MediaNext: From Upstart to Powerhouse
Business Insider's Henry Blodget discusses digital and its future in publishing.
New York—Suggesting that digital is the future of media has become an almost contrived notion. Most publishers have adopted a digital strategy for their brand, and are growing increasingly aggressive in terms of building out their digital footprint. Nevertheless, digital media is still in its relative infancy, so there are many uncertainties going forward for publishers.
Business Insider’s CEO and editor-in-chief Henry Blodget delivered a keynote address at FOLIO:’s MediaNext conference today in New York, which addressed many uncertainties and his message aimed to put a skeptic’s mind at ease.
Business Insider was founded in 2007 as a pure-play publisher, and at start-up employed three full-time staffers. On its first day the site generated under 3,000 page views. Today it welcomes over a million readers daily and boasts a staff of around 100.
Blodget says the key to the online-only publication’s success was developing an entirely new model, a model that borrowed from both print and broadcast media. “It’s a simple theory, a different medium requires different journalism,” Blodget stated.
So then what is Blodget’s model? It is an all-of-the-above approach. Digital affords a publisher the ability to integrate the best components of both a print and broadcast medium. Thus, the content can call on a number of story telling tools including text, photos, videos, audio clips and graphics. Also, digital is malleable and can undergo a transformation as a story develops.
The digital model is different from traditional media models in terms of content, distribution, analytics, cost structure and economics. Regardless, quality content drives the bottom line for all media companies. Words that were also echoed in James Bankoff’s keynote address at the conference yesterday.
Blodget said it plainly: “Great content drives everything.” There are no silver bullet marketing tools, and no single storytelling tools that will grow and sustain your publication. Instead it’s an all-in approach tailored to your brand and your readers that will ensure your company remains viable moving into to a future that Blodget sees digital dominating. And above all, it’s about distributing quality content.
Blodget emphatically affirms that “digital works” and looking ahead he believe that existing traditional mediums will survive. However, survival will depend on a publisher’s ability to adapt to the changing digital landscape. A landscape that Blodget envisions having hundreds of millions of readers, as well as hundreds of millions in revenues for publishers that can capitalize on the medium.