Updated: May 10, 2020
I'm chairing a panel at this year's Publishing Expo on new media business models. The subject is not original. In fact it’s been consuming the industry for some time. But what has changed in the last 12 months or so is that the conversation is taking a more practical and positive tack. That’s partly because there’s only so much wailing and doomongering to be done, but also because it is possible to examine some models that have been running for a while and assess what they have to offer. Just over a year ago the NUJ organised a highly successful conference on the subject of ‘New Ways to Make Journalism Pay‘ and a number of events since then have addressed the same subject.
Now it’s Publishing Expo’s turn, and at this session the idea is to move things on just a little by hearing from some people who are out there putting new models into effect. One is Debbie Djordjevic, who I’ve known on and off since we both worked in print at IPC. Djordjevic moved into the digital world relatively early and was one of the first print journalists I heard being really enthusiastic about the possibilities the digital space offered. She went on to work for handbag.com at Hearst, before joining founder Krista Madden at blogging network Handpicked Media.
I profiled Handpicked in a couple of articles on the Daily Finance website last year, and Djordjevic has agreed to come along and share her experiences. She will be talking about how the idea came to life, how the market was identified and how the resulting product is sold. Handpicked is now the most popular blogging network in the country and was also the subject of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading late last year which threw up some interesting issues about new business models. The case is now closed and the OFT is satisfied with Handpicked. Djordjevic is sure to be a fascinating speaker.
We’ll be joined by Tom Ratkovich, President of SmartFOCUS, the marketing company that counts the Guardian, The Publishing Group, ASOS, Penguin and Virgin Games among its clients. Ratkovich comes all the way from Colorado to talk about the concept of news media companies as ‘infomediaries’. He aims to outline what the concept is and “explain why this is a logical role for a news media company to assume” before saying a little about how companies can achieve this change.
As in all the event’s seminars, there will be time for questions from the audience and we are hoping for an informative and stimulating discussion. There should also be a chance to catch up with the panel afterwards. Entry is free, so if you haven’t registered, what are you waiting for?