In July 2016, we surveyed The Media Briefing’s global community of media executives to unearth their hopes and fears for the media industry in 2017.

Ahead of our official report launch on Wednesday, here’s a sneak preview of some of the State of the Media Industry 2017 findings.

Despite a number of high-profile horror stories throughout the year – falling profits, sudden closures and staff cuts – our respondents were generally upbeat about prospects for 2017, at least for their own businesses.

Almost 60% of our survey respondents believed they would see their own revenues growing. For that to happen in markets where there is no overall growth, competition for market share will tighten.

Windows of opportunity

The State of the Media Industry 2017 takes a look at 12 key publishing sectors: Data, Digital display advertising, eCommmerce, Email, Events, Memberships & paywalls, Mobile, Off-platform publishing, Print, Social media, Sponsored content and Video.

These areas are the ones where the battle for market share is likely to be fought. As well as giving an overview of the main challenges in each sector, the sections also explore areas for planned investment, revenue hopes, opportunities and identifiable barriers to growth. 

Each section has a number of ’60-second’ case studies, glimpses at how other organisations are successfully (or in some cases, unsuccessfully) tackling these areas. We also list questions that can be used as a starting point to guide discussions in your own business.

Fight for audience

The audience is a key driver for all the publishing areas the report covers, from developing scale through social media and off-platform distribution to the exploitation of niche strategies to bolster print and expand face-to-face events.

Focusing on the audience is increasingly seen as a key route to monetisation, through ecommerce, subscriptions and more, following additional pressures on display advertising revenues.

Sponsored content is one area which is already delivering, both in terms of revenue and increased engagement. 45.3% of our respondents named it as one of their three top earners for 2017, with nearly half putting it as their top growth area.

The ecommerce section notes that selling things other than your latest issue is not a new thing, but the development of ‘shoppable’ publications and websites has accelerated over the last few years. 40% of respondents say they’ll be testing the water with ecommerce as a way of monetising their existing audience relationships.  

As the report highlights, “Publishers are very clear about the need to become more present in their audience’s lives. In 2017 and beyond, the audience will be everything.”

Peter Houston, TheMediaBriefing Editor-at-Large and the report’s author and coordinator, is enthusiastic about the opportunities for publishers and media professionals. “But one of the biggest challenges media executives face in trying to plan their business, is keeping up with the development in the broader marketplace,” he said.

“We launched this report to give busy professionals a quick and easy way to get to grips with the key trends in 12 major publishing areas. It brings together insight from our own community, sector overview, mini case studies and references to over 150 articles that provide greater detail where it’s needed.”

“We’ve really focused on TheMediaBriefing mission with the State of the Media Industry report. It’s all about distilling lots and lots of information into a 90-minute read that gives media people a platform for informed planning.”

The report will be available to download from The Media Briefing website from Wednesday afternoon.