picture of user-driven pull, and publishers need to offer the territory ahead, there is nothing wiser than experiences and establish relationships that may not integrating perspective from the best and brightest be on their own terms. people in the publishing world. And, over the 3
  • 4. 03 Introduction continued from page 3 Facebook is a transformative platform driving Anthony Soohoo, a digital media consultant and new personalization and connectivity across the adviser, focuses on the way that the people-powered upstart social Web. We are still waiting to see all of Web is changing innovation. what Facebook ultimately becomes, but we know it Wenda Harris Millard, President of Media Link represents a once-in-a-generation paradigm shift. LLC, advances the notion of a new personal recommendation engine on today’s Web. Any way you look at it, search (as we know it) is declining. The open sharing of social networks, and Erik Flannigan, EVP of Digital Media at MTV Networks the power of social endorsement, are seriously altering Entertainment, shows how to build great relationships what consumers look for on the Web, and how we’re with social media fan bases. engaging with content. The search algorithm has lost Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, a Partner at Accel Partners, out – big time – to the will of the audience. zeroes in on the way that ecommerce is blazing a trail   for social Web publishers. But the most powerful insights are in the essays that   follow from each of our eight contributors. I have already learned a lot from each of these people Jeff Berman, General Manager of Digital Media for the and their pieces, and I hope you do, too – not only to NFL and Buddy Media board member, talks about how build your own ideas, but to help our industry move Facebook is eclipsing search. forward. To that end, I invite further conversation with Greg Clayman, Publisher of The Daily, explains why me, and with our contributors. Facebook is taking sharing to a whole new level. The digital dialogue is so essential as we all work to re- Jason Hirschhorn, Curator of Media ReDEFined, invent publishing for 21st century audiences. considers the element of surprise in social media.   Sincerely, Lewis DVorkin, Chief Product Officer at Forbes Media, discusses how he’s tearing down the walls that Ben Elowitz traditional media built. CEO and Co-Founder of Wetpaint 4
  • 5. 05 How Facebook Is Crushing Search By Jeff Berman General Manager of Digital Media, NFL; board member, Buddy Media Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the table. Another advantage if you’re a legacy media relationship between media and its audience? property – let’s say The Wire or The Godfather – is that you now have a chance to stay in the Radically. The conversation has historically been conversation and continue it, so you’re alive and pretty much one way – media to audience or you remain active in the culture. You can keep audience to audience. And it hasn’t been at scale. the property and the franchise in front of new In the new world, however, the conversation is and existing audiences, thanks to the new digital scaled and omni-directional. Since Gutenberg, or tools. If the show is taken off the air, for instance, “Audiences are empowered today, at least since Marconi, media has had a massive it can still be all over Facebook. Audiences are and folks want to participate in megaphone. But the audience hasn’t had real empowered today, and folks want to participate in the conversation. No one may be power. Thomas Paine and his patriotic pamphlets the conversation. No one may be able to control the may be the exception; Paine had a voice and a conversation, but people do want to shape it – and able to control the conversation, platform, but it wasn’t a scalable model and it lacked they can. The social Web gives them choices, and it but people do want to shape it – speed. Today, everyone is a publisher, and there provides options and alternatives for publishers and can be millions of Thomas Paines, reaching tens media players, too. and they can. The social Web gives of millions of people instantaneously. Everyone them choices, and it provides who wants to create compelling content, or a Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine movement, now has the tools. This is a very different Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), options and alternatives for world from even seven years ago. so how will search change as the Web becomes publishers and media more social? players, too.” Q: What’s changed fundamentally about media with the rise of the social Web, and what do Here are some powerful numbers from a recent publishers need to do to adapt? Forrester report. In 2004, 83 percent of Internet users deployed search engines to find content. First, if you’re involved in a one-way discussion, That was before the rise of Facebook. By 2010, it you’re not taking advantage of the social Web was 61 percent. So, we saw a drop of a quarter in a opportunity, and you’re leaving a ton on the six-year time frame, the same time frame in which 5
  • 6. 05 How Facebook Is Crushing Search continued from page 5 social media took off. This isn’t a coincidence; it is, Finally, I’m especially interested in what Apple does however, a causal relationship – and it makes sense, with TV, and what will happen when Web TV is given what we know. connected at scale and social functionality is built into the experience. The ability to share in real-time On a more sweeping level, we’ve historically learned straight from whatever screen you happen to be about shows to watch and diapers to buy because viewing will meaningfully change the way we we’ve spoken to friends and family. Now we’re taking choose what content we engage with and how we these word-of-mouth conversations to the digital engage with it. networks. And we’re not just using Google to search for the answers; we’re going to our friends’ Facebook pages Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, (and, increasingly, to Twitter, particularly