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Those in media and marketing are no strangers to drastic changes, but 2018 brought much more of it than expected. After years of lead-up, many things finally came to a head. Facebook began the year by breaking up with news, and ended it with far fewer publishers pinning their hopes to the platform. It also brought into sharp focus the troubles that lie ahead for both sides of the industry.
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For agencies, the year saw a shift towards consolidation, where bloated structures have finally become big enough to fail. For publishers, a reckoning has come, and those with strong, sustainable brands may thrive next year while those without flounder. And in retail, the growth of so-called direct-to-consumer brands, born online and raised on a steady diet of Instagram ads, has forced many traditional brands to take a long hard look at how they do business.
For brands, the clarion calls for control might be getting closer to an answer. Control means many different things to different companies, of course. For some, it means decreasing reliance on external partners by opening up agencies within their walls. That’s meant a rethinking of their internal organization and at times a rude awakening to how slow and shoddy their internal structures really are. For others, it’s meant taking closer control of their data and their media spend as they attempt to avoid online ad fraud, ballooning ad tech fees and unsavory content.
In this issue of Digiday Magazine we explore what the year ahead may bring, and lay out the industry’s agenda for 2019. Kerry Flynn writes about why next year will be the year of reckoning for Snap, and why it may bode well for Pinterest and its long-awaited coming out party. Retail editor Hilary Milnes covers Amazon, and the next battlefield for retail dominance: the grocery aisle. Brands editor Seb Joseph also writes about why brands’ call for control over their agencies may actually end up in a U-turn of sorts, with in-house agencies hitting a wall.
We’ve also got look-ahead Q&As with the New York Times’ Mark Thompson, Le Monde chief Louis Dreyfus and Nike’s Adam Sussman, as well as a CES preview that includes an oral history of the famed MediaLink CES floor tour.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Digiday Magazine, part of our premium membership program, Digiday+. As always, please reach out with any feedback. Thanks for reading.
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