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Opportunities & Threats: Consumer Media

What’s the outlook for consumer media? Hearst UK Chief Commercial Officer Jane Wolfson looks ahead.

By Jane Wolfson

Opportunities & Threats: Consumer Media
Jane Wolfson.

Last year saw another humanitarian crisis that has had significant consequences globally. Having seemingly stepped out, at least in the UK, from the cloud of Covid lockdowns, we found ourselves by the end of the year looking down the barrel of a cost-of-living crisis and possible long-term recession; driven by, amongst other things, the appalling ongoing war in Ukraine, inflationary pressure on pricing for both food and fuel, scarcity in product and political instability.

In recessions gone by, consumer media has been impacted as advertising revenues and product purchase have been hit, however the diversified revenue streams of consumer media today should allow it to navigate the 2023 headwinds with more positive outcomes.

We should all be looking to continue to diversify our revenue streams, whilst maintaining our existing ones. Pinpointing opportunities when there is so much to focus on and prioritising what they are will be key. Knowing our audiences and using that knowledge to enhance our relationships and engagement with them is fundamental to our future success, especially when consumer confidence is at an all-time low (as per the GfK Consumer Confidence Indicator).

Intelligent use of data, with privacy and brand safety at the core of its infrastructure, is a fundamental for revenue growth. There will continue to be online safety legislation that will affect consumer media publishers and we need to remain a trusted source of content for our consumers. That means allowing them their privacy as well as protecting them from harmful content.

Consumer media that have an emotional connection with their audiences are proven to uplift key performance metrics and are also more trusted than some other forms of media. Let’s not lose this. We need to ensure that the benefits to the consumer are there too, not just the benefits for our business.

Sustainability is no longer something mentioned in passing, it needs to be a fixed agenda item in all consumer media companies moving forward. As part of Ad Net Zero, Hearst UK is able to make a difference through the implementation of carbon calculators for our all-important advertisers and to harness the power of advertising to support consumer behaviour change. But this goes beyond advertising. We are in the privileged position to be able to educate our audiences and help them improve their understanding on important topics. Whether that be diversity and belonging or sustainability, the content that we deliver can drive them into action to make positive change.

2023 has several opportunities and threats but we can position ourselves well to tackle them and look to a bright future for consumer media.

This article was first published in the Publishing Partners Guide (PPG) 2023, which is published and distributed by InPublishing. You can register to receive InPublishing magazine here.