for real-time with greater frequency, media is distributed multi-platform engagement). This is trusted referral through social channels? at scale, and it’s fast and reliable. That’s why Facebook represents such a monumental shift. There’s an apparent conflict out there right now. The brand world has never been more crowded than But let’s not forget that Facebook is just seven years old; it is today. And yet it’s never been easier to build You Tube is six years old; Groupon is three years old; a massive new brand. The reason? As the universe the iPad is 18 months old – so anyone who proclaims a gets more crowded, brand-building tools are being clear vision of the digital world even five years into the disintermediated. Spotify is a good example. All of a future is either a prophet or a fool. Broadly speaking, sudden, it’s skyrocketing, in no small part, because you will see evolution in SMO, and a continued deep its offering is social. The same is true for LivingSocial integration of social functionality. The key point here and Groupon. These businesses have exploded is that Facebook is a part of today’s Internet operating like we’ve never seen before largely because of system, so the efficiency and reliability of social sharing social functionality. People find it easy to share and peer reviews is going to increase big-time. In other their experiences about the products, and they words, the 83 percent, which fell to 61 percent, will fall like having others show them the way to the even further as the social Web grows. marketplace. This is authentic social content. 6
  • 7. 05 How Facebook Is Crushing Search continued from page 6 Q: What are the critical success factors in publishing as we look to 2020; and who will be the winners? The old axiom that you have to fish where the fish are holds true so it starts with platform ubiquity. We’ve seen this already with the explosive growth of mobile, and it’s just going to intensify as a necessary success factor over the next decade. For the vast majority of publishers, you will have to empower your audience to experience your content where, when, and how they want. For startups, this is in their DNA. But the recent history of media suggests such change is not easy for mature publishers. You simply may have to cannibalize profitable (but declining or soon-to-be-declining) businesses to build for the future. That, or risk watching a newcomer come along and eat your lunch. Jeff Berman is the General Manager of Digital Media for the NFL. He previously held a series of positions at MySpace, ultimately serving as President of Sales & Marketing. Prior to entering the digital media space, Berman was Chief Counsel to United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and a public defender representing children charged in the District of Columbia’s adult criminal courts. He also held an adjunct professorship at the Georgetown University Law Center. 7
  • 8. 08 Facebook Delivers Sharing on Steroids By Greg Clayman Publisher, The Daily Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine relationship between media and its audience? Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), so how will search change as the Web becomes Facebook allows media to engage with audiences more social? in new ways, and the amount of commentary, feedback and interaction with audiences is greater Before the social Web, online search was entirely than ever. Facebook also allows for a greater about looking for pages. And relevance was defined degree of discovery. By dramatically simplifying by how many influential sites were linking to a given “By dramatically simplifying the ability to share anything, Facebook has hyper- page. This is the Google world: the link economy. the ability to share anything, charged distribution for all media products: free, Social adds an imporant layer to this – “What is it that the people I know and trust like?” “Where Facebook has hyper-charged paid, subscription, ad-supported; they’ve made distribution friction-free. It’s one thing to tell a friend do they go?” “Who do they trust?” “What’s in their distribution for all media about something you like. That’s been happening worldview?” This examination of one’s own orbit is products: free, paid, subscription, from the beginning of time. It’s quite another to part of what makes social media so fascinating from “like” an article, a song, a video, etc. and be able to a search perspective, it’s a whole new dimension to ad-supported; they’ve made explore. And one that’s clearly not lost on Google as instantly broadcast to everybody you know. distribution friction-free.” evidenced by their recent launch of Google+. Publishers need to embrace the social Web. They have to be where their audiences are and We’re in the age of the curator. The more do what they can to make their content easy to “infinite” the Web becomes the more difficult it share, and to digest across any given platform. is to find the media that is relevant to me. I think curators are going to be ever more important in the coming years –Mike Allen’s POLITICO Playbook and Jason Hirschhorn’s Media ReDEFined are two great examples who come to mind. 8
  • 9. 08 Facebook Delivers Sharing on Steroids continued from page 8 Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, Q: What are the critical success factors in with greater frequency, media is distributed publishing as we look to 2020; and who will through social channels? be the winners? For one thing, you have to allow many-sided You have to be nimble with distribution and go conversations on today’s emerging and evolving social where the audiences are. You also have to work Web. That means ceding some control in order to very hard to engender trust and build recognition engage with consumers and give them the experience and reputation. You want people to know you that they want. Sharing is the cornerstone of brand and feel good about your brand so that you can building on the social Web today. move quickly to take advantage of any and all new technologies as they develop and scale. This represents It’s also important to have a strong editorial voice. future growth. Content aggregators, for example, might give you Greg Clayman is Publisher of The Daily. Launched by News a tool to find just what you’re looking for. But that Corporation in early 2011, The Daily is a tablet-native national specificity can lack the serendipity of stumbling news brand built from the ground up to publish original on something new by following a strong editor or content exclusively for the iPad. Prior to joining The Daily, curator. That serendipity is important and is how Clayman was executive vice president of Digital Distribution we learn to trust some voices over others. & Business Development for MTV Networks (MTVN). Before MTVN, Clayman co-founded Upoc, one of the first mobile content companies in the United States. 9
