3 Audience Trends to Watch

Media companies have figured out that in order to sustain a healthy business model, it’s all about distributing their unique, niched-out content through various channels. This includes print, digital, webinars, videos, podcasts, social media and more.

As niche publishers, how do you best manage the process to drive these various audiences that consume your content? Do you provide value to each audience on each channel so they believe your product or service is the one for them?

Jeff Litvack, Adweek’s CEO, shared his insights with our niche publishing audience at our Super Niche event in 2018. Here are three audience development trends he recommended for 2019 — check your progress!


Audience Trend #1: Content consumption moves to mobile.

The implications of “think mobile first” in terms of ad offerings, training, selling, product and hiring are significant.

  •  Smartphone penetration is now above 88%.
  •  71% of all emails opened are on a mobile device.
  •  More than half of U.S. adults live in ‘Cell Phone-Only’ households.
  •  PC purchasing is now at 58% and smartphones at 53%.
  •  For the first time, mobile generated 55% of all online display advertising revenue, according to one estimate.
  • 96% of Millennial digital news readers get their news from mobile, and 36% of them only get their news from mobile. Watch load time for pages, snacking content and changing ad units. Banners are less viable, video now works better and native integrations are best.


Audience Trend #2: Media consumption is happening off brand.

The value to most publishers is meager. Based on a survey of Digital Content Next members – including NYT, Bloomberg and ESPN –platform partnerships accounted for just 14% of total publisher revenues. And of that 14%, 89% was from advertising sold directly by the members. Remaining 2% came from licensing fees, production fees and subscription or transaction revenue sharing.

Check out these social media facts:

  •  81% percent of U.S. consumers use Facebook regularly, compared with Google (79%), Twitter (43%) and Instagram (40%).
  •  But… 55% percent of those surveyed said Google inspired happiness, followed by Facebook at 50%. (Source: Digital Content Next (2017); covered first half of 2016)


Audience Trend #3: eNewsletter is becoming THE product.

The New York Times has successfully changed the focus of their distribution in a big way.

The NYT has determined new subscribers have a particularly high lifetime value:

  • Newsletter subscribers are twice as likely as regular NYT readers to become subscribers.
  • Newsletter subscribers also read twice as many stories per month as the average Times reader.

The NYT now has 13 million subscriptions to 50 email newsletters. After showing such strong subscription growth, the NYT now has a total subscription goal of 10MM by 2025 (MarketWatch, February 2019.)


Editor’s note: This post has been updated from the 2018 original.


More about Jeff Litvack:  Jeff Litvack is the CEO and a member of the board at Adweek. He is a digital media native who leverages his 25 years of operational, strategic and financial expertise to help media companies and private equity firms in sourcing, evaluating, and transforming acquisitions.



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