GigaOM and paidContent hosted a one-day conference last week at which a number of media-related issues were discussed and debated. I was unable to attend, so I've been reading the coverage to get a sense of where things are headed, particularly in the periodical marketplace.
From the conference, Jeff John Roberts reported on a three-person panel discussing "The new publishers". Moderated by Larry Kramer, president and publisher of USA Today, the session also featured Jim Bankoff of Vox Media and John Paton of Digital First Media.
According to Roberts, Bankoff advocated a niche strategy: "The audience isn’t 'sports fans' or people interested in 'health' but rather New York Rangers fans or those suffering from gout." His perspective no doubt rings true for B2B and association publishers.
In a brief mention, Roberts also reported Paton's observation that "newspapers’ longtime practice of repurposing existing content (is) a lousy strategy." I wasn't in the audience, but (given that his firm is called "Digital First Media") I imagine Paton meant that writing for a single platform is a failed strategy.
Although I wouldn't say that there are many publishers with effective cross-platform strategies, it's hard to ignore Bloomberg or Thomson-Reuters as examples of companies that have found ways to surround an audience and deliver content in real time across multiple platforms.
Bankoff is right to say that it's a niche world. It's also one that rewards value when it is delivered to a defined audience.