  • 10. 10 Tearing Down the Walls That Traditional Media Built By Lewis DVorkin Chief Product Officer, Forbes Media Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the participate. I think you have to clearly state and relationship between media and its audience? transparently label each contributor’s identity, so users can form their own judgments. In the old There is an interaction between the two. Facebook world, traditional media would decide who got turns everybody into a publisher. They publish respect and who was worthy. what’s important and interesting to them, and they share it with friends and colleagues; they become Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine publishers like the media. A whole group of people Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), “Publishers who adapt to the is distributing content to friends and putting a value so how will search change as the Web becomes social Web need to understand on it. And that value is important to friends. People more social? all over are distribution channels today, and that content is content. Publishers, they’re editing their feeds. But as they edit their Search will always be important as a way of marketers, and audiences all feeds, they’re editing themselves. discovery, so publishers have to continue to create content; each brings optimize; they can’t give up SEO. But now there’s Q: What’s changed fundamentally about media a new layer, and that’s social media. So you have knowledge and expertise, and with the rise of the social Web, and what do to work with tools like Twitter and Facebook to it’s mingling in one place. So publishers need to do to adapt? understand where the conversations are, who is spreading the word, and how to get your relevant publishers must accept this new Publishers who adapt to the social Web need to content in that stream in a way that’s positive. There reality. They no longer control the understand that content is content. Publishers, are a number of opportunities to become part of marketers, and audiences all create content; each content platform, and they have this world; and social media, which drove zero traffic brings knowledge and expertise, and it’s mingling in the past, can now be a significant traffic driver to invite others into the process.” in one place. So publishers must accept this new if you optimize content for it. The key question is reality. They no longer control the content platform, how you get the edge in Facebook ranking versus and they have to invite others into the process. Google page ranking. The traditional role as media gatekeeper isn’t valid anymore. The question is how you let others 10
  • 11. 10 Tearing Down the Walls That Traditional Media Built continued from page 10 Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, Q: What are the critical success factors in with greater frequency, media is distributed publishing as we look to 2020; and who will through social channels? be the winners? At Forbes, we now have a core group of full-time staff The economics of publishing today and going forward people and a core group of contributors. Most of are vastly different than they were 20 years ago. And these contributors are publishing content under their we’re not going to return there. Publishers must create own individual names and own individual brands of scalable new business models for content creation and knowledge. By doing this, we’re curating, and we’re the voracious appetite for content. Staffers alone can’t extending the Forbes brand, especially with all the meet this need, or equal the expertise of thousands of comments and conversations that result. Advertisers contributors. Publishers can’t control this experience and marketers can take advantage of this extended either; so the trick is how to open up and still maintain brand, and they get to use the same tools, because brand values and attributes, while helping people feel they can also create content. Everyone who’s involved a sense of partial ownership. Traditional media built believes in our brand attributes – enterprise, the up walls – between journalists and audiences; entrepreneur, smart investing, and doing something journalists and advertisers; and advertisers and good with wealth that will make a difference. So, the audiences. But media is about connections. If you extended Forbes brand is enabling like-minded control the connections, it’s not what everyone wants. people, people who believe in what we believe in, You can’t maintain silos; I just don’t see how you can do to share information and insights. that anymore. Lewis DVorkin is the Chief Product Officer at Forbes Media. He joined the company after True/Slant, his entrepreneurial content network, was acquired by Forbes in the spring of 2010. Previously, Dvorkin has been Page One Editor of The Wall Street Journal, Senior Editor at Newsweek, and an editor at The New York Times. He has also been Senior Vice President, Programming, at AOL, and played a significant role in the 11 launch of TMZ.com
