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Publishers — Key Lessons from The Lisbon Web Summit 2022

By a Verblio Writer

(999 words)

The 2022 Web Summit took place in Lisbon from November 1st-4th at the Altice Arena. The turnover was colossal as the tech event was sold-out. It had 71,033 participants from over 150 countries, all meeting in Portugal’s capital. The event showcased 2,296 startup businesses, while covering about a thousand tennis courts.

The publisher tracks featured panel interviews and presentations with many publishers, such as The Atlantic, TechCrunch, Vice, Teen Vogue, Fast Company, Washington Post, Axios, and more. Let’s explore the five key takeaways from the Lisbon Web Summit 2022. 

Prioritize your audience, and the revenue follows

A steady theme was how publishers should learn to desist from looking at their offerings to develop and then think they will scale after launch. Instead, they were encouraged to concentrate on their audience as their top priority. And through research and information, they can better attend to their audience’s needs.

Publisher at Axios, Nicholas Johnston, said, “we are yet to figure out a supernatural secret, we only have a different blend of income, and we are meticulous in establishing around that. Most publishers make the mistake of building first, particularly startups, and believe the cash will follow shortly.

Global Chief Officer of the Washington Post, Joy Robins, who chose the theme, said, “As a news publisher, you need to resolve that you are a business. Immediately you establish that, it’s better to align your business with accountability and shared goals. The organization must be ingrained in your audience. And, while subscriptions, advertising, and events are a by-product of that, they need to begin with the audience.”

Johnston contributed, “A vital aspect is to acknowledge the relationship with your readers. If you are dependent on Google, Facebook, or any other social media platforms for serving your audience, know that you are already at their disposal. And, they aren’t in the news business, but simply operating their business.”

As Nicholas Johnston, Axios Publisher said, ”I cherished being Axios Chief Editor. That’s because if I devise a plan and the sales reps can sell it, I get to onboard several journalists as I desire. We’ve now reached 200 journalists. ” 

Micropayments are back as a prevailing fashion

Micropayments may soon be in the spotlight after multiple false downs. Some newsgroups, who requested to stay anonymous and were looking closely at the tech or launching micropayments next year, spoke.

From the tech merchant’s viewpoint, the arguments are vivid: micropayments add another revenue stream while also opening up a publisher’s content to a broader audience, many of whom will eventually become subscribers.

Publishers need more convincing. One newsgroup said they were sure that micropayments would cannibalize current subscriber revenue and become a zero-sum game. Thus, they will need to create hundreds of micropayments for each subscriber they lose. But the same newsgroup also said they were looking closely at the tech, with reams of data scientists and statisticians pouring over the possible dispositions.

Besides, tech vendors and publishers are advancing away from easy per-article offers. Instead, they

are looking at themed and cheaper bundles. Now that recent data reports we may have reached peak subscription, the year that micropayments emerge as an earnest force could be 2023.

Publishers are perching over the creator economy

Think Patreon, Substack, and YouTube – as the Creator Economy faces a skyward curve. News publishers tell What’s New in Publishing (WNIP) about how they seek to hire creator economy ‘names’ to captivate new and further diverse audiences. For centuries, publishers have harnessed popular names.

So, it’s nothing new. Before, the news media created most of these big names.

Today, the trend has changed, and news companies are looking beyond their chambers for prominent Creator Economy geniuses. As if they got a tip-off, the Guardian launched ‘Pop Culture with Chanté Joseph’s. Every week, the podcast dives deeper into trending stories to attract a new breed of readers. Joseph, who spoke at the Summit, said,” The hidden thing if you are working for a publication as a creator is that you need to keep your integrity. It’s very crucial.” Publishers should take note.

Gen Z no longer trusts mainstream news

A similar theme from the 2022 WAN-IFRA Congress, where the Reuters Institute Director, Rasmus Kleis Neilsen, highlighted a fatal plunge in media trust, was reiterated around the 2022 Web Summit.

Menacingly, Gen Z is running away from press media and seeking trusted information from their friends instead. As Journalist Ann Curry said,” Gen Z are an intelligent generation and don’t trust people within my age group. They are seeking information from each other.”

A Correspondent at the Shade Room, Judith Nwandu, added ” Gen Z are popular on Snapchat and TikTok, and they’re bothered that there are just a few influential men, for instance, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, who have sole ownership over affluent media platforms. That’s inconvenient for them. “

Today, TikTok is the only social media handle where news digest is growing for news companies. But recently, Brendan Carr, Federal Communication Commission, said, “I don’t think there’s a way forward for anything besides a TikTok ban.”

It’s a mess. News companies should determine how hastily their young readers abandon them and discover why.

Events have returned with a reprisal

The utter array of the event is suitable enough to persuade a coldhearted pessimist that events have entirely recuperated from the Covid19 pandemic. But, with a broader community haunted by increasing inflation and battling with some phenomena, such as energy shortages & war, it might take a bold publisher to persevere on events that usually take many years to plan. Contingency and full insurance are crucial.

Also, as people now choose whatever they spend money on, creating an unmissable event is necessary. As proven by the Summit, people will usually come miles away if you get the content right.

Key takeaways from Lisbon’s Web Summit?

The Web Summit is a unique tech event worldwide. It’s an opportunity for participants to establish collaborations, boost sales, improve brand awareness, and network. Publishers should restore audience expectations, and micropayments may soon get a lot of attention.

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