While deciding who to invite to speak at this year’s Digital Publishing Conference, Corey Kronengold, director of content for Digiday, said he packed the list with outspoken industry heavyweights eager to address the most controversial aspects of Internet marketing, advertising and content distribution.
This week, representatives from the world’s most influential media owners attended the three-day conference in Park City, Utah. The agenda boasted the likes of Google, ABC.com, Hulu, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, Cheezburger, Pandora and the Huffington Post.
PRMarketing.com caught up with Kronengold at Stein Eriksen Lodge.
“My role is to identify the hot-button issues in the industry,” he said. “We’ve got these brilliant people who have so much insight and are really shaping the direction the industry is going in.”
One concern emerged during the bulk of this year’s discussions: privacy.
“Privacy seems to be permeating every aspect of the industry,” Kronengold said.
The consumers of online content do not want websites tracking them around the Internet, he said.
At the same time, most people don’t expect to pay for articles, making it difficult for content producers to turn a buck.
“Nobody seemingly wants to pay for anything,” Kronengold said. “They want all this stuff for free and they don’t want you tracking them … How do we begin charging for content with this expectation of free from the consumer?”
The New York Times announced recently that it would begin charging for online articles. With the change, did we receive a look into the future?
“The era of everything being free on the Internet is starting to wind down,” Kronengold said.
With debates about Internet commerce heating up on Capitol Hill, he said consumers cannot have both free content and complete online privacy.
“That puts web publishers in a little bit of a bind,” Kronengold said. “We can solve the technical hurdles. It’s a whole lot harder to get people to feel good about being tracked.”
Advertisers receive valuable marketing data when your online footsteps are traced.
“We need to know some stuff about you,” Kronengold said. “It’s made privacy an issue.”
And publishers are struggling to ease the minds of consumers, he stressed.
“That is just a very difficult environment to operate in,” Kronengold said. “We really need to talk about these issues honestly and not from a marketing platform.”
The amount of money companies spend on online advertising has grown.
“The money is there, the interest is there and just figuring out the most efficient pathways for going to where we need to go as an industry, are the questions that need to be solved,” Kronengold said. “There are billions of dollars at stake.”