Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

AOP conference 2005: Content Matters

6 Oct 2005

Event Description

In a crowded space where ‘everyone wants to be media’, differentiating yourself to consumers, advertisers and agencies is vital.

The fourth annual AOP Online Publishing Conference took place on 7 October 2005 at the London Hilton Park Lane, bringing together some 250 of the most influential people in UK Online Publishing to explore the the technology and trends they must be aware of to win the battle for engagement.

The opening keynote address was delivered by Bill Grueskin, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal Online. His keynote presentation on the challenges facing online publishers focused on the predicament that online advertising revenue for most media companies is still very small compared to that of offline parent companies: “We’re looking at a 10-15 year period before the two are comparable,” he said.

Grueskin was followed by a panel session exploring the ways publishers can take advantage of online targeting techniques. As online measurement and targeting technologies develop, so do the opportunities for delivering content and advertisements tailored to a user’s, behaviour, location or preferences.

The session encouraged publishers to ask whether their businesses are taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by behavioural targeting, geo-targeting and personalisation. It featured case studies from Mike Seery, chief information officer at The Economist Group, Andrew Smith, head of insight at Associated New Media and Guy Sneesby, managing director at Dennis Interactive, who described the ways they have used targeting technologies to allow consumers to connect with their brands and advertisers.

The second keynote of the day was delivered by Dominique Busso, chief executive of VNUnet Europe, who spoke about the growth of blogs, RSS and user generated content. Busso looked at the ways these trends are influencing how publishers are engaging with their audience and the impact they may have on the future of content sites.

Google is moving into the area of display advertising, therefore becoming a branded sell. In a session featuring Nikesh Arora, vice president of European operations at Google, Ed Ling, planning director at i-level, Iain Melville, managing director of Reed Business Information and Chrysi Philalithes, European marketing director at MIVA, the panel considered the implications for publishers, agencies and pricing, as Google becomes both a media representative for publishers and a media buyer for the client. The session asked whether search can really do as good or a better job at influencing brand decisions, or does content matter?

Following a networking buffet lunch, delegates heard views on ways to attract advertising spend to quality, branded content sites from a panel of agencies and publishers, including: Wayne Arnold, managing director of Profero, Alison Lomax, head of media at Tribal DDB, Bill Murray, managing director of group business information strategy at Haymarket Publishing and Annelies van den Belt, director of new media at Telegraph Group.

The panel debated the ways publishers of 'destination sites' can enhance their proposition and convince agencies and clients to spread their spend beyond the ‘big four’ portals.

In the final session of the day, Ashley Highfield, director of new media and technology at the BBC, gave a passionate keynote presentation urging publishers to focus on functionality.

Highfield claimed that a fundamental shift in mindset is needed if major media organisations are to flourish in the digital age. He said: “I think the major determinant of success or failure in the converged world is how we respond to the increased rate of adoption of new technologies, and predicting when these will reach critical mass,” he said.

Highfield was joined by a panel including: Jean-Paul Edwards, head of media futures at Manning Gottleib OMD, Philip Smith, editor of Media Week and Andrew Taylor, managing director of Channel 4 New Media, who explored the trends raised in Highfields presentation and gave their vision of what today’s user will want from tomorrow’s media and what content publishers be preparing themselves for next.

Read more about the conference Content Matters:

[ “People will not pay for quality of information..."]
[BBC online chief urges publishers to focus on functionality]

The one-day Conference is followed by the AOP Online Publishing Awards. Celebrating excellence in all aspects of digital publishing, the evening dinner and presentation is the highlight of the online publishing year.

Read more about the AOP Awards 2005 here:
[Publishers’ blogs and podcasts steal show at AOP Awards]