“What are your top two investment priorities for 2023?” publishers were asked late last year for our just-released B2B Media Benchmark Report on Revenue and Cost Patterns. The report is the only real-time, empirical research being done on B2B media business operations.
According to the report, the top investment priority for 2023 is “content creation ability, including audio and video” at 48%. Next is “upgrading database depth and functionality” at 43%. Third is “better integrating enterprise management platforms, like CMS, CRM, ad management, financial reporting and visibility” at 38%. And next is “new talent and skillsets” at 28%.
“I think everyone in the industry understands that after our people, our audience is our most important asset,” said Endeavor Business Media CEO Chris Ferrell. “The investments you see in content and audience databases are all about building known, engaged audiences.”
After Industry Dive was acquired by Informa, CEO Sean Griffey said that the deal “validates a few of the key components of our underlying business thesis. Mostly, the incredible value of niche audiences, how the ability to collect and utilize first-party data differentiates media companies; and, ultimately, quality content still matters. If you aren’t serving your audience unique and valuable content, you won’t be in business long.”
Here are five key insights from the B2B Media Benchmark Report on Revenue and Cost Patterns (its research was conducted by Readex Research). You can get more information here about obtaining this unique and informative industry report.
Here are some key takeaways, though best to order the full report:
Audience participation. According to the report, the expected top audience growth driver over the next three years for publishers is “increased audience insights that can be marketed to advertisers and audiences.” “We make significant investments every year in our content and technology,” said Dan Fink, managing director of Money-Media. “We measure the ROI on these investments, and it’s significant. We have large revenue streams across advertising, subscriptions and events, but they’re all driven by audience engagement. Audience engagement is our North Star.”
New product development. Just over a third of the respondents said that new product development would be a top digital revenue growth driver in the next three years. In an INMA article, the Financial Times talked about a four-part discovery process they used to develop FT Edit:
Empathize: Understand the users’ needs better and see how the FT can add value.
Define: Understand how we can mitigate these risks before we launch.”
Analyze: FT is now analyzing user behavior as the funnel.
Iterate: What needs to be improved? What are the growth levers?
To paywall or not to paywall. One quarter of the respondents said that paid content online would be a top digital revenue growth driver in the next three years. So many of us go back and forth on this—greater audience vs. content being an immediate revenue driver. “Subscriber-only stories have led far more people to sign up as subscribers than the monthly limits on our other work,” one editor said recently. A majority of publishers with metered models set their meter limits at 5 articles per month or lower. “As publishers have experimented, and readers have become accustomed to digital subscription, meter limits have tended to decline and within the industry at large.”
Current ‘events.’ Our report indicates that events will account for 14% of publishers’ total expected 2023 revenue. One explanation comes from Endeavor’s Ferrell: “Given the current state of the U.S. economy, it is difficult to forecast revenue expectations for 2023,” Ferrell said. “We are seeing some industries doing quite well and other industry segments that are pulling back or at least being more cautious about commitments.”
The importance of audio and video. The research indicates that content has to go further than just the written words. Neal Award winner Bobby Magill wrote a thrilling story for Bloomberg Law titled, EV Mineral Bonanza on Alaska Tribal Land Turns on Disputed Road. The first thing you see is an incredible video vista of the land; Magill took the video and photos. Bloomberg Law’s Holly Barker won a Neal Award last year for her hard-hitting article titled ‘A Preventable Mess’: How Dementia Takes Toll on Aging Lawyers. She also reads her article, and they started a new podcast titled On the Merits with David Schultz where they interviewed Barker about the story.
Again, you can get more information here about obtaining this industry-unique report.