  • 12. 12 Building Great Relationships With Your Social Media Fan Base By Erik Flannigan EVP Digital Media, MTV Networks Entertainment Group Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the and that is looking for relationships with shows relationship between media and its audience? and personalities. That means we have to create more and more digital content, and it has to be Facebook is a platform, not just a Web site, content that can stand alone. If you want to build and it has created a public sentiment meter. a fan base, you have to do this with content. And In fact, sometimes there seems to be wild over- this has probably made us at MTV think more reactions to the sentiment expressed by the “Like” about marketing our shows all year long, not just at button. And many people might suggest that “Like” premiere. “On some level, the social Web has created a currency of some kind. Whether it’s breaks down the walls for those actually worth something or not remains to be seen, Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine however. It may end up being the lowest possible who want to go there. Real Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), of all audience benchmarks of interest. We don’t so how will search change as the Web becomes people tell us how they feel in an know yet. Some of our properties get modest traffic more social? unvarnished way, in an through Facebook; others get 75-80 percent of their traffic through Facebook. From my perspective, Search is like fixing your tire. There are times when unfiltered way.” though, it offers a measure of sentiment, a measure you have to do it. So, it will continue. That said, the of what is most socially relevant. idea that search is the end all and be all is definitely changing. We saw this in focus groups we did with Q: What’s changed fundamentally about media young men. They said if something is important with the rise of the social Web, and what do enough, it will find me. All I need is Twitter and publishers need to do to adapt? a newsfeed. Also, I think more and more people understand that search is a game, that the search On some level, the social Web breaks down the system is gamed. And so, search has become less walls for those who want to go there. Real people satisfying, and consumers are moving away from tell us how they feel in an unvarnished way, in an their reliance on search. Social filters are better unfiltered way. There is a fan base that’s active and more timely, especially because you can on social media platforms that wants more, run out of things to search for. We’re moving 12
  • 13. 12 Building Great Relationships With Your Social Media Fan Base continued from page 12 to a future where we’ll have some version of tracking, Q: What are the critical success factors in managing and increasing prominence of the super- publishing as we look to 2020; and who will influencers. And I believe that parsing out the most be the winners? influential of your social followers will become big, and become a business. We must fix the issue of monetization in digital space. There is a horrible battle brewing between the Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, growth of the audience and the lack of currency with greater frequency, media is distributed to monetize. And there’s nothing – no real answers through social channels? – on the horizon. TV has been online for five years, for example, and the problem hasn’t been solved. There’s It’s tough. And it’s easy to disassociate brands and big growth and big innovation, and yet we haven’t content. That’s why we need to do more when figured this out. it comes to thinking things through to the end Erik Flannigan joined MTV Networks from AOL, where he was experience. This is important, and you can see that vice president of programming. Before that, he was at Buena consumers are giving publishers credit when there’s Vista Datacasting / The Walt Disney Company as vice president an open dialogue. Instagram is a good example here. of programming. And prior to that, he served as vice president They have thought about the end-to-end experience. of music services and programming at RealNetworks. Earlier, It’s much more than a name. Its identity is tied to Flannigan was senior vice president, Entertainment Verticals, for the Walt Disney Internet Group. an experience, to sharing. And they didn’t allow themselves to just be a platform. They are aspiring to become a noun, not just a brand. 13
  • 14. 14 The Three S’s of Social Media – Surprise, Serendipity and Spontaneity By Jason Hirschhorn Curator of Media ReDEFined Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the Q: What’s changed fundamentally about media relationship between media and its audience? with the rise of the social Web, and what do publishers need to do to adapt? Facebook is obviously a transformative platform. It’s a disruption in the distribution of content. The It’s clear that media is becoming unbundled. It’s also social endorsement in “sharing” or “liking” a multi-platform as the access points are fragmented. piece of content on a platform like Facebook is It’s real time or archived and it’s on-demand. This almost as important as the content itself. And sets the trend for what and where people consume. “Traditional media seems slightly while they like the digital “word of mouth” I think this In today’s new and evolving social environment, hindered because it holds on to scares the film, TV and publishing industries. Why? the packaging and distribution are under less Because, unlike in the past, they are not controlling its traditional standards. Whether control. Again, the social endorsement of content the distribution and conversation the way they used is just as important as who created the content or it is scheduling in television, to. The “feed” is taking on search, too, because users what it’s about. Our interests widen on Facebook or definitions of journalism, and are ultimately using it as a discovery platform. You Twitter, and we’re able to see the tastes and interests may go to Google to find what you already knew of people we respect or know. We used to turn creators as curators or controlling you wanted but now the content streams deliver to TV, radio and print for all our cues, but we’re the entirety of your brand. But you content you had no idea you wanted, and with now going to Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr… to an endorsement from someone you know or follow. our friends and the people we follow. Traditional things are slowly changing. New This social endorsement changes the way you media seems slightly hindered because it holds on forms of media bring spontaneity, discover and consume content. to its traditional standards. Whether it is scheduling serendipity and personalization.” in television, definitions of journalism, and creators as curators or controlling the entirety of your brand. But things are slowly changing. New forms of media bring spontaneity, serendipity and personalization. There are always surprises within your content 14
