By Chuck Fishman, Media Entertainment and Publishing Director, Acquia
1. What significant changes did ‘Media & Entertainment’ segment witness in 2013? What did these changes mean to vendors and customers?
There was a wave of media industry consolidation in 2013. The most significant activity occurred in the local media ownership segment, where there was almost $7 billion in mergers and acquisitions among companies such as Sinclair Broadcasting, Gannett, and Tribune. These companies now face the challenge of standardizing their growing digital portfolios on to new platforms from their distinct and various legacy content management systems (CMSs). Such CMSs were designed for the specific needs of TV stations and do not address the complexity of what a consumer expects from a digital media experience that brings together social media, video and interactive content, mobile access, and more.
In 2013, we also saw the proliferation of new media brands. In cable, new channels launched -- including Fusion, El Rey, Pivot, and Revolt -- with a special focus on minority and millennial consumers. In order to grow and monetize the new audience for these networks, the brands must offer engaging digital media experiences, representing another opportunity for CMS vendors.
Finally, digitally focused media upstarts gained tremendous audiences in 2013. Upworthy, Vox, Gawker, and BuzzFeed developed socially oriented and viral content attracting huge audiences (55 million monthly uniques for Upworthy, 41 million monthly uniques for Vox, 97.5 million for Gawker and some 85 million for BuzzFeed). One of these new viral content types -- the “listicle,” an article presented as a top 10 list -- was pushed into the media landscape by Buzzfeed, while Upworthy’s key to success are videos that have social sharing integrations. Combined, the audience for these four sites have an audience northward of 250 million monthly unique visitors, while all U.S. newspaper websites pull in about 141 million online monthly uniques. The attention that these upstart sites attract has also drawn capital to these companies. Vice Media received a $70 million investment from News Corp, while Vox Media raised $34 million in investment dollars, and Buzzfeed raised an additional $19 million. These companies will use the capital to create new content offerings, which, in turn, will drive more digital development.
With all this in mind, it’s an exciting time for Acquia; there is tremendous opportunity to transform traditional media companies’ digital experiences as they consolidate, and enable the development of new media brands.
2.What are some of the changes you anticipated would happen in 2013 but did not happen?
While 2013 was the year of consolidation and new media offerings, new technologies did not seem to transform content delivery this past year.