Brands as publishers is a popular mantra, but what does it really mean? Does it also mean that publishers can become brands that sell stuff?
Digital disruption has not been kind to established publishers.
Firstly, circulation of print media has declined due to the rise of social media, the explosion of freely available commoditised content (particularly in the lucrative celebrity market, in which the Mail Online is causing major disruption) and the slowness of the economic recovery.
Added to this digital ad sales have not made up for print’s decline. A startling stat is that Google now makes more ad revenue than the entire US print media… combined!
What’s more, since brands are finding the ease of creating and distribution their own content, the requirement to buy ad impressions on a publisher site has been further depleted.
All round, this tailspin has stifled innovation in the media industry as companies rush to protect their cash cow: print.
Given the problems publishing is facing, it’s a wonder that a brand would want to be a publisher at all.
Of course, ‘brands as publishers’ is not necessarily an aspiration, it is rather a nod towards the trend of content marketing and changing from a media based marketing model towards one more focused on content creation and distribution.