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Mobile has disrupted media, created opportunities, say Time, Gannett execs

In the modern mobile world, consumers? media attention span has become even more fragmented than ever, but that provides an opportunity for smart media companies and marketers, according to a panel of media publishers.

A panel of executives from prominent media companies including Gannett, Time, Inc. and Meredith all spoke about the way the media world has been shaken up by mobile at Mobile Marketer?s Mobile FirstLook conference. The panel discussed the ways in which mobile has changed the way people read media and their expectations for what a media company should do.

?Many of us think about advertisers as our customers instead of readers as our customers,? said Regina Buckley, senior vice president of digital business development and business operations, Time Inc. 

?Our editors are obsessed with readers, but our business side focuses too much on advertisers and not enough on readers. They?re who are really important.?

Mobile media
Few industries have felt the disruption of the introduction of mobile technologies quite like the media world, which is in some respects still reeling from the availability of media at all times on cell phones and the unique distribution models afforded by social media.

Social media is one of the biggest disrupting factors, giving consumers an entirely different way of finding and viewing media that has many different pieces of content collected into one stream rather than consumers seeking out an individual publication.

?For me the most significant thing is that our consumers use to come in through the front door, but now they more come in through side door,? Ms. Buckley said. ?The side door is basically Facebook and then other social media and then Google, in that order. 

?We still have a direct conversation with our consumers but they arrive to us from many angles.?

Where before media had only one ?front door,? typing in the Web site into a browser, they now have a preponderance of side doors, drastically increasing the rate and amount of media people consume.

Proven value
The increased amount of media has also lead people to demand cheaper or free media, driving quality down in some ways and forcing big publishers to make tough decisions to keep up.

But if there?s one thing 2016 has taught us, it?s that people want and need to be informed, according to Mr. Kuntz. He remains optimistic that people will continue to want to pay for top quality content and journalism.

Matt Minoff, senior vice president of Meredith, agreed cautiously.

?We have to prove that,? Mr. Minoff said. ?We have to validate to marketers that the ROI from working with us is worth it and that our content is valuable to customers.

The onus is on us to prove that we have a place.?