The Continued Evolution Of Media Companies Aiming To Become Data-First Operations

One of the most significant trends in media over the last several years has been the focus on data. Traditionally, the media-company business proposition was to sell an audience to advertisers -- the bigger, the better.

But for many niche media brands, like local newspapers and enthusiast magazine brands -- and especially for B2B media -- the business case has changed dramatically. Now it’s about obtaining as many insights about audience segments as possible using sophisticated data-gathering tools, and selling those insights to advertisers. The objective, of course, is to find the parts of that audience most likely to buy products, and target messaging to them.

It’s become so important that many obviously media-based companies are rebranding themselves as “data” companies. The thing is, they still use editorial content to feed that data operation. But branding and positioning means a lot.

Other companies are going as far as creating separate companies for their data and digital service operations.



Gannett, for example, announced last week that it’s spinning off into two units, one focused on news and other content, as well as advertising and circulation. The other unit is focused on digital services, a broad umbrella that often includes data development and other digital services.

Another example is EPG Media, the suburban Minneapolis-based publisher of 14 B2B and B2C brands in the beverage, power sports and power equipment markets. In March, the company announced the formation of a separate unit, EPG Specialty Information, that would provide access to and analysis of demographic, psychographic, behavioral, purchase-based and media consumption data from an audience of four million people.

This week, EPG Media announced the unit was officially being spun off as a separate company.

“The launch of EPG Specialty Information is the logical next step in the growth of our business, which has included investments in analytic tools, human capital and market intelligence,” the new company’s vice president and managing director, Andrew Esham, said in the announcement. “Development of our data products is complete, and we are in the exciting phase of scaling our consumer and trade insights to boost the data-driven decision-making abilities of our clients.”

EPG Specialty Information also announced the development of two new services: My Voice Rewards and Beverage Excelerator. My Voice Rewards is a consumer panel and survey service providing detailed insights to players across the industry, from OEMs to trade and service organization, to dealerships.

Beverage Excelerator seeks to transform the static nature of the company’s Beverage Handbooks into a flexible interactive tool, allowing users to combine data dimensions to create charts and extracts tailored to their business needs.

2 comments about "The Continued Evolution Of Media Companies Aiming To Become Data-First Operations".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 9, 2022 at 8:38 a.m.

    An interesting subject, Tony. When I first got into the media business magazine publishers like Time Inc were very active in certain categories---automotive and liquor as prime examples--- doing studies about product users, brand demographics, attitudes, etc. and, as a matter of course all of the subscriber studies as well as a syndicated "primary audience " service by Starch provided tons of such information---magazine by magazine for use by media buyers. Since then the syndicated multi-media measurement services---Simmons, TGI, BRI, MRI, etc. have continued in this tradition not only  for magazines but for all media. And the amount of detail---including brand by brand buyer info is awesome. So this is nothing new.

    The new wrinkle, of course, is drilling down to the individual consumer level---though, I assume, not revealing the consumer's identity, specifically. And as you point out, so far its largely the niche media that are actively engaged. Will this trend accelerate? Who knows?

    For fifty years each TV network has had the ability to define product users and brand buyers---as well as a lot more---for every one of its existing nationally aired programs yet this kind of data has been largely ignored. Perhaps this will, change in the future---but only if it is encouraged by advertiser CMOs who, so far, have been preoccupied with other matters. If the CMO's lead the charge rest assured, their agencies will follow.

  2. Stephen Levinson from Insight Media Solutions, Inc replied, June 9, 2022 at 9:54 a.m.

    Well said!

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