Wave 2 Blog

Digital first is a key trend

Talking to many of our clients and prospects, we’ve recently seen a profound shift in positioning and alignment – digital is now superseding print in terms of operational focus. This is as dramatic a change as we’ve witnessed since our inception in the early 2000’s.

Of course, each publisher and media owner is different. Not just in terms of size and reach but also in terms of the media properties they own, their respective audience profiles and how they distribute their content. But there’s no hiding the fact that digital teams are taking over.

In the past, most of a publisher’s budget for innovation and operational efficiencies went on print. Our world-leading self-service advertising solution AdPortal is a typical example. Installed by many of the world’s biggest publishers (Gannett, Hearst, Schibsted, APN, D C Thomson, Newsquest etc) it has already delivered millions of ads for print, web and mobile. The prime driver of many of these installations, however, was originally print ops.

That’s now changed. Investment in print operations is no longer seen as a major cost-saving driver and the budgets for print innovation have declined significantly.

Taking its place is digital: desktop PC, tablets and mobile.

Indeed, Wave2 has started welcoming new publisher clients where we are working solely with digital teams on efficiencies and innovation. Whilst we’d prefer not to name these clients publicly (we will be releasing case studies in due course), the trend is clear – innovation for publishers has become ‘digital first’.

It’s a sea change from even just a few years ago. It’s also thrown up a conundrum for us because at the merest mention of print, many digital teams perceive that any tech innovation must be a legacy solution! Not so.

In fact, our market-leading automated publishing product portfolio (which includes classified and trade services advertising as well as self-service advertising and corporate brand management) has been created to work across every channel. To this end we could best be described as ‘platform agnostic’, although we are particularly passionate about mobile automated publishing solutions.

Many newspaper and magazine publishers are now seeing half their traffic originate from mobile (just ten day ago International Business Times disclosed that mobile accounts for nearly 50% of IBT.co.uk’s global traffic) and mobile publishing solutions are at the core of our business model.

But perhaps it’s best to end with a statistic we heard at a talk at Taylor Wessing LLP in London’s EC4 last Thursday. Sharing the podium were the CTO of Dennis Publishing, Paul Lomax and the Co-Founder of The Drum, Diane Young (two fantastic talks by two engaging speakers incidentally). Diane remarked that in 2005, The Drum’s earnings were made up primarily of print. Fast forward a decade or so and digital now accounts for 89% of revenue. Enough said!