The Digiday Podcast
The Digiday PodcastMar 28, 2018
Recode’s Kara Swisher: Facebook only pretends to care about the media
On this week’s Digiday Podcast, Recode executive editor Kara Swisher said Facebook’s relationship with the media has long been based on lip service. Swisher discusses the need for Facebook to clean up its act, whether platforms will ever pay media organizations, Recode’s venture into TV and more in the episode.
Axios’ Jim VandeHei: 'Don’t ever tether your business to the benevolence of another company'
In the year since Axios launched, the company has raised $30 million in two rounds of funding and is already a touted news source, especially for Washington heavyweights. We checked in with Jim VandeHei, CEO and co-founder of Axios, on this week’s Digiday Podcast about what has worked for the publisher and if its approach has changed since VandeHei last joined the show in April.
The Daily Beast’s Heather Dietrick: 'Trust in platforms is down significantly'
In the nine months under CEO Heather Dietrick’s charge, The Daily Beast has entered the competition for Donald Trump coverage with big players like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Like with other publishers, the Beast's Trump coverage grew its audience. Yet the Beast’s growth was not contingent on Facebook, and that prevented the publisher, which Dietrick said gets less than 10 percent of its traffic from the platform, from losing audience with the recent news feed changes. Dietrick, who formerly served as president of Gawker Media, spoke about Daily Beast's business growth, figuring out video, subscriptions and more in the episode.
Business of Fashion’s Imran Amed: Subscriptions work if you know your audience
Imran Amed began The Business of Fashion as a blog he wrote for himself. Today, it has grown into a leading news and analysis website for the fashion industry with offices in London, New York and Shanghai. The publication has grown several revenue streams: events, online courses, a careers website and most recently, subscriptions. Amed discusses subscription strategy, events, filling a white space in the industry and more in this episode.
TheSkimm founders: We want to be a routine like morning TV
The media industry as a whole struggles to build a loyal audience for their brands. But theSkimm, which covers big national and global stories of the day, launched about six years ago with email newsletters. Now, with over 6.5 million subscribers, theSkimm is growing into a bigger brand with a loyal audience, and it all started when cofounders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg aimed at becoming a part of people's routines. The cofounders joined us on this week's podcast.
Wired's Nick Thompson: Facebook needs to pivot news feed to quality
Nick Thompson, editor-in-chief of Wired, recently co-authored a story on how the 2016 election shook Facebook and catapulted them into an identity crisis. As he investigated this story over two years, it refined his own digital strategy and views towards Facebook's role in the business of news. Thompson discusses the story, what it means when the world of Silicon Valley collides with Washington, why he remains optimistic about Facebook’s interests aligning with publishers’ interests, and more.
House of Highlights’ Omar Raja: 'Instagram is the young person’s television'
When NBA star LeBron James left the Miami Heat in 2014, 20-year-old Omar Raja searched for highlights from James' Heat career and couldn’t find relatable moments outside of traditional highlights. So Raja started House of Highlights, an Instagram account that frames moments from games as funny and relatable narratives. Today, the account, which Bleacher Report acquired in 2015, has over 8 million followers, including A-list athletes like James and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. House of Highlights has a fiercely loyal audience on Instagram, continuing to post on the platform even as its audience has grown. Raja discussed House of Highlights' reasons for sticking with Instagram, the account's focus, its evolution and more in the episode.
AwesomenessTV’s Brett Bouttier: YouTube Red is a data exercise for YouTube
On this week’s Digiday Podcast, YouTube network AwesomenessTV president Brett Bouttier joined us to discuss programming on YouTube and the emerging post-cable world. Awesomeness TV is doing programming for YouTube Red, but Bouttier said the platform is still in experimentation phase.
Bleacher Report’s Howard Mittman: Better to be a 'need' publisher vs 'feed'
It's the year of loyalty for publishers, and as reverberations from Facebook's news feed change subside, only those that have created a need for their content will remain unfazed. At a Digiday Live Podcast event on Jan. 24, Bleacher Report CRO and CMO Howard Mittman said Facebook's community is waning, and all its changes aim to protect that owned and operated platform.
Upworthy’s Eli Pariser: Facebook is like gravity
Viral content site Upworthy arrived in the media industry in 2012, popularizing the famous headline formula that came to be known as clickbait. A year in, Fast Company named it the fastest-growing media site of all time. Then, a decline in traffic occurred, as Facebook cracked down on "curiosity gap" headlines that induced clicks. But Upworthy hasn't gone away. CEO Eli Pariser joined the Digiday Podcast to discuss clickbait, riding the Facebook wave for traffic, building an ad model independent of display advertising and the Donald Trump era.
