165 episodes

The Digiday Podcast is a weekly show where we discuss the big stories and issues that matter to brands, agencies and publishers as they transition to the digital age.

The Digiday Podcast Digiday

    • Business
    • 4.4, 84 Ratings

The Digiday Podcast is a weekly show where we discuss the big stories and issues that matter to brands, agencies and publishers as they transition to the digital age.

    'I don't ever get the benefit of the doubt': Blavity founder Morgan DeBaun on running a Black media business in 2020

    'I don't ever get the benefit of the doubt': Blavity founder Morgan DeBaun on running a Black media business in 2020

    These should be banner days for a Black media site that has long covered social injustice for a young audience.
    But Blavity CEO and founder Morgan DeBaun describes challenges that start at the initial difficulty of raising investment as a Black company.
    "For me, the systemic racism comes in the fact that I don't ever get the benefit of the doubt," DeBaun said at the Digiday Publishing Summit.
    As DeBaun sought funds in Silicon Valley, she recalls how investors didn't believe her site's strong organic growth, achieved without investing in Facebook ads. "They're like 'well, we need access to your Google Analytics,'" DeBaun said.
    "It's all of this diligence that certainly is the process, but the question is, would you run the exact same media company through this process if they weren't Black?"
    Blavity was founded in 2014 and raised a $6.5 million Series A round in 2018.
    As for 2020, DeBaun said that advertisers have obviously cut their spending. They're also wary of having their ads presented alongside coverage of racial injustice or social unrest.
    "We have 'Black' and 'African American' and 'police' and 'brutality' on all of our news articles. So we can't run ads on them," DeBaun said. "I'm taking so many financial hits for doing what's right and covering what's right — and what's true, most importantly."
    Fortunately for DeBaun, Blavity doesn't depend on display advertising beyond covering its editorial and freelance budget ("our real bread and butter comes with the experiential, 360 deals," she said).
    "I'm grateful that we have a diversified business where we can kind of float it. But it is a weird moment where I want to ramp up and hire more, but it's not always the best business decision," DeBaun said.

    • 38 min
    'Significant growth': Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith on the accelerated shift to subscriptions

    'Significant growth': Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith on the accelerated shift to subscriptions

    Subscriptions are gaining ground as a major source of revenue for Bloomberg.
    "We're seeing significant, significant growth and gains," Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith said at the Digiday Publishing Summit.
    And that growth in the first and second quarter has proven sticky, according to Smith. "Some of the churn rates are consistent with previous churn rates. This is not just a short-term thing," he said.
    His forecast is that subscriptions will make up a rising and significant part of Bloomberg's revenue, especially as income from advertising diminishes.
    Bloomberg started its subscription business in May 2018, and Smith credits its "first phase" growth to the long brand-building that preceded it.
    "The introduction of our paywall benefited from 25-30 years of Bloomberg LP growing out one of the largest newsrooms in the world, creating amazing content," Smith said.
    His outlook for future revenue also lies in live events, and he's confident that the events business "will come back very, very strongly" once it's safe to convene in big groups again.
    "There's a big opportunity to capture more market share as we go through this lost year in events -- to come back with a much more aggressive slate of event programming and also a whole new range of opportunities tied to virtual events, which will become much more of a complement to the live event experience."

    • 35 min
    The audience 'can make up their own mind': Fox News Digital editor-in-chief Porter Berry wants 'voices from all sides'

    The audience 'can make up their own mind': Fox News Digital editor-in-chief Porter Berry wants 'voices from all sides'

    With overlapping crises stretching across health, the economy and society, Fox News Digital editor-in-chief Porter Berry sees Fox bringing "the marketplace of ideas" to its audience.
    "You give them the news. You give them analysis from multiple perspectives, and they can make up their own mind. I mean, that's what freedom's all about," the Fox News Digital editor-in-chief said on the Digiday Podcast.
    According to Comscore, Fox News Digital had its best ever year in 2019, garnering 19.5 billion page views. This year, the site boasted more than 100 million "multiplatform" unique visitors for a sixth consecutive month, according to another one of Fox's recaps of Comscore data.
    Berry claims not to follow the coverage of competitors like CNN and The New York Times or criticism over how Fox News operates.
    "If I spent my time worrying about what critics are saying about Fox New then I'd have less time to do my job," Berry said.
    Regarding the wave of protests over racism and injustice, and the fourth estate's overdue look at its own lack of diversity, Berry said "that's never been something that we sat down with a pen and paper and looked at numbers, per se. But we definitely have people of all backgrounds, and that's important."

