Media Houses going all in on social media platforms

At the moment there are three things that many of the major media houses seam to agree on: Be where the audience is and focus on optimizing the content for different platforms, diversify your business and keep up the storytelling.

At tech conference South by Southwest in Austin Texas, major media houses gather to share their thoughts looking forward, in many different areas. When it came to the over all strategies, they spoke mostly about more of the same than revealing new solutions.

The doubts whether it’s a good idea to go all in on other platforms, seams to be overrun by the need to reach an audience. New York Times, Washington post, LA times, Vox, Buzzfeed are all increasingly distributing their content on social media platforms. As an example Washington Post publish 1 000 articles on Facebook Instant Article each day. They all reason the same way – there is no other choice, they need to be where the audience is and the platforms are distribution channel, just like the post office.

There is a significant difference though, compared to postal delivery – you can’t send out your content looking the same way on the different platforms. The challenge now is to optimize and package the content for each platform.  At the same time you need to be aware of being true to your tone and brand. If you do so – the different platforms can build your brand even stronger, they argue. The question of who is monetizing data and getting the revenue is not as clear.

Washington Post might also be the number one when it comes to building different revenue streams – they have 18, including building an advertising platform, publishing technology and VR.

And Buzzfeed might open a pop up restaurant. They recently launched Tasty – the worlds leading food network, which guides you to recipes in 60 second in an up tempo sort of way  (hard to follow, fun to watch). They got 82 million viewers in 24 hours – no wonder if you want to find out if some of them might pay for a real dinner in town.

Old or new, media house or marketeer – storytelling is still king. Some explains this better than others. Buzzfeed and Vox, the rising stars in the media family, also know how to create storytelling about storytelling and how to build engagement with your users.

Frank Cooper, CMO at Buzzfeed, put it like this: ”Food, entertainment or news – it’s about the everyday of people. It starts with the question – what connects you?” And he concluded:  ”Empathy and human connection are the superpowers”.

Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media, explained that their mission is to look for relation, and intimacy and a voice closely associated with the content. With 170 million users, they might be on to something, having created a portfolio of brands combined with a cross platform strategy.

Here’s another view on the subject Content provider or platform player:

South by Southwest (SXSW)

SXSW is a set of annual conferences and festivals in Austin, Texas, gathering experts and enthusiasts within, film, music and interactive media.
The music festival is regarded as the largest of it’s kind, featuring more than 2 200 acts and attracting more than 30 000 registrants in 2016.
SXSW film started of focusing on indie films but is now also attracting larger players.
The interactive part is focused on emerging technology and trends and attracts start up hunters as well as industry leaders within tech and media. The first SXSW festival took place in 1987.