  • 15. 14 The Three S’s of Social Media – Surprise, Serendipity and Spontaneity continued from page 14 stream. I realize now I only know a little about the human layers. Without them, it has no “life”, no context. things I like. The fun is in discovering those things you This is where Google has fallen down as a product never knew you’d be interested in. That’s what I like company. Algorithms vs. Humans. When it comes to about it. content, which always has an emotional bent, humans always beat the computer. Clearly Google+ is trying to Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine address some of that, but they have a ways to go. Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), so how will search change as the Web becomes Going forward, I believe we need to see more more social? influencer targeting and noise-level targeting. How do you help people or companies find those who My personal view is that search is falling down. People are moving the social media mountain? How do you are now using it more for navigation than discovery. find these influencers and deliver highly relevant “Where is the thing that I want?” Maybe search isn’t and personalized content without infringing on their about real discovery. I use search less today because of privacy or conversation and then let them run with it? Facebook and Twitter, which are becoming significant That will be a key part of the new optimization. These parts of my content decision-making process. I’m changes will revolutionize advertising and make media interested in seeing the news that my friends are spends way more efficient. What it takes to get “lift” will reading today. That would keep me on Facebook even be far different and mediums like television will need to longer, and add to the discovery element. Despite its fall in line and adapt. huge impact, though, Facebook and Twitter haven’t even begun to really take advantage of content discovery experiences. They will. It’s going to be a great evolution to watch and positively disruptive. Those changes will be a perfect match between gathering or discovery technologies and a truly human filter. Ultimately, content discovery needs to have 15
  • 16. 14 The Three S’s of Social Media – Surprise, Serendipity and Spontaneity continued from page 15 Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, Q: What are the critical success factors in with greater frequency, media is distributed publishing as we look to 2020; and who will through social channels? be the winners? From my point of view, curation is the next great There are five areas I’d touch on here: layer of value on the Internet. In a world where 1. Curation, for the reasons I’ve explained above everything is available, Curating content helps users sift 2. Form factors. Content should be allowed to through everything. Trusted sources are coming back. shape shift. The New York Times is curating when it decides what it will cover. But they don’t seem to curate other’s work. 3. How you distribute. Your site to RSS to email to And yet the journalists at The Times pass around links Flipboard to Twitter and beyond. and stories on Twitter that are written by other sources. 4. How you allow social media inside your content Those journalists are trusted sources and now curators. 5. How smart your paywall strategy is. The New I think publications should be establishing relationships York Times has done the best in this area. with curators; and then they can re-package and re- Allowing for social media linkages while bundle content into new and important layers. You can continuing to build a pay-model. build big and important brands with curation today. I know I’m going to try. Jason Hirschhorn, a media and technology entrepreneur, is the curator of Media ReDEFined (@MediaReDEF), a free daily news feed covering the changing world of media, communications, entertainment, marketing and technology. The former President of MySpace, Hirschhorn has also served as President of Sling Media, Chief Digital Officer at MTV Networks and is on the Board of Directors of MGM Studios. 16
  • 17. 17 Turbo-Charging the Web’s New Personal Recommendation Engine By Wenda Harris Millard President & COO, Media Link LLC Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the in a siloed world, you had your own site, and you relationship between media and its audience? went about the business of attracting an audience and monetizing that site. That’s a simple formula, I’m not sure that Facebook is media. But Facebook and it’s not nearly as relevant anymore. We are has changed everything. I see it as a platform for now living in a world where you have to find connection. The challenge for marketers is in your audience where it aggregates. You have to connecting effectively with audiences in these find the audience on someone else’s platform, and kinds of social environments. I think advertising then figure out how to make money. This throws “If you’re a brand marketer, you by its very nature is often intrusive, but it tends everything we’ve known in traditional marketing can no longer interrupt the currently to cross the line and be disruptive in on its head. discussion. You have to be part social media. It may violate trust with audiences. So, how are advertisers going to reach people most Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine of the discussion. This has a lot efficiently and effectively in a social environment? Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), of implications. And you have to Advertising or commercial messaging is going to be so how will search change as the Web becomes like nothing we know today. more social? ask yourself whether people come to you, or do you look at social Q: What’s changed fundamentally about media We’ve learned so much about the value of with the rise of the social Web, and what do recommendations from friends and colleagues. platforms as a way to build and publishers need to do to adapt? Now, with the continued advance of the Web as a distribute content and your own social environment, what’s going to happen is that, If you’re a brand marketer, you can no longer messaging.” instead of typing certain things into the search box, interrupt the discussion. You have to be part of the there will be an increasing tendency to go to your discussion. This has a lot of implications. And you social circle for input. If you need an address, you’ll have to ask yourself whether people come to you, go to the search engine; but if you need a great or do you look at social platforms as a way to build back doctor, you’ll ask friends or colleagues. This is and distribute content and your own messaging. The economic models have changed. In the past, 17
  • 18. 17 Turbo-Charging the Web’s New Personal Recommendation continued from page 17 the personal recommendation engine, and it will be Q: What are the critical success factors in part of our lives. Think of it as personal optimizations - publishing as we look to 2020; and who will how do you get the best information from your social be the winners? circle? New media, digital media and social media – it will all Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, be called media. And the winners will be those who with greater frequency, media is distributed find a way not to define themselves by their tried- through social channels? and-true or historical practices, or by their distribution channels. You can’t define yourself as a magazine Publishers are worried about the abundance of publisher; you’re a content provider. You need to user-generated content in the whole social media step out of the channel you live in and understand experience right now. The plethora of choice for how each of the pieces fits together. How does TV consumers is almost overwhelming. Yet I believe that fit with Facebook, for example? Or search engines or consumers are still looking for a trustmark. Of course, print with anything in social media? The key is knowing you’ll be able to read your friends’ recommendations, where commerce is – online and offline. What is the and you’ll share on whatever platform you’re using, relationship among all media channels? The winners but when you’re looking for information, I still believe will grasp these interrelationships. that brands represent a level of trust or a Good Wenda Harris Millard is President & COO of Media Link LLC, a Housekeeping Seal of Approval. That said, when leading advisory firm that provides critical counsel to clients you’re growing a brand today, you can no longer just in the marketing, media, entertainment, and technology build it and expect that they will come. Building and industries. Prior to this, Millard was Co-Chief Executive Officer enhancing your brand as a .com online is only one and President of Media, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, element in all this. You need to be where people are – and Chief Sales Officer of Yahoo. She has also served as the Chief Internet Officer at Ziff Davis Media, President at Ziff Davis that’s the Facebook phenomenon. Internet, and Executive Vice President at DoubleClick. 18
  • 19. 19 How ecommerce Is Blazing a Trail on the Social Web for Publishers By Theresia Gouw Ranzetta Partner, Accel Partners Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine relationship between media and its audience? Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), so how will search change as the Web becomes Facebook becomes the jumping off point for more social? many browsers who count on their friends to curate interesting media for them. How news Reference or informational search will remain gets “found” becomes less about searching Google relatively unchanged (for example, “What it he news, and more about checking your Facebook capital of Iowa?”). But “search,” where you are looking “Publishers need to understand newsfeed. for guidance or information that has a subjective the “start” point for their digital or has a taste aspect to it, will be completely users. It used to be a portal, so Q: What’s changed fundamentally about media transformed by social. Instead of typing in “Best with the rise of the social Web, and what do sushi restaurant in Palo Alto,” you will ask your you cut a deal with one of them. publishers need to do to adapt? friends, or go to a site with a like- minded social Then, it was a search box, so you groups (foodies, vegans, etc.). Publishers need to understand the “start” point SEO-optimized your content. for their digital users. It used to be a portal, so you I think we are still in the early days of SMO. Many Now, it is a social media platform cut a deal with one of them. Then, it was a search large publishers have not yet even thought about box, so you SEO-optimized your content. Now, it is this, nor are they aware that they should be. As (Facebook or Twitter), and a social media platform (Facebook or Twitter), and with SEO, they will need to upgrade their content publishers need to understand publishers need to understand how to optimize management / publishing systems and processes. their content for maximum social sharing and social how to optimize their content Many will turn to start ups, like Wetpaint, to help media amplifications. Don’t get me wrong: in each with this. for maximum social sharing and phase, it has always been about great content. social media amplifications. ” But that is just the necessary first building block. Then you need to figure out the distribution to get maximum audience engagement. 19
