LIVE March 8 at 9 a.m. MST Digital Media AMA with Peter Houston, Editor-at-Large, The Media Briefing


Want guidance on your digital media and content marketing strategies? Join us on March 8 at 9 a.m. MST for an Ask Me Anything with Peter Houston, Editor-at-Large at The Media Briefing.

For 45 minutes, ask your questions about digital publishing strategies, how to integrate messaging throughout all your media outlets and emerging content amplification platforms to watch for in 2017.

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We asked Peter to share a little about himself:

My biggest role at the moment is as Editor-at-Large for TheMediaBriefing, a London-based conference producer and publisher of, a website covering developing media strategies. My job at the TheMediaBriefing is to shape content strategy, from helping set the focus for regular market analysis to building out our industry reports programme. I also support sales staff in creating commercial content opportunities.

I run my own business, Flipping Pages Media, providing consulting and training for media and marketing businesses making the transition from legacy print to multi-platform publishing. Recent projects have focused on off-platform publishing, paid content strategies and organisational change.

I often write and speak about the challenges facing modern media. I have presented at Google’s Think Publishing conference in Dublin, led Guardian Masterclasses in London and delivered training for the Scottish Professional Publishers Association in Edinburgh. I’m a judge for the Digital Magazine Awards and the British Media Awards and I write a monthly column for Publishing Executive in Philadelphia.

Something interesting…

A couple of years ago I published a little book called ‘The Magazine Diaries’. It was a collection of 100-word essays written by 100 magazine professionals, all about what it felt like to work in magazines in this time of disruption. I think I might do it again.

Twitter: @Flipping_Pages


Reminder! If you want to post, then you need to sign up for Sovrn Community.

Note: This is the LIVE AMA thread. If you want to prep Peter with your question, do it here and he will respond on March 8, 9am MST on this thread. Thanks.


Check out our recent interview with Peter on our blog - might spur questions to ask him >


Hi Peter,
Looking forward to the AMA! What are some big changes you expect to see in Version 2 of ‘The Magazine Diaries’?


What are your favourite platforms or platforms that you use the most?


Good Morning, Afternoon, Evening, depending where you are in the world.

I’m Peter Houston and Sovrn have kindly invited me along today to answer your questions on… anything… but I’m really hoping you’ll stick to publishing, content marketing and digital media.

I am the Editor at Large for London-based media site, We publish analysis and opinions and organise conferences on digital media strategies.

I also have my own consulting and training business, Flipping Pages Media, that helps publishers leverage their print successes into digital successes.

I have the privilege of being here for the next 45 minutes or so to answer your questions… So Ask Away!


Hi Peter,

So tell me, what position did you start at and how did you get into the Industry?



That’s a big question Hayley, but I think the short answer has to be I use different platforms for different things.

On a personal level I use Twitter lot for research and to connect with media people - I find and share a lot of media news through my Twitter feed.

Facebook I’m using more and more for engagement. I have one content marketing client that is making greater and greater use of it to grow their online audience and develop broader awareness. It’s been interesting figuring out what types of posts work and how we can target better.

The web is probably still my preferred publishing platform. TheMediaBriefing website is our most important property and although we share a lot through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, the website is really where people can see the real breadth of reporting and analysis we do.

I think that’s still true for the majority of publishers. The home page may be less important that it once was, but bringing people into an environment we control fully – from a content and a revenue standpoint - is still really important.

Newsletters are probably second on the list for the ability to control and build the relationship between the publisher and the audience, and it has the benefit of being finite in a way a website isn’t.

We’ve just got into podcasts at TheMediaBriefing and I’m enjoying watching our editors Chris and Esther figure that out. It’s a very intimate medium and I think publishers can really use it to demonstrate the access they have to subject matter experts or celebrities.

Although I see huge potential for revenue and engagement in video, I’m less familiar with it personally. I would love to try to develop some educational video for the magazine media space at some point. I think that could be really interesting.


Very interesting! Thanks a lot Peter!


