‘Consolidation and streamlining everywhere’, says new publishing report

The latest Wessenden Marketing report, published by Jim Bilton, notes that 2023 has become a year of major transition for the media industry. At the end of last year and into this, we saw a raft of redundancies across the global media tech industry. This trend has also become manifest in the publishing sub-sector, with events such as the upcoming auction of the Telegraph Media Group highlighting the consolidatory environment.

‘It is clear that many media companies are quietly shedding staff at the moment,’ writes Bilton, ‘particularly amongst senior and middle management. There is [also] a growing sense of physical and mental burnout. The survey picks up on the utter weariness of a number of senior executives who are considering retreating into “portfolio careers” (easier said than done!) or dropping out of the work market altogether, at least temporarily, to recharge their batteries (the campervan beckons!)’

One interesting side-story within the wider narrative of industry consolidation, is the decision by News UK and DMG Media to create a joint venture combining their printing operations. The proposed deal will need to be cleared by the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) and is subject to staff consultation. If successful, the merger will represent a ground-breaking and industry-shaping step forward, putting pressure on the rest of the newspaper business to make their own streamlining moves in both print and logistics.

Of course, one of the big talks of the town this year has been AI, and how the publishing industry is reacting to these technological updates. The report says that Amazon has this year seen a flood of AI-generated books being marketed on its site, and cites a YouGov study, commissioned by Readly, which concludes that concerns outweigh optimism when it comes to AI-enhanced technology amongst Brits, particularly in sectors such as journalism, banking & finance, legal & judicial and social companionships & relationships.

You can find out more about Wessenden Marketing, including how to access the report in full, here.