Digital Media Vet Jim Heckman Tries To Recruit Publishers For Maven Platform

As more publishers report revenue fallout following Facebook’s increasingly volatile feed (particularly for publishers), media arenas are on the hunt for alternatives.

One digital media veteran is hoping Maven, his platform, can pick up some of the revenue slack left in the wake of the Facebook debacle. Jim Heckman, an entrepreneur who has worked with Hulu and Fox News, among other outlets, launched Maven several years ago.

Maven is a “digital coalition” built to bring together independent publishers.

According to a report by Business Insider, Heckman spent $350,000 to bring 250 of those independent publishers to Whistler, Canada, last week, where he hoped to woo them to Maven.

A chorus of “take back the internet” echoed through the events, as Heckman hosted attendees. Those invited attended cocktail hours, skied and met for dinners as they learned more about the company.

The team behind Maven hoped the weekend would shed some light on what the platform does and how it could help those in attendance recur lost revenue and even thrive in a post-Facebook publishing environment. 



Heckman stated: "To win means we have to share. Use our collective genius to survive ... gather all the villagers together and gain strength as one community."

Bill Sornsin, who is Maven’s COO, told Business Insider the coalition allows independent publishers to use the same publishing and advertising technology to build their brands. The publication gives the example of a publisher working with Maven for all of its needs, rather than hiring separate ad tech companies, video player companies and developers. Maven provides it all in one platform.

The article notes, however, that part of the problem with Maven is that advertisers have been slow to sign on; many have no idea what it is. While the idea behind building a coalition of publishers is a strong one, getting the industry on board is a herculean task. 

Many of the attendees interviewed by Business Insider spoke about lost revenue immediately following the algorithm shift at Facebook and were interested in the idea of the coalition. A fog of apprehension remained with some following the weekend, as their questions about audience and traffic were left unanswered.

Despite that, the emergence of a start-up like Maven is enticing, and working to build a business as a publisher will only become more precarious in future. New models are needed, and it will be exciting to see where the most intrepid take the industry.

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