Building the Future of Publishing at the 2019 Mega Conference

At the end of February, LaterPay attended the 2019 Key Executives Mega-Conference in Las Vegas – joining over 700 media executives from across the country to explore new approaches and solutions to the issues facing the industry today. Over the course of three days, the team had the chance to speak with national and local publishers about the challenges they face and the opportunities they see for the industry, as well as discussing how LaterPay helps both convert engaged users to subscribers at a higher rate and monetize readers who are unlikely to ever subscribe.

2019 Key Executives Mega-Conference

The team shared their top takeaways from the conference below:

Top Takeaways:

  • It’s time to monetize local content - While many national publishers have already had paywalls in place for some time, late 2018 and early 2019 saw a swathe of local publishers launching metered paywall of their own. Especially at the local level, publishers are working hard to educate readers that the content they trust should be paid for. The priority is to make content accessible both for those who want to become loyal readers as well as those who may not be interested in a long-term subscription.

  • Leveraging every step of the funnel is crucial - Now more than ever publishers are acknowledging the importance of tapping into different parts of the engagement funnel. Previously the focus was just on selling subscriptions but today, by implementing metered paywalls and other strategies, publishers are determining how to monetize the rest of the funnel and engage casual readers as well.

  • Improving the customer experience is still in its early days - There has been recognition across the board as to the importance of simplifying the customer experience. Whether that’s fewer ads, faster loading pages, or streamlined registration and payments, everyone says that they want to reduce friction. While the message is clear within the industry that publishers need to put the user at the center of their business, the reality is that there are competing interests (such as the security of advertising revenue). While there is still a long way to go, publishers appear committed to resolving this issue.

The team also had the opportunity to walk the show floor and attend both keynote addresses and industry roundtables, pulling together a highlight reel of the top moments below:

Highlights from the Show:

  • Betting the Future on Newsroom Transformation - Ken Herts, director of operations at The Lenfest Institute for Journalism moderated a discussion on how to drive audience growth and profitability, with a major theme being turning from advertising to subscriptions. As Ken himself said, “People, not ads, will fund the future.” Read more about that panel here.

Betting the Future on Newsroom Transformation

 

  • Podcasting Trends, Opportunities and Best Practices - Podcasts are on every publisher’s mind, but they are notoriously difficult to monetize beyond inserting advertisements into the stream. One session, featuring representatives from Exit Club, Appen Media Group and the Las Vegas Review-Journal discussed the need for a business model to address that gap. You can read more LaterPay’s perspective on monetizing podcasts here.

Podcasting Trends, Opportunities and Best Practices

 

  • New Initiatives in the Works - Google and Facebook were in attendance at the conference, talking about their approaches to partner with the industry and the importance of working together. Google in particular was showcasing its News Consumer Insights project, which offers publishers a new dashboard - connected directly to analytics - that offers in-depth insights into  different audience groups and serves as an effective tool for understanding different reader groups and then making best use of that data. Separately, the LMA promoted its new Local Media Business Model Accelerator which focuses on helping newsrooms generate better strategies for readers. The new Accelerator looks at a broad spectrum of publishers - big, middle and small - to find a sustainable solution for everyone.

New Initiatives in the Works

 

You can learn more about how LaterPay helps local publishers ensure that purchasing and consuming digital content is fast, convenient, and fair here.

Find out how LaterPay can help you get ahead of the shifting trends in local media consumption and user preferences.

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