CNN’s Meredith Artley: ‘We don’t put all of our eggs in the Facebook basket’
Facebook sent tremors through the media industry when it announced its news feed change that would deprioritize publishers' content. For this week's Digiday Podcast, we talked to Meredith Artley, svp and editor in chief of CNN Digital Worldwide, before Facebook's announcement. Here's what Artley said about the platform:
“The media industry collectively freaks out when Facebook makes a change that impacts your business. Well, what were you expecting? It’s their platform, and they’re not in the news business. We at CNN have gotten a little perturbed with those changes, but we can’t put ourselves in a position that it impacts our business in a significant way because that’s irresponsible of us.”
Artley also discussed scale, platform strategy, Donald Trump’s feud with CNN and autoplay videos on the episode.
Hearst’s Kate Lewis: One-third of Hearst’s magazine content is video
Last year, the big wave of pivoting to video washed over many media companies. Troy Young, global president for digital at Hearst Magazines, joined the Digiday Podcast last March and said half of Hearst Magazines' content would soon be video. This year, we invited Kate Lewis, svp and editorial director of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, on the podcast to check in with Hearst's digital operations. So far, one-third of Hearst's magazine content is video.
Columbia University's Emily Bell: Facebook is reshaping newsrooms
Facebook and Google wrecked the media landscape in 2017, and while publishers might retrench slowly in 2018, the collateral damage has been massive. The platforms have been the breeding ground for fake news and newsroom restructurings, leading to newsroom layoffs. On this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast, Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, said Facebook is already a publisher and the need to work forward from that point of understanding.
Best of 2017: Facebook, subscriptions and commerce were the big themes for publishers this year
On this episode of The Digiday Podcast, we recap the big themes that emerged for publishers this year, from Facebook to the pivot to video to the focus on subscriptions. We bring you clips from top publishers like Bloomberg's Justin Smith, Axios' Jim VandeHei and New York Times' Meredith Levien.
HuffPost's Lydia Polgreen: Trump is not 'topic A' for most Americans
HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen recently wrapped up a listening bus tour that made stops in various cities across inland America. On this week's Digiday Podcast, she said that in her many interviews, Donald Trump's name didn't come up. Polgreen talked about how the tour will evolve HuffPost's editorial focus, the results of HuffPost's rebranding and more.
Live Podcast with Vox Media’s Lindsay Nelson: ‘Digital media was drunk on scale’
As the new year approaches, media companies are evaluating their misses in 2017 and goals for 2018. It was a tough year for digital media, with Mashable selling for one-fifth of its one-time valuation, BuzzFeed missing its revenue targets and frequent layoffs. At a Digiday Live Podcast event exclusively for Digiday+ members, editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey chatted with Vox Media CMO Lindsay Nelson about where the industry fell short.
Bustle’s Bryan Goldberg on digital media in 2018: ‘Consolidation has to happen’
There are many blaming digital media woes on ill-thought pivots to video and an addition to venture capital. Nonsense, according to Bustle Digital Group CEO Bryan Goldberg. The fundamental issue is there are too many digital publishers competing for what's left over from Google and Facebook. Goldberg discusses consolidation, investing in digital media businesses, the duopoly and more in this episode.
News industry analyst Ken Doctor 'People will pay for quality content'
This has been yet another turbulent year in the media industry, and publishers have pivoted to wherever they found potential for ad dollars or an alternative revenue model. Some are experiencing success with subscription models, particularly those with a legacy of trust and quality associated with their names, like The New York Times. Ken Doctor, a news industry analyst joins us on this week's Digiday Podcast to discuss subscriptions for local news publishers, FCC decisions, the problem with digital-only models, Tronc and more in the episode.
Al Jazeera's Yaser Bishr: Publishers are platform 'sweatshops'
"Social media platforms are very bad to retain the audience."
Bloomberg Media's Keith Grossman on platforms: 'Be very wary'
"Just putting all of our eggs in one basket because it’s the right short-term thing to do is not where we want to be."
Attn’s Matthew Segal: Directing audience to your own properties from Facebook is ‘a losing strategy’
Attn, the 3-year-old media brand that distributes video stories through social platforms, built itself into a short-form video giant by taking a Facebook-first approach. The publisher has tried to align its content with Facebook’s interests. On this week's Digiday podcast Attn CEO and founder said that directing audience away from Facebook to owned and operated properties is a losing strategy. Segal discussed building a brand on a social feed, Facebook’s new products for publishers and more on the podcast.
Tasty’s Ashley McCollum: Big video view counts aren’t everything
BuzzFeed food brand Tasty has reached 1.8 billion views monthly on its Facebook videos, but it's looking increasingly beyond views to driving real-world action. Besides making food videos for social feeds, the brand is also selling merchandise like customized cookbooks. Ashley McCollum, general manager of Tasty, joins us on the Digiday Podcast.
