Jacob Donnelly
The Di5ru.pt blog

It seems that more and more publishers are discovering gold in the niches, especially those with b2b brands.

One man who is passionate about the niches is Jacob Donnelly, Publisher at Morning Brew. Jacob oversees seven growing b2b verticals and has a history of successfully taking emerging  revenue sources and putting them at the centre of his company’s monetisation strategies.

In this interview Jacob talks about:

  • Why he is excited about integrating AI-driven chat-style technology into his company’s media offering
  • Why if you want to scale your media brand it is not counter-intuitive to think niche
  • The future for first party-led monetisation

At FIPP World Media Congress in Cascais, Portugal, on 6-8 June, Jacob  will be discussing how ‘Creator-Led Media Drives Industry Conversations’.’

For specially discounted tickets click here.

Here he responds to our rapid-round questions.

Who are you? And what is your role in the media/publishing? 

I am Jacob Donnelly and I am the Publisher of the b2b business at Morning Brew. I oversee seven verticals—HR Brew, IT Brew, CFO Brew, Marketing Brew, Retail Brew, Healthcare Brew, and Tech Brew. Additionally, I oversee growth, product/engineering, and events. I am also the founder of A Media Operator, a media company built for media executives and those working to build long-term, sustainable media brands. 

What are the highlights of your career so far?

  • Helped scale the events brand at CoinDesk from 1,400 attendees to 8,800 attendees over three years
  • Led the growth of the b2b business at Morning Brew from $5m to $23m from 2020 to 2022.
  • Launched Morning Brew’s first-party data initiative. Grew the # of people we had data on from <10,000 to over 2.1m in 18 months.
  • Scaled the advertising business at CoinDesk from four figures per month to an annual seven-figure business in 12 months.

What do you see as the three key trends in the media? 

  • ChatGPT – We’re going to see a massive explosion in media companies playing around with this. They’ll focus on using it to create content, which will be short-term very dumb content. Then interest will fade away for a while. But I think the real opportunity will be integrating chat-like technology into our media experiences. What sort of first-party data could we get or premium subscription could we charge if we let users access the information on our site through a chat interface? I think it’s going to be interesting, but it’s still very early. 
  • First-Party Data-led monetisation: It’s not a cutting-edge trend, but we are going to see a heck of a lot more focus on this. What Bloomberg did by getting rid of programmatic is ingenious and I expect to see more publishers follow suit. Why let third-parties handle your user data when you can do it yourself?
  • Niche media wins: The days of trying to scale media brands to infinity are done. Unless you’re one of the massive players—NYT, Bloomberg, WSJ, FT, CNN, etc—you’re not going to get scale. The days of the BuzzFeeds, Vices, etc. are behind us. Niche is the future of scale. 

I don’t actually think that the media is going to change. Our job is to serve our audiences. If we lean into these three trends, we’ll be able to:

  1. Serve them with better information
  2. Serve them with more contextually relevant advertisements
  3. Build sustainable, long-term businesses

 Explore Further

About Congress

The FIPP World Media Congress is a must-attend event for anyone in leadership positions in the media. Delegates can hear from an incredible range of media thought leaders and influencers while networking with their peers in the resort’s stunning venues and hotels.

For specially discounted tickets click here.