2019 is expected to be another terrible year for media brands, but publishers like BuzzFeed and Refinery29 have a plan to survive.

Business Insider – January 17, 2019

By Lucia Moses

[C-K’s SVP of Media and Analytics Chris Wexler was interviewed and quoted in this story. Excerpt below.]

Media outlets backed by venture-capital firms have become associated with stalled growth, layoffs, and fire sales. BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti even floated the idea to The New York Times that a merger of a few of them — BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox Media, Group Nine Media, and Refinery29 — could be the way to survive.

But the CEOs of some of these companies are standing their ground, saying they’re set up to be the acquirers in a declining market for digital advertising.

“Having a brand that stands for something has always been a differentiator for us,” Refinery29 cofounder and CEO Philippe von Borries told Business Insider. “We’re still a significant business with longevity.”


Publishers’ millennial pitch is losing relevance

Still, investor interest in funding advertising-based businesses is drying up. And long-form, high-quality video is expensive to make, the sales cycle is long, and the profits are low compared to advertising.

“The biggest challenge they have is that the defining characteristic of millennials is, there is no defining characteristic,” said Chris Wexler, SVP and executive director of media and analytics at Cramer‑Krasselt. “Marketers desperately want millennials to be more monolithic, but the older end are parents with a couple kids, the younger end is just getting out of college. It’s the most culturally diverse group, and they celebrate that. Media companies struggle with mass culture segmenting. You can’t be all things to all people. We’re no longer thinking in large, demographic swathes. We’re thinking of coalitions of like-minded groups.”

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