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Brief Published: 4 Jun 2014

Digiday Publishing Summit Europe

Digiday Publishing Summit Europe 2014

The first Digiday Publishing Summit Europe took place in Barcelona from June 2-4, featuring insight from a raft of media companies including entertainment site BuzzFeed, American business group Forbes and British newspaper the Guardian.

A key topic of discussion over the two days was the future of native advertising, and the outlook is unsettled. Scalability is a problem, according to David Moynihan, editor of UK media site Digital Spy: “You can’t just open the floodgates to sponsored content. You have to be careful.” Sebastian Tomich, vice-president of advertising at US paper the New York Times, echoed this sentiment: “Brands should be the sub plot, not the main plot, for native to work.”

Other key trends discussed at the summit included the continued dominance of mobile (see our State of Mobile report for more), opportunities in video content (see our reports Mastering Social Video, The Value of Long Form, and Seven Approaches to YouTube Storytelling), and the struggle for traditional publishers to adapt to a fast-evolving, multiplatform consumer landscape.

The latter issue was especially relevant in a week when everyone was talking about the leaked Innovation report from the New York Times, which highlighted the challenges the 163-year-old newspaper is facing in adapting in the age of always-on Gen Z.

Stylus asked Jasper Jackson, editor of The Media Briefing, for his key takeaways from the event. “The discussions around native and programmatic advertising make it clear that both are here to stay,” he said. “Yet they are neither silver bullets to fix the gap between print and digital ad yields, nor existential threats to the future of publishing. There are lots of different ways of using them and combining them, and publishers are going to have to work hard getting both right to stand any chance of making decent money from advertising online.”

Jackson also drew on insight from a talk given by Mike Goldsmith, head of content strategy for mobile at UK publishing company Future, to tell us: “Publishers are playing in a completely new environment where they are competing with almost everyone else on the planet to produce content to keep audience attention, and that is an existential threat.

“They no longer have the protection of being a distribution channel – they’ve lost that role to the Facebooks and the Googles. That means they are going to have to make lots of very, very hard decisions about where they can still do a better job than the masses.”

For more on native advertising, see our report from this year’s Dubai Lynx.