New technology comes with a lot of hype, particularly when discussed in the context of how it can “save” publishing. Remember when digital magazines were supposed to kill print and drive even more revenue for publishers? As it turns out, print is still alive and well, and the platforms that once supported the digital magazine’s rise are now defunct, like Apple Newsstand, or stagnant. Of course, there are real changes happening in the publishing industry thanks to new technology. Some of those changes are positive for publishers, some negative, but in order to find solutions that actually make an impact on their bottom line, publishers need to question their assumptions and cut through the hot air surrounding new tech.

We all need a reality check every once in a while, especially in an industry that is transforming as rapidly as publishing. That was the goal of our technology summit, FUSE: The Convergence of Technology & Media, which was held in Philadelphia on September 12-14. The tech-centric discussions challenged attendees to question the hype and learn from publishers who actually implemented new solutions and found success. Here are five reality checks publishers should bear in mind when they consider the latest and greatest in media technology, courtesy of FUSE:

1. Digital ad revenue is actually shrinking for publishers. The digital advertising industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year, and is now a $59.6 billion business. That means publishers digital ad revenue must be growing, right? Wrong. In his opening keynote, conference chair Jeffrey Litvack explained that publishers’ digital ad revenue actually shrunk 2% last year. While overall digital ads are growing, the majority of revenue, $7 out of every $10 earned, is going to Google and Facebook. Litvack added that despite these challenges, publishers do have some advantages over the two tech giants. Unlike Facebook and Google, publishers create valuable content, and according to a recent comScore study, ads on premium publishers’ sites drove more brand lift and had greater viewability than when those same ads were featured on a non-publisher sites. Publishers need to find better ways to communicate this value to advertisers in order to reverse digital declines.

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By Ellen Harvey, Publishing Executive

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Magazine Training International’s mission is to encourage, strengthen, and provide training and resources to Christian magazine publishers as they seek to build the church and reach their societies for Christ.