Washington Post’s Jed Hartman: The industry needs to stop whining about the duopoly
While Google and Facebook hamper publishers' efforts to grow digital ad dollars, The Washington Post CRO Jed Hartman said on this week’s Digiday Podcast that publishers need to figure out their unique value and stop "whining about the platforms."
Conde Nast's Craig Kostelic: 'We’re completely embracing programmatic'
The Food Innovation Group is home to legacy brands like Bon Appétit, but in the shift to digital, the magazine has become a complement to Bon Appétit's digital and social offerings. With the majority of the group's revenue now also coming from digital, it's embracing programmatic advertising.
“Programmatic is an activation method versus a buying strategy. If display [advertising] is a function of getting more programmatic, there’s a huge opportunity to streamline and create less friction [in transactions]," said Craig Kostelic, chief business officer of Food Innovation Group and Condé Nast’s Lifestyle Collection, on this week’s Digiday Podcast.
The New York Times’ Meredith Kopit Levien on driving subs and the NYT as a lifestyle brand
The New York Times is one of a few privileged publishers that have transitioned into a subscription business, and to do this, it started behaving like a consumer brand, according to the Times’ evp and COO Meredith Kopit Levien. She talks about subscriptions, advertising, differentiating from free alternatives and more on this week’s Digiday Podcast.
Politico’s Poppy MacDonald: We’re not worried about the waning Trump bump
Politico has successfully steered its business model from advertising to subscriptions. Today, with 25,000 Politico Pro subscribers and a 90 percent renewal rate, Politico gets over 50 percent of its revenue from its high-priced subscription services. The key lies in focusing on the coverage that has been pivotal for Politico, according to Politico President Poppy MacDonald. The publisher has not wavered from its original brand of policy and politics journalism, so it’s managed churn and avoided the impact of the Trump bump. Macdonald discusses subscriptions, Trump bump and more on this week's podcast.
Spirited Media’s Jim Brady: Growing audience through display advertising is ‘not natural’
On this week’s Digiday Podcast, Spirited Media’s Jim Brady talks about building a local news media business that's sustainable. The key to economic success for Spirited Media lies in a scaled events business rather than the display advertising relied on by most publishers in local news markets.
Quartz’s Kevin Delaney: Advertising is still a great business model for news
On this week’s Digiday Podcast, Quartz’s co-president and editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney defended the advertising business model and discussed the pivot to video, venturing into lifestyle and more.
Turner’s Howard Shimmel: Facebook’s not competing with TV
As TV media networks continue to get pulled into the digital and social ecosystems, Facebook's growing video demands and efforts to become a giant video platform seem like a threat to TV's ad dollars. On this week's Digiday podcast, Howard Shimmel, chief research officer at Turner, argued that Facebook and TV exist in different spaces and Facebook can't compete with TV on ad viewability, impressions and other metrics.
Business Insider’s Henry Blodget: ‘We don’t want to aim for reach growth anymore’
On this week's Digiday Podcast, CEO and co-founder of Business Insider Henry Blodget said the publisher, which has over 10 million followers across social media platforms, is not trying to grow reach anymore. As the publisher's focus shifts to deepened engagement and frequency, it faces questions: whether an ad-driven model is better than a subscription model, how to monetize social and web video and how to approach the ever-growing need for video on platforms. Blodget answers these questions and more in the episode.
ABC’s Colby Smith: Follow the audience to grow digital, social reach
The answer to digital and social audience growth challenges for Colby Smith, vp of ABC News Digital, is to follow the audience. Since adopting this approach two years ago, the news network's digital division has produced content across all major social and digital platforms and seen convincing results. Smith discusses that and more on this week's Digiday Podcast.
The Onion’s Mike McAvoy: ‘There’s no money in news feed video’
Last year, Univision acquired The Onion under its Fusion Media Group division. Since then, The Onion and Gizmodo Media Group combined their sales operations. On this week’s Digiday Podcast, The Onion’s president and CEO Mike McAvoy said the consolidation has grown its reach, allowing it to sell more branded content.
NBCUniversal’s Allison Tarrant: ‘The value proposition model has changed’
Two years ago, NBCUniversal restructured its sales team. Allison Tarrant, executive vp of client partnerships at NBCUniversal said the change affected cross-divisional business approach for client partnerships. Tarrant joins the Digiday podcast to talk about what has changed in the approach and the results.
Conde Nast’s Croi McNamara: “We’re big YouTube believers”
While Conde Nast publishes on Facebook, Snapchat and other platforms, YouTube remains an important platform to them for their premium content. Croi Mcnamara discusses this and more on the Digiday Podcast.
Tastemade's Oren Katzeff on moving beyond food and into lifestyle
Tastemade now boasts 2 billion video views a month, across platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. While the company made its name in food -- think hands assembling dishes -- Tastemade plans to expand the brand further into lifestyle, including travel.
