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Media Strategy Outlook in 2023

Hotwire Media Strategy Team

With much uncertainty in the market, we are left wondering what to expect next. Only time will tell, but similar to every cultural and economic shift, the media landscape has to adjust. Hotwire’s Media Strategy Team is sharing their outlook on what B2B & B2C brands will see throughout 2023.  

Local News Room Impacted  

While local newsrooms are full of ambitious and passionate journalists, they are also overworked and underpaid. As a result, many are leaving the industry, generating a new period titled “The Awakening” where reporters are forced to wake up and come to terms with their reality while finding a new passion to pay the bills.  

This year, we’ll also continue to see local reporters being laid off from their jobs. In 2022, Gannett cut off 6% of its workforce impacting local journalists in Detroit and Indianapolis. Witnessing more layoffs will be a cause for concern as reporters will not only question whether they’re being paid what they’re worth but their job security. This is a time unlike any other for local newsrooms. 

– Chelsea Johnson, Senior Associate  

ESG Teams Combine  

I think we will see publications find a more integrated way to cover ESG. Up to this point, we have seen a separation in coverage between those who cover environmental stories vs. social stories vs. governance stories. This led to a rise in niche newsletters focusing wholly on sustainability or diversity. Publications will begin to combine coverage areas under a single editor to provide a more uniformed approach of coverage to ESG topics, which will then require companies to have more defined plans in play vs. being able to talk to small potions as they see fit. See more cross team collaboration in 2023.   

– Charlene Gage, Director 

Continued Media Layoffs  

The media industry is getting hit by sizable rounds of layoffs and cost-cutting measures as the ad market continues to show signs of a serious slowdown. CNN, BuzzFeed and Gannett, Protocol, and Morning Brew have laid off hundreds of workers in recent weeks citing economic volatility and uncertainty. In 2023, we’ll see more publications move to a subscription-based model in order to offset the losses from the ad market. Additionally, similar to the height of the pandemic, you’ll see more reporters covering multiple beats causing more clutter in their inboxes from PR people working tirelessly to land pitching efforts.  

PR professionals will have to become more creative and insightful with pitching by leaning into their strongest assets (data, visuals and C-Suite spokespersons) to secure the best results. They will also have to set their eyes on more emerging channels (like podcasts and YouTube) to pitch contributors and industry experts when looking to bolster up strategy plans and creating extension ideas. 

– Azizza Brinson, Director 

AI & Regulation 

AI will be a big driver in tech media coverage. Not only covering innovation but regulation as well. Regulators, both foreign and domestic, are closely looking at AI technology and how the technology is being implemented across various industries and sectors.  

The reactive regulatory approach to social media remains a headache for many lawmakers and they will be eager to put laws in place as AI technology evolves rather than retroactively. Also, as the overall tech sector continues to contract cloud services we can expect a good amount of coverage on the cloud sector.  

Lastly, cybersecurity will continue to garner coverage as geopolitical unrest continues and the US presidential election cycle begins to churn and election coverage becoming dominant in the fall of 2023.  

– Joanne Denyeau, Vice President 

Continued Consolidation and Bottom-Line Priorities Pushing Media Outlets 

The shuttering of Protocol coupled with Red Ventures closing out the year by selling off GameSpot, Metacritic, TV Guide, GameFAQs, Giant Bomb, Cord Cutters News and Comic Vine to Fandom was just a preview of changes to come for digital media. 

Media companies that oversee multiple outlets will continue to refine the media assets they acquired through massive M&A deals that occurred over the past few years – in order to best align these outlets with their business objectives. The unsuccessful IPO of Buzzfeed and the IPOs that never materialized from Vice Media and Vox will set the stage for more outlet M&A activity, reshufflings and shutterings.  

These deals, along with plummeting ad revenue from businesses reacting to the recessionary climate will accelerate “make or break” quarters for some publications. Journalists at these outlets are going to stick to more hard news on their assigned beats while also digging for deep and difficult scoops that many businesses aren’t going to be comfortable being the subject of. Passion projects and fluff features will become scarcer as a result. 

-Ken Ozeki, Director