For publishers that embraced events, now what?

What's New in Publishing 19 Jun 2020 07:00

The publishing world has done a remarkable job of adding live events as a revenue stream over the past several years. We watched in awe as Marvin Shanken, the man behind Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado and Whisky Advocate, began calling himself an “experience maker” in addition to being a content creator. Other publishers launched dining experiences as a way to extend their reach and engagement with their audiences. Regional publishers found new audiences and ad partners hosting locally-sourced events. And of course, industry-based events have long been a source of enthusiasm and new opportunities.

Then there was a pandemic, and events were canceled or moved quickly into online formats. Now what?

The “business as usual we’ll just move it all online” approach hasn’t been a great success, and the publishing industry must now grapple with how to reimagine, rather than recreate, the event experience.

“In the early days of COVID, several publishers quickly ‘copy and pasted’ their face-to-face events online. No one blames them – it was a quick and logical fix,” writes Rob Ristagno in Publishing Executive. “However, many of the digital replica events did not deliver the impact the producers would have expected to see in-person. Technology platform failures, attendee multi-tasking, lack of two-way engagement, and other flaws led some of these virtual conferences or trade shows to fall flat.”

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Marvin Shanken