Some of the most dominant trends publishers have been grappling with are also presenting the greatest opportunities to profit from disruption, says James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP. In his talk at IFRA World Publishing Expo, which will take 09-11 Oct 2018 in Berlin, he will focus on how publishers can use and roll-out these trends within their products and services.
Hewes as CEO has stepped up FIPP’s role as an advocate for responding to and taking advantage of the opportunities arising from a changing publishing world. “We cannot be a passive organisation, especially not in a disruptive industry. FIPP not only needs to maintain relevance but understand and reflect what the biggest concerns of our members are. Through collaboration we can respond and profit from change,” he says.
According to Hewes, the most important issue facing publishing businesses is managing talent and culture. “What publishers are contending with is how to attract and retain the most talented people in the face of competition from businesses that are perceived as being more attractive to work for, such as platforms and startups.”
While training and developing new skill sets for an ever changing and disruptive industry are at the centre of this challenge, matters relating to diversity of staff is becoming just as important. “When thinking about diversity both from an economic point of view and a moral point of view, a diverse workforce can help build new networks of talent, ideas and provides better solutions from a leadership point of view.”
Talking about social media platforms like Facebook, he says FIPP has stepped into the ring to bring clarity and engagement in what many might have perceived as an unassailable situation. “Publishers will never make the mistake (again) of relying on a single platform for content discovery and business opportunities.”
There is, in fact, an upside emerging from the troubles Facebook encountered recently, explains Hewes. “Facebook are now more open to dialogue than ever before. They are prepared to interact with us in a personal way and we need to take advantage of this. At FIPP we believe that only by having a sustained conversation as an industry will we be able to deliver change that will benefit all. Positive engagement has already taken place between Facebook and the FIPP Board with the intention to continue a regular dialogue.”
Many more trends are reshaping the future of publishing, says Hewes. These include how publishers are taking advantage of opportunities to increase subscriptions, monetise from reader revenues and become increasingly independent from advertising though e-commerce and events. Publishers have also embraced opportunities to profit from platforms, whether this be through video, voice or podcasts.
“Most positively, we have reached the era of embracing disruption.”
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