Tribeca Enterprises CEO Andrew Essex: Brands want more than ‘passive sponsorship’
Luma's Terence Kawaja: The duopoly won't kill (all) ad tech
Luma Partners founder Terence Kawaja sees the duopoly as real, but that doesn't mean there's no opportunities in digital media outside Google and Facebook. By his math, Google and Facebook will take two-thirds of a $100 billion market, leaving plenty behind for newcomers to fight over.
Group Nine and Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer in Cannes
Ben Lerer discusses the state of media from the Riviera on this edition of the Digiday Podcast.
News UK's David Dinsmore in Cannes
News UK's chief operating office David Dinsmore discusses the state of media on this edition of the Digiday Podcast.
Vox's Jim Bankoff in Cannes
Too often digital media brands are overly reliant on a programmatic ad system that allows bad ads to slow down their sites, Vox CEO Jim Bankoff said on the Digiday Podcast.
Reddit's Alexis Ohanian in Cannes
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian still believes in empathy on the web.
Disney's Andrew Sugarman in Cannes
Disney has a market capitalization of $163 billion, but it still doesn’t feel the need to be on every platform, Disney digital media head Andrew Sugerman said on an issue of the Digiday Podcast Cannes Edition.
Refinery 29's Amy Emmerich in Cannes
Cannes is no longer a festival of creativity. Tech companies, media companies, consulting firms, telecom operators, venture capitalists, you name it — they’re here. For Amy Emmerich, chief content officer at Refinery29, this is a sign of the times in the business, as these worlds converge. Herself a TV veteran, Emmerich is now leading Refinery29’s transition from a text-based publisher to a multiplatform media company, including TV programming and feature films. She joined us on The Digiday Podcast for this week's special Cannes edition.
USA Today Network’s Kevin Gentzel: Advertisers have duopoly ‘fatigue’
USA Today Network's Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Gentzel says he has found a duopoly fatigue among advertisers and realized that media companies can differentiate and offer what Google and Facebook can't. Gentzel joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey on the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast to discuss the opportunities that come with being a national and local publisher, leading efforts in VR and developing an agency model for being an advertising partner for businesses across the country.
Defy Media's Matt Diamond on monetizing platforms
Defy Media's CEO Matt Diamond says a bullish monetization strategy in the digital era has yet to emerge. He joined senior reporter Sahil Patel on the Digiday Podcast to discuss the monetization opportunities available on platforms and the next best opportunity for media companies in an OTT world.
How we picked the Digiday Changemakers
This week, we are proud to introduce the Digiday Changemakers, 50 people who are making media and marketing more modern. Editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey speaks to co-executive editors Shareen Pathak and Lucia Moses about how the team selected the fifty, and they discuss some of the people who made the list.
The Dodo’s YuJung Kim on diversifying reach beyond Facebook
The Dodo, a digital media brand for animal lovers, emerged during the onset of the Facebook wave. In April, it garnered over a billion video views across social media platforms. Naturally, says the company’s president YuJung Kim, social media is in The Dodo's DNA. Kim joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey on the Digiday Podcast for an on-the-road episode from New Orleans. They discussed staying away from content commoditization on social media platforms, expanding The Dodo's video arm and finding a white space as a brand.
Complex Networks CEO Rich Antoniello: To build a real media business, you need a brand and a business
Complex Networks has been in the business of verticals for a long time. The company has gone through major shifts in medium, ad revenue streams and products. The brand's credibility has pulled them through it all, and ahead of the curve sometimes. Now, media companies are trying to expand into verticals that include lifestyle. CEO Rich Antoniello joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to talk about what it took to develop these verticals, being independent of social and video platforms, and loopholes in the video and vertical expansion strategies of new media brands.
Highsnobiety’s David Fischer: Subculture is the new pop culture
Streetwear publisher Highsnobiety began in 2005, when founder David Fischer started blogging about limited-edition sneakers out of his room at his parents’ house in Geneva, Switzerland. As the brand grows, it now staffs just under 80 people split between their offices in Berlin and New York. Fischer joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to discuss Highsnobiety’s social media strategy, revenue streams and the path to building scale.
'Let's clean the pipes up': The Guardian’s Hamish Nicklin on making the programmatic ecosystem more transparent
Even as programmatic advertising grows in prominence, issues with the the technology remain. The Guardian knows this well. According to its CRO Hamish Nicklin, programmatic ads were about 60 percent of its display advertising last year. But Hamish is taking on the ad industry to claim the publisher’s share of ad dollars. Nicklin joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey on the Digiday Podcast to discuss his goals for programmatic and creating diversified revenue streams for publishing.