Oh, Vienna: 5 Key Takeaways From 2023’s Digital Media Europe Conference

By May 4, 2023For Companies
Wanifra conference. Pic Roland RUDOLPHKey European publishers were at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Europe conference. Pic: Roland Rudolph

The Jobbio team was in Austria last week to attend the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Europe conference in Vienna.

One of the largest European conferences for digital news subscription, premium advertising and local media, the event was attended by luminaries of the traditional media world including the New York Times, Le Parisien, Die Zeit and The Times.

With worries around a slump in advertising, last year saw the media business have its worst year on Wall Street in three decades, according to Bloomberg. Shares in the largest US media companies dipped more than 50% in 2022, a performance that is far below the wider market.

And according to a 2021 study from the European Parliament, between 2013 and 2017, the turnover of the European written press sub-sector declined at a CAGR of 0.33%. 

Traditional media is at a fulcrum point and looking for answers for a number of problems it is facing. The need to improve site UX, the impending cookie-less future, how to effectively monetise subscriptions, and how best to tackle the rise of generative AI are some key concerns. 

Phil Gannon, JobbioJobbio’s Phil Gannon was on hand to explain our Amply product

And with so many publishers still focused on print revenues––a rapidly declining area––our Amply product is an enticing prospect for how media companies can monetise their websites more effectively. 

We work with publishing partners globally to deliver immersive job boards and smart ad tech, designed to help publishers unlock new revenue streams that are crucial to their business goals.

As a result we are passionate about showing traditional media outlets how they can maximise on their existing web traffic using our unique solution (find out more here), but equally important are the understandings we gain from those conversations.

Here’s what we found most interesting at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Europe conference:

1. Just EEAT

We loved this takeaway from Ring Media Group in connection with Google’s EEAT model: “Content is King, but delivery is Queen, and she calls the shots.”

EEAT stands for experience, expertise, authority and trust, and is designed to keep content creators focused on the end user. Gone are the old tactics of keyword stuffing and large numbers of links, with an emphasis on delivering good quality content readers actually want and need. 

Providing users with what they are actually searching for as well as a good and helpful result from that content is the objective. Ring Media also says this is the way that publishers can get their content ranked above fake news.

2. Will AI take my journalists?

Differing perspectives were heard at the conference around the rise of generative AI, such as ChatGPT. Where some publishers feel we need to embrace automation and not compete with it, others are adamant they won’t be using the technology.

While automation in distribution helps increase democracy in the newsroom––so no playing favourites by pushing out the articles senior editors prefer––many organisations don’t want to use content created by tools such as ChatGPT, and favour their newsrooms’ publishing original content.

Others see use cases for AI-generated content: it could be used to enrich content, for example by having it read a story, and then create a quiz to be included at the bottom of the piece.

3. Paywalls and monetising

An ongoing concern for all publishers, but particularly for legacy media which has specific challenges in getting readers to move from print to digital, monetising content was a topic of focus for several publishers.

Pic: Roland RUDOLPHPic: Roland Rudolph

At The Times, print still represents approx 80% of its revenue and as a result, there is a big push towards getting more digital subscribers. The age of the readership is a focus too––the average age of a Times paid subscriber is 53, and attracting new, younger readers is key.

One thing publishers can’t agree on, though, is how to get those digital subscribers.

New tech at wanifra. Pic: Roland RUDOLPHA new tech showcase. Pic: Roland Rudolph

4. User experience

Improving the user experience on site is an integral part of the journey towards creating a site users want to visit––and hopefully pay for. 

The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit does a lot of testing around optimising its paywall. For example, a move to showing seven lines of an article before showing the paywall has proven optimal to encourage subscription sign ups. Three lines and 15 lines we also tested.

Die Zeit has also found that app usage drives engagement and retention, and so it has put a big push on encouraging users to download the app as soon as they buy a digital subscription.

At The Times, a big internal project is underway to make the newspaper’s website more user friendly. Originally designed to mimic the paper with a Saturday supplement category and a Times Two category, for example, this now doesn’t make sense from a digital user perspective. 

In addition, the company is working on SEO and search issues to improve performance. For example, William Hague is the most-read weekly columnist, but internal site and Google searches only deliver articles in which he is mentioned, and not the ones he has authored. 

5. Ease of access

In Switzerland, Ringier Media Group is one Swiss publishing group that is working on a product called OneLog. This will provide one login across the whole of the Swiss media industry, with the four biggest Swiss publishers coming together in a joint venture.

It has taken five years to get OneLog to where it is at now: currently there are 45 brands included, and 2.1 million users per month. The aim? To focus on getting new digital subscribers to make up for the decline in print. The model is definitely one to watch.

Want to learn more? Of course you do.

  • Learn more how Amply can maximise your audience engagement and unlock a new revenue stream, get in touch today
  • To read more takeaways from attending key publishing events, read our round-up of the PPA Festival in London

Author Jobbio

More posts by Jobbio

Leave a Reply