Publishing Tech + Data: Circulation, Facebook, Economist

Publishing tech is a priority for digital magazines – but it’s not as easy as just checking off a box

Publishing tech is growing fast. With each passing week comes the latest innovation or must-have component. Data drives this demand for more involvement with the Internet of Things, but media companies have always has to keep up to compete. Counter-intuitively, it’s nothing new that digital magazines are facing. has some quality coverage of recent publishing tech developments.

Economist Chief Digital Officer Stephane Pere on Publishing Tech + Data

Highly recommended interview about the many facets of publishing tech with Economist Chief Digital Officer Stephane Pere.

“If you think about a publisher, [whether] a classic or digital publisher, it’s making money from two things: Great content that people want to pay for, and getting access to an audience. [We use data to] think about new business models, how to transform the business,” Pere tells Chris Sutcliffe.

“We’re not doing data for the sake of data. That’s very important. [The issue is] making it meaningful. It’s not just collecting, it’s actioning and making sense.”

Circulation Revenue Still Position Crucial for Publishers – Who’s Responsible

Circulation revenue is the endgame, but how to get there is the issue, no pun intended. So, with the digital media evolution, what are the implications? takes a look.

“Does all this change mean that a new type of person is needed for the circulation department? [Incisive Media Group Marketing & Subscriptions Director BenWood says that, without question, the type of person that will succeed in circulation has changed. ‘We went from having a Controlled Circulation department, rebranded that as Audience Development, before we made a complete transition to a Data Insight team.’ He explained that the Data Insight team has three core functions; market specialists to obtain data; analysts to provide insight; and digital specialists to ‘obsess’ over user engagement and analytics. ‘A couple of people have made the journey with us, but the skill set is unrecognisable from even two years ago,’ he said. Incisive has a monthly conference call with teams in Hong Kong, New York and London to talk about a group of core customers, the products being sold to them, to which departments within those customers, and who the gatekeepers are,” Peter Houston writes.


“Wood says the data insight team plays a key role in those meetings, working out engagement levels within customer organisations, looking at known bounces to see if people have moved jobs, and highlighting upcoming events to target prospective customers. On the product marketing side, the team is now split into two core functions. Brand marketing with the job of understanding customers and anticipating market needs; and Communications and Engagement, responsible for communication and sales support, and automated and engagement campaigns. ‘They are two very different skill-sets, and a step change away from the all-rounders we used to hire.’ [Dovetail Client Services Manager LizzieMooney doesn’t think the skills required have changed, explaining that circulation managers will always need a strong focus on retention and understanding the customer. But she says the volume of data is much larger. ‘You need to be able to analyse and pull out the headlines and to test – rather than suffer analysis paralysis.'”

5 Terms Media Companies Can Get Rid Of?

Here’s a funny post from Which nomenclature has outworn its welcome when it comes to digital publishing? You might be surprised by a few.

We won’t spoil them all, but here’s one: VR.

“Don’t get us wrong, we love VR here at TheMediaBriefing. We’ve written articles about how it can transform journalism, and we’re confident that it will eventually be a significant revenue generator for publishers (well, some of us are),” Sutcliffe writes.

“But there needs to be some clarity about what is and isn’t true VR. The New York Times, undeniably one of the pioneers in that space, is sending out even more Google Cardboard sets, a continuation of what we’ve argued is the best proof of concept for a new media product in recent memory.”

About Facebook: Change in Course Shows Digital Publishers a Priority

Facebook Instant Articles represents a great opportunity and risk for digital publishers. examines how Facebook is facing some challenges, as well.

“What does Facebook possibly have to worry about? It’s unassailable, surely. But, as … Anna Lauren Hoffmann explains, the most basic service Facebook offers – and the one on which its success to date has hinged – isn’t as popular as it once was. Put simply, we’re not sharing details of our personal lives as much any more: ‘A situation where people aren’t sharing is anathema to Facebook’s business model, which uses our personal information to fuel its targeted advertising and marketing engines. Facebook’s response to this problem has been to build new tools for sharing, such as the newly announced live video, instead of better tools for managing privacy – demonstrating Facebook’s prioritization of companies and brands at the expense of the needs and safety of individual users,'” Sutcliffe writes.

“In response, Facebook has launched some tools to ameliorate that problem. But, even on Facebook, there’s only so much attention to go around, and any move to put personal information back at the heart of the strategy will inevitably squeeze the amount of real estate available to brands and publishers. That, and the move to make Instant Articles available to all publishers (and potentially allow verified users access to a ‘tip jar’ for additional monetisation), mean that it’s harder to tell where publishers will sit in the hierarchy of Facebook’s sorting algorithm. But, on the bright side, we do know that the latest tweaks to Facebook’s algorithm is designed to deprioritise ‘clickbait’ and reward more in-depth content, which must at least be a small comfort to legacy publishers who are still wondering what their relationship with Facebook is likely to be a few short months down the line.”

Publishing tech is setting the course for digital magazines. Are you prepared? Give us a call for a quick rundown. 

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