Commentary

Is It Too Early For Publishers To Ponder The Post-Pandemic Future?

Conde Nast this fall has been running a series of virtual experiences inspired by its brands. such as Vogue, Architectural Digest, Glamour, The New Yorker and Self. The online programming is a sign of how publishers are working to deliver audiences to sponsors as the pandemic keeps many people sheltered at home.

However, publishers may want to start thinking about a post-pandemic future for their experiential marketing efforts as drug companies prepare to mass-distribute a coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer yesterday triggered a stock-market rally in companies that are most likely to benefit when people feel more comfortable about gathering indoors -- such as hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and airlines.

The drugmaker announced its COVID-19 vaccine was shown to be more than 90% effective in its earliest tests of about 100 people. Pfizer hasn't seen any serious safety issues from its broader study of 44,000 people, setting the stage for regulatory approval in the next few months and mass distribution after that.

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Following the news, a variety of "post-pandemic" stocks jumped as investors pondered how strong their profit growth could be. Among those companies, movie-theater chain Cinemark saw its stock surge as much as 70%, while Hilton Hotels jumped as much as 26%, American Airlines surged 26% at its peak and restaurant chain Cheesecake Factory hit a 27% intraday high.

While those stocks settled down from those peaks, the increased speculation about  better days ahead may signal an opportunity for publishers to resume live events as early as next year.

I wouldn't over-commit to the idea, but it's something for publishers to consider as they seek to diversify reader revenue and to connect their audiences with sponsors.

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