    • 44 min
    'We don't need your clicks': The Dispatch co-founder Steve Hayes on bucking the attention economy

    'We don't need your clicks': The Dispatch co-founder Steve Hayes on bucking the attention economy

    The attention economy hasn't just proven to be a losing proposition for media businesses financially. It also encourages quick, outrage-based political coverage that thrives off of (and feeds) poor governance, according to Steve Hayes, CEO and co-founder of the Dispatch.
    "Everything we're seeing in our politics has an emphasis on performance," Hayes said on the Digiday Podcast. "The economic incentives and business models that everyone has pursued in this space in the past 10-15 years have contributed pretty significantly to that."
    With the Dispatch -- a newsletter-first media company that leans conservative -- Hayes is aiming for subscribing members who aren't monetized by the minutes they spend reading the company's coverage.
    "We don't need your clicks. Come, learn and then go. Live your life," Hayes said. The Dispatch put up a paywall in February, and now has 12,000 paying members — around 450 of them paid $1,500 for lifetime memberships when the company launched in October, according to Hayes. "It's growing faster than we had anticipated."
    The membership model has also helped the Dispatch forgo venture capital or billionaire ownership, the risks of which Hayes learned first hand as the last editor-in-chief of the Weekly Standard, a conservative institution that billionaire owner Philip Anschutz shut it down in 2018.
    The Dispatch and its staff of 12 aim for the same conservative readership. Despite concrete evidence of growing polarization, Hayes also gestures toward a middle ground in U.S. politics representing perhaps 70% to 75% of the U.S. population.

    • 34 min
    Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner on 'long, sustainable change'

    Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner on 'long, sustainable change'

    Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner believes the time is now for change in media and fashion.
    "I want to see brands, publications, everyone in the industry commit to a long, sustainable change," Peoples Wagner said on this week's episode of the Digiday Podcast.
    Peoples Wagner is a rarity in glossy media: A 29-year-old black woman from a small university in the Midwest, without connections or a rich family bankrolling her initial career. Instead, she worked her way up, moonlighting dressing mannequins and working as a waitress. In October 2018, she was named the top editor of Teen Vogue, which has made a name for itself by melding fashion with social issues.
    She recognizes her path isn't for everyone -- and media and creative professions need to adapt in order to expand opportunities to underrepresented groups.
    "You have to be willing to hire different kinds of people who will challenge you," Peoples Wagner said.

    • 33 min
    TheScore CEO John Levy on why sports betting is going mainstream

    TheScore CEO John Levy on why sports betting is going mainstream

    Sports media and betting are on their way to being inextricably intertwined.
    "If you look at the traditional way sports betting has been launched in Europe and even in North America -- in the offshore and black markets -- how people bet is through betting apps," said to John Levy, CEO of theScore, a Canadian sports media company.
    Those apps aren't where betters get their actual score lines and injury updates; they're where gamblers turn to once they've watched the game or read about it elsewhere.
    "They're nothing more than a transactional app," Levy said on the Digiday Podcast.
    Close to half of U.S. states (and Washington, D.C.) have legalized sports betting to some degree in the two years since the Supreme Court struck down the law that banned it nationwide.
    Sports betting may be on hold right now, but publishers like Barstool Sports -- purchased by gambling operator Penn National Gaming in a deal that valued the company at $450 million -- have been betting on the category growing once sports come back later this year. Like theScore, the acquisition will allow one company to facilitate wagers while also providing betters with the sports news they base their risk-taking on.
    The industry is estimated to be worth $8 billion by 2025.
    Levy thinks legalization will be accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic's effect on public funds at a state level.
    "That's trillions of dollars that they're now trying to recover, and I don't care what side of the political fence you're on, the reality is the governments are going to have to start to figure out how to replenish those coffers," Levy said.
    A majority of theScore's users bet on sports instead of just reading about them, Levy said, citing third party (and the company's own) data. Nearly half of the bets happen while the relevant game is in play, and despite being a Canadian company, 70% of theScore's users are in the U.S.

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

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84 Ratings

84 Ratings

Ryan Heafy ,

Lessons for an engineer running a local media company

Stepping into the digital media space in 2016, with a background in engineering and quality systems, I need all the help I can get. Our company 6AM City operates a network of hyper-local newsletter publications similar to theSkimm. In listening to the learnings from other tenured media folks on DigiDay, it has greatly helped advance our lessons learned and set us up for success. One of the greatest lessons learned is to reach out to those who are smarter than you and ask for what you need. It never hurts to ask... you never know what the connection on the other end might be able to contribute. We have successfully connected with many media and marketing executives by following up on Digiday Podcasts. There’s no better time then when it’s most relevant, so continue to listen everyday and be sure you walk away with something at the end of each Podcast.... then put it to use. Thanks for your contribution to furthering the ecosystem Brian Morrissey.

ReportThis505 ,

Good dissection of the media business

As the news media slowly transitions to digital formats, this podcast breaks it down for those seeking to understand.

Zuouperman ,

Name a better media podcast.

Go ahead. I dare you.

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