  • 20. 19 How ecommerce Is Blazing a Trail on the Social Web for Publishers continued from page 19 But SMO can be even more. Unlike in the search Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, world, where a supposed Chinese wall existed with greater frequency, media is distributed between SEO and SEM, leading platforms can now through social channels? encourage their advertisers to also invest in SMO as well. So a very savvy company can leverage and get You need to learn how to build your brand following synergies from their investments and learnings from on social media and realize that, no matter how strong SMO + SMM (Social Media Marketing) in a collaborative your brand is in other channels, this is a whole other way. effort. It is not just an add-on and thinking of how to get “Likes.” The “packaging” of your content needs As with the early days of the portal and search to be social media optimized for sharing and tie to platform eras, the ecommerce players were the first your social media presence on your Facebook page to experiment, invest and learn about the power and Twitter. It is an interconnected ecosystem that of the new platforms to get broader distribution / cannot be thought of as separate pieces. audience. This is understandable, given that their business models more easily lend themselves to direct Q: What are the critical success factors in data gathering and learning for marketing spend. publishing as we look to 2020; and who will Once again, in social, I see the ecommerce players be the winners? blazing a trail for publishers: the GroupOns, Zyngas, ModCloths, and Birchboxes of the world Understand that we are in a new era. Social media are good places to start. distribution, branding and user-driven pull – not your push distribution – will win. Also, understand In parallel to social, I think we are also seeing a platform how your mobile approach is intertwined with shift – from PCs to mobile Internet devices. So, clearly what you need to do. The winners today will be the the rise of iOs and Android are important platforms for companies that have created these new social and publishers to understand and adapt to, both in terms of mobile platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Apple iOs and the technology and the distribution nuances. 20
  • 21. 19 How ecommerce Is Blazing a Trail on the Social Web for Publishers continued from page 20 Google Android), as well as the market leaders who have successfully built the first leading companies on top of these platforms (Zynga, Groupon etc.). As for the winners in 2020: I’m in the business of funding start up innovation, so I would say it’s the companies that may not even yet be formed – but they will be, in the next year or two. Theresia Gouw Ranzetta joined Accel Partners in 1999. She is an investment Partner in Accel’s Palo Alto & New York offices and focuses on companies in the social commerce, vertical media, consumer mobile applications and privacy/security markets. 21
  • 22. 22 The People-Powered Web Is Revolutionizing Innovation By Anthony Soohoo Digital Media Entrepreneur Q: How does the rise of Facebook change the that group first, and build a groundswell with that relationship between media and its audience? audience. In the past, publishing was a broadcast type of model. Think of a bullhorn. It’s completely What’s changed is how we reach users at a global changed with the social Web. The key, as I’ve level. In essence, Facebook has created an said, is to reach the influencers first, and then important layer of intelligent recommendations have them add to the story. That’s how you really adding more relevancy than previously possible engage an audience. in a broadcast world. In the process, this will “Publishing will become more change how the media companies deliver their Q: We’ve gone from SEO (Search Engine Wiki-like. People can – and content. The downside, however, is that there’s less Optimization) to SMO (Social Media Optimization), will – contribute. And those discovery of content going on. But the media has a so how will search change as the Web becomes real chance to build deeper relationships with users more social? contributions will matter as much now; consumers just aren’t anonymous anymore. as the stories themselves. The They – and we – know what they like, and don’t like. That’s a great question. First of all, I’d say we’re going to see more personalized search results. In other role of the editor will be to get So, the delicate balance is this: Facebook makes words, search based upon what someone’s interests the fire started by determining discovery more challenging, but it affords us an are, and what a person’s friends like. It’s putting a opportunity for infinitely more personalization. And personalized interest graph on top of search results. which channels and influencers that means engagement is a lot more effective. And the efficiency and effectiveness will improve; are necessary to ignite the story. instead of getting 43 million results, many of which The editor will bring up worthy Q: What’s changed fundamentally about media are irrelevant, you’ll get the top 20, and they’ll be of with the rise of the social Web, and what do considerable interest. So, in this way, the social Web discussions across the Web and publishers need to do to adapt? will add more meaning. The people-powered-Web highlight them, too. This is how will be the big driver of innovation over the next When they put content together, publishers have five to 10 years. the stages of conversation to determine who their influencers are. Who do will unfold.” they resonate most with? Then, they have to get to 22
