How Do Content Creators Thrive in The 'New Normal': Insights from INTERACT

Published on Jun 26th, 2019

Ed Hannigan
VP Sales, Shareablee,

At its core, storytelling remains as captivating as it has always been. The main challenge for us in social today is the battle for attention - as consumers increasingly become more widely dispersed and fragmented.

As MediaPost’s Joe Mandese put it when he moderated the New Digital Storytelling Ecosystem panel session at INTERACT last month, consumers have more varied consumption and migratory patterns in a world of infinite options.

So how do media brands ensure they are chosen as that option now, and in future? Helping us answer that question during this engaging discussion were Deidre Lester from Barstool Sports, Joe Carney from the Players Tribune and Jon Steinlauf from Discovery Inc.

All panelists agreed that thriving in the new normal means needing to adapt and embrace new trends and opportunities as they present themselves on various platforms.

For Deidre Lester, it’s a case of going where the audiences are, sometimes organically and then working out from a business perspective how to measure and monetize content.

Lester says it’s challenging, but consumers are good at following Barstool across different platforms at different certain times of day.

“On the business of monetization, those platforms and measurement of those platforms is daunting. It's great to have partners like Shareablee helping with that and also helping aggregate data across all of those platforms to show which media brands are really leading or engaging different types of consumers. The traditional measurement companies are not really doing that for us and it left us at a disadvantage on the business side, for a long time.”

Jon Steinlauf explained that Discovery is in a unique position with 17 television networks including all of their related properties.

“We feel we have an advantage because we’ve been doing it for a long time and, have kept growing by just continuing to develop a quality content library. The business model has always been ‘Own the Shows’ so if you’re a production company and you do a show for one of our channels, we turn the shows over, the episodes over - we then own the IP - we’ll pay a premium to own the IP. By owning the IP we can go into the app world or whatever tech or platform is created in the tech world with our content, scale it globally and continue to own the genre not just on linear television but whatever platform there is."

For Joe Carney from the Players Tribune, the new platforms are all pipelines for content. In his view that content should be motivating for audiences.

“One of the things we’re trying to do as an organization is create deeper connections and not necessarily the widest connections. It’s more about ‘how do I get people to feel inspired?’ We’re not reaching anywhere near the numbers of what Barstool does in terms of overall audience and some of the other properties like Discovery, but our game and hopefully why we’re going to stay relevant is because you know you’re getting an athlete and authentic piece of content that you cannot get anywhere else.    

“The exclusivity of that content is really important versus the commoditization of what we see, respectfully with highlights and everything else out there. I think that’s where fewer but deeper relationships are more powerful when there are gazillions of choices for audiences to gravitate to." 

From my point of view at Shareablee, helping people monetize that success and translate it into positive business outcomes is key.

Having spent most of my career in ad sales, being on the measurement side of our industry is rewarding and fascinating.  We are quantifying engagement in the social space so our clients can articulate their wins in the market and demonstrate the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. By understanding what resonates with their audiences, our clients are able to speak to and engage with their audiences in a more authentic voice.

While storytelling hasn't changed in essence, the way we can evaluate our success as creators has never had so much granularity. That certainly presents challenges but as the panel agreed, is outweighed by the opportunity.


Photo from left to right: Joe Mandese from MediaPost / Deirdre Lester from Barstool Sports / Joe Carney from The Player’s Tribune / Ed Hannigan from Shareablee / Jon Steinlauf from Discovery

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