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Online Publishing Companies Responding to Latest Trends

An interview with Joe Ripp, a reconsideration of infinite scroll, and Amazon-inspired ad targeting highlight the headlines from online publishing companies

Finding an edge is always at the forefront of online publishing companies’ efforts, as it is in any business. Today, we look at how Time Inc. is taking its operations to the next level, how digital magazines are dealing with the limitations of the once enchanting infinite scroll, and how Jeff Bezos has brought a little Amazon strategy with him to The Washington Post.

All three stories are from one of our favorite sources for industry news: Digiday.

Joe Ripp Talks About Time Inc.’s Future

In the year since spinning off from Time-Warner, Time Inc. has been busy. Legendary CEO Joe Ripp has led the Time Inc. digital efforts by providing the right balance of headstrong direction and hands-off management, placing heavy emphasis on hiring the right digital personnel and then letting them do their jobs.

Those jobs have focused on instilling a multiplatform approach and embracing the right technology, Digiday reports.

“Video; mobile technology and distribution; adjacent opportunities for our titles, including products and services; events. We have many magazines that are service magazines. We can sell consumers things. For the longest time, traffic seemed to be the big currency. But it seems to me that we’re coming back toward content being very valuable,” Ripp told Lucia Moses.

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“Too many publishers did not embrace technologies fast enough. This company certainly did not invest in its Web sites. But quality content will always prevail. [Time Warner] invested in Home Box Office. We wanted to see if pay TV could work. All the movie studios thought this was the worst idea. The reality is, the studios thought of themselves as content companies, and they’re thriving. More and more people are engaging with their content as more and more distribution platforms were created. The more we distribute our content, the more opportunity we have to monetize that content.”

Up next for Time Inc. as a titan among online publishing companies? Maintaining a strong symbiotic relationship with Facebook, experimenting with subscription strategies, and continuing to engage Millennials.

Is Infinite Scroll Still Preferred by Online Publishing Companies?

Is there a disconnect between the endless feeding – and, ideally, reading – of scrolling content on desktop and mobile sites and whether ads are actually making an impact?

Digiday reports that advertisers say yes, and online publishing companies are facing calls to fix the problem. Chartbeat, meanwhile, has more concerning news for publishers infinite scroll: It has found no evidence that the feature improves “depth of visit.”

For those who stick with infinite scroll, “lazy loading” – where ads don’t load until the articles they belong with are in view – could be a solution, Digiday reports. Others, like Forbes digital and CNN, are abandoning it, opting for a more curatorial approach and other scrolling models.

The Washington Post Tries Clavis Ad-Targeting Tool

Clavis, which means “key” in Latin, was developed at The Washington Post to solve the problem of native ad engagement and measurement. It borrows, in part, from publisher Bezos’s product recommendation engine at Amazon.

How? New Post product BrandConnect, by way of Clavis, generates “The Post Recommends” by analyzing keywords and phrases in consumers’ reading histories, while making use of third-party data, as well.

What are online publishing companies getting right, and what are they getting wrong? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

To read more about online publishing companies making news, visit Digiday.

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