  • 23. 22 The People-Powered Web Is Revolutionizing Innovation continued from page 22 Q: How do you build a brand in publishing when, Q: What are the critical success factors in with greater frequency, media is distributed publishing as we look to 2020; and who will through social channels? be the winners? It seems to me that you have to recruit and engage Facebook could be a winner. And the two guys in the your influencers. And you have to make certain garage that we don’t know about will be winners. There you’re hitting the right audience. Finally, you have to are five to 10 big winners that we don’t know about layer content down in a very social and personalized yet. But the critical success factors are clear: know your manner. Blasting content out like a billboard takes audience; serve users and delight them; and then go the uniqueness out of the social Web. I believe beyond this. Content will change over time; and the stories of the future will actually integrate tidbits these changes will change because of the social from influencers, and they’ll also be more rhetorical Web’s profound influence. What we’re really talking and open-ended. Publishing will become more Wiki- about here is content plus one. like. People can – and will – contribute. And those Anthony Soohoo is the former Senior Vice President and contributions will matter as much as the stories General Manager of the Entertainment & Lifestyle Division themselves. The role of the editor will be to get the fire at CBS Interactive. He is now an entrepreneur working on an started by determining which channels and influencers unannounced startup. Soohoo joined CBS in 2007, when it are necessary to ignite the story. The editor will bring acquired Dotspotter, a fast-growing community-powered up worthy discussions across the Web and highlight entertainment property where he served as Co-founder & CEO. Prior to Dotspotter, Soohoo was Vice President at Yahoo!, where them, too. This is how the stages of conversation will he was responsible for the strategy, management, development unfold. At first, it will be unfiltered and like the Wild and financial performance of various business units. West, however. Then it will get reined in, and most stories will go through a filtered version via friends or an editor. This filtering process will allow content to live a longer and richer life on the Web. 23
  • 24. 24 Conclusion By Ben Elowitz Co-Founder and CEO, Wetpaint Staying Connected – The Right Way to Re-Invent But today it is. Publishing for 21st Century Audiences Between usage analytics, audience data, social I feel blessed and inspired to be connected to the graphs, global Twitter feeds, and direct interactive incredible thought leaders whose insights and feedback, we can receive millions of signals each perspectives you’ve just read. And I’m hoping you minute that tell us how well we are serving and, feel challenged, provoked, and, ultimately, inspired more prescriptively, what we can do to better serve to think about how to make the social Web a media our audiences. success. For the publishing industry, this provides an Over the last year on my blog, Digital Quarters, and unprecedented opportunity for content experiences in my newsletter, I have shared stories, analysis and to earn deep relationships with audiences who are prescriptions – all in the name of driving this new now connected like never before. We can know our digital era forward. audiences, create for them, and reach them – and, in the process, make our own brands stronger and To me, one essential principle lies deep at the heart more meaningful than ever. of the rewired Internet. It is a simple and basic concept, but one that guides all the promise of the And therein lies a path that will lead to the re- social Web: We must truly understand and delight establishment of our industry’s success. our audiences. The future prosperity of digital media will certainly The social Web fully enables this concept in a way have some things in common with its past legacy; that did not exist over the last decade, much less but a host of other things will undergo massive the century before it. change. Indeed, never before has the data existed and been What’s clear to me, though, is that the revolution accessible – in real time, with precision and detail, in our data and connectivity-rich environment will and to every publisher – to know the audience and help us create content and experiences that honor serve it well. 24
  • 25. 24 Conclusion continued from page 24 the best that our industry has ever put forth, while Ben Elowitz is CEO of Wetpaint, a next-generation media pushing even further. company that is reinventing the media model on the social web. The company is creating a portfolio of best-in-class I can’t wait to work side by side with the industry’s media properties; the first, Wetpaint Entertainment, delights 18-34 year-old women with in-depth coverage of greatest thought leaders and practitioners to make their favorite TV shows, stars and fashion. Wetpaint uses its it happen. proprietary state-of-the-art technologies, and expertise in the social optimization and distribution of content, to drive And, as we look forward, if you’d like to join the and monetize audiences. The company, which has offices discussion, I’d welcome your thoughts, opinions, in Seattle and New York, has more than 10 million unique views, comments and criticisms. visitors monthly on its media properties. Please send them to me at ben@wetpaint.com. Elowitz is also a thought leader and author of Digital Quarters, a blog about the future of digital media and And, if you’re interested in participating in a future the steps the publishing industry must take to become edition of this thought leadership gallery, by profitable. He also writes Media Success, a bold and offering your take on things, I’d love to hear from forthright newsletter for digital media thought leaders. His work has been featured on TechCrunch, All Things D, you as well. The Huffington Post, Forbes, Fortune, paidContent, and CNBC.com, among others. Prior to Wetpaint, Elowitz Thanks for reading. co-founded Blue Nile (NASDAQ: NILE), the largest online Ben Elowitz retailer of luxury goods. 25