That was a very long time ago Alastair :grinning:

I started out as a staff writer on a trade journal covering technical electronics. That was in Hong Kong in the mid 80s, before the Internet, before desktop publishing even. I was lucky to learn the magazine trade there - started re-writing press releases, then doing interviews, then on to issue planning and full editorial schedules.

They even sent me to learn business journalism at Medill in Evanston, Illinois, for a semester.

I was also lucky in that company to be in at the very start of the shift to digital publishing. Our earliest projects were on CD-ROM, pre-world-wide-web. When the web came along in 1993 we were ready to go and I’ve been doing print+digital every since - close to 25 years.


The Magazine Diaries was a charity project I did a couple of years ago Ben.

The idea was to get 100 magazine people each to write 100 words about how the felt about the disruption they’ve seen in Magazine publishing. It ended up a great little book with all sorts of points of view on our industry, some positive, some not so much. You can still see the posts online. This one by the Week CEO Kerin O’Connor was one of my favourites.

If I do it again, I guess the biggest change will be coming up with a new theme for people to respond to. The basic premise will stay the same, 100 people writing 100 word each. Maybe people’s thoughts around how they would describe the magazine of the future would be interesting.


Hi Peter-
You mentioned in our interview that one of the takeaways from TheMediaBriefing’s State of the Industry 2017 Report was that email should be more of a priority for online publishers and you predicted that email will have this kind of resurgence and people will get much more serious about it. Can you share with our audience why you think this and how our publishers can capture the benefits of email.


Hi Peter,

On of my site was not accepted by sovrn and the reason given was not appropriate I think…

“In an effort to protect the value of publisher inventory and advertiser spend, we are unable to approve any site with excessive ad clutter in relation to the amount of content on the site. We hope that you understand that this is in the best interest of the publisher and advertiser and we do not make these decisions arbitrarily.”

Obviously when we get selected by sovrn we will follow the policy given by sovrn Whether they want 3 ads or 5 its up to sovrn to decide by before that we were adhering to the policy to the company we were working that time. Please tell the user the good reason before rejecting the website.


Great question Celeste,

I think we’re already seeing a real resurgence in email 1. because usage is rising because of mobile and 2. because it lets publishers reconnect directly with audiences that have shifted to social media. That last part is really important for publishers that are seeing their traffic move to Facebook. Email newsletters are a way to bring those people back to your won properties.

I wrote a post for Publishing Executive last month about this. The advice I gave in that was for publishers to:

  • Get serious about email newsletters, don’t treat is as an afterthought
  • Create more ‘nice’ newsletters that improve relevancy for readers
  • Get your email lists squeaky clean
  • and to market your email newsletter across all your other platforms, we, social and print


Hi Peter,

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing modern media right now?



Hi Rahul- Thank you for your question. Peter is answering questions about digital marketing for publishers. I will communicate directly to you via an email why your site was not accepted. Thank you


I don’t work for Sovrn and can’t comment on any of their policies Rahul, but from a user point of view ad clutter is a real problem and publishers need to think much harder about user experience. The fact that they have’t thought hard enough about it up to now partly explains the rise in ad blocking.

Success in publishing is all about keeping the reader and the advertiser happy and making sure that readers aren’t over exposed to advertising banners is important in delivering real value to advertisers.


There are a few big challenges out there Alastair.

Reconnecting with the audience is huge. Facebook in particular has sucked up so much attention and revenue. Publishers really need to find a way to rebuild their relationships with their audiences. That doesn’t mean abandoning third-party platforms, but it does mean thinking about how your brand is perceived and coming up with good reasons for the audience to come back to your owned properties.

I also think publishers need to work hard to develop portfolio revenues, and not just rely on one income stream. That could be a mix of print and digital, a mix of digital display advertising and sponsorship, also subscriptions, live events and merchandising.

The biggest challenge of all is staying relevant to the audience, by meeting them on the platforms they use with content they want.


Thank you Peter for sharing your digital marketing advice and giving guidance for how to build an engaged - and relevant audience. We’re very appreciative of the time you dedicated to help our publishers. Best, Celesta


Very interesting, thanks for you insight Peter!


No bother at all Celesta. I enjoyed it.

Best wishes to all, Peter