Martha Williams
The blog

By implementing proper first-party data strategies, specialist media companies will benefit across multiple areas, including audience engagement, product development and monetisation. So how do you do it?

At Media Makers Meet (Mx3 Berlin), we will have dedicated sessions discussing the topic. The event takes place on 19 & 20 October – register here with our Meet the Speakers discount of 20% (use the promo code “Di5rupt_20” when you register).

One of the speakers is Martha Williams, CEO of World Newsmedia Network (who will also host a study tour to Deutsche Welle and Axel Springer that includes conversations with various experts – more here).

We asked Martha to tell us more about herself and what she sees as the challenges and opportunities for specialist media.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I’m a digital media researcher and writer at heart. I care deeply about educating and inspiring media industry executives with tried, authentic, and financially sound digital and data strategies.

Tell us about your earlier career.

I started as a journalist for multiple B2C newspapers and B2B magazine companies in America. When the Internet came along, I knew I had found my calling. In the mid-1990s, I immediately reached out to San Francisco-based, the most trafficked site on the Internet at the time. I became their first and only media industry reporter. After that, something unlikely, unplanned and unexpected happened: I became an Internet “expert” and was invited to speak at multiple conferences. I started a new career of consulting and writing research about Internet strategy for media companies.

Tell us about your current role.

The turning point of my career was when I spent two years as an associate researcher at the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. From 2012-2014, I studied the emergence of data-driven strategies and products for the media industry. With the partnership of Reuters Institute, I launched my first of 10 global conferences called “Big Data for Media” and “Data & AI for Media.” During Covid, I pivoted from live conferences to webinars with partners such as Mather Economics and Google. I continue to write strategic research, such as my most recent reports for FIPP, “Video: Content, Revenue & New Business,” and “First-Party Data Playbook for Publishers.” And I continue to speak at events such as Media Makers Meet and organise and host study tours like the one to Deutsche Welle and Axel Springer, mentioned above.

What are the main challenges for specialist media verticals?

With data, everywhere in the media industry, the same main challenges apply: 

  • Getting the media company’s data house in order: technology, talent, teamwork; training and strategy; and 
  • Driving as much first-party data as possible, as quickly and transparently as possible, and strictly adhering to privacy regulations.

And the main opportunities?

With a critical mass of first-party data, specialist media will be able to:

  • Drive better engagement and loyalty with their valued customers; 
  • Build new products to engage further and expand the audience; Anticipate customers’ needs before they are expressed; and 
  • Create proper revenue streams on top of it. 

All of these capabilities are made possible by knowing the audience through robust first-party data.

For more and to register:

Go to Media Makers Meet (Mx3 Berlin) for more on the conference. Register here for the conference with a 20% “Meet the Speaker” (use the promo code “Di5rupt_20” when you register). Learn more here about the Study Tour and how to sign up. Note, places for both are limited, so please do not leave it too late if you want to join us in Berlin.