Risk & Business Magazine Gillons Insurance Summer 2019 Magazine - Page 13

KILL THE MEDIA Insider, native advertising and sponsored content spending in 2013 was under $5 billion in total spend. That number has to grow to over $20 billion. So now, media companies that used to shy away from sponsored content opportunities are going all-in. Sponsored content has become the en vogue business model for media. But while this shift is certainly exciting, what it's doing is keeping media companies from seeking out a real business model – one that will help them achieve success over the long term. And that's what has me worried. Right now, it’s probably fair to say that the content being produced at most media companies is far superior to what's coming from agencies and brands. And it’s probably fair to say that these media companies have superior distribution capabilities, as well. These are two top reasons why brands are investing billions of dollars in media companies, providing brands with ways to reach their audiences leveraging valuable and compelling content. However, brands are getting better at content every day. And so are agencies. These businesses are now actively hiring journalists, skilled writers, broadcasters and expert content creators. Heck, Cisco Systems has over 200 content-related roles by itself. They are also bringing on specialists to help with audience development. It only takes a few internal moves like this to turn disparate corporate databases into powerful content distribution machines. In the corporate world, it seems like all the right pieces are being gathered – they just need to be put into the proper place. And did I mention corporate coffers? Brands have so much more money to invest in this, it’s not even funny. Apple, for example, can buy The New York Times 100 times over and still have $30 billion left over. In five, 10 or 15 years, when these brands finally get their acts together, I'll be genuinely concerned for the future of media companies. Just as they did with traditional advertising, these content- empowered brands will likely start to pull back on their sponsored content investments. When they do (and they will), what business model will media companies fall back on? Without other revenue sources to depend on, and with advertising all but dried up, this pull- back could represent a final, fatal blow to the digital media industry. Look, I don’t want to be right about this; but I'm sure as sure can be that it will eventually happen. Just as we have seen the rise of content marketing, we will someday see the demise of media if they continue to solely focus on a revenue source that is, at best, fleeting. + Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must-Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. JoePulizzi.com 13