Above the Fold: May 2019

By Matt Gray

8th May 2019

There’s life in the old dog yet…

In the time Above the Fold has been running, we’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve put pen to paper to lament closed magazines or issue warnings for struggling newspapers. What a pleasure it is, then, that this edition can begin with the news that the Guardian and the Observer have broken even for the first time in recent history.

The news is a beacon of hope in a volatile media world. It’s vindication for seeking out new ways of funding and connecting with an audience—not resorting to ‘the way things have always been’ or restrictive pay walls. The Guardian’s new model has attracted more than one million individual contributors and has provided financial sustainability.

It should also provide inspiration to publishers across sectors. Know your audience. Appeal to their values, and they will be prepared to support you both editorially and financially.

Elsewhere in this month’s Above the Fold: what we can learn from the political can-kicking of the past month? Why are brands placing experience above targeting? And how are social media platforms making efforts to become ‘healthier’?

Read on through the links below, and also make sure to download the latest episode of the Above the Fold podcast.

  • Above the Fold podcast – Matt and Jack look through the trends and narratives driving the media agenda
  • The month in numbers – Who’s up? Who’s down? What is the country tuning into?
  • Trends Matrix – The UK’s biggest social media conversations, distilled
  • In focus: Mueller and Brexit – exposing the roots of public discontent
    Politics in 2019 is riddled with mistrust and misplaced hope. On both sides of the Atlantic, this has been compounded by unsatisfying conclusions – or, in fact, continuations – to the biggest crises of our times. Mohammed Sheriff finds lessons to learn in failing to manage expectations.
  • Brand buzz: Are you experienced?
    Contemporary consumers are being targeted so often, through so many channels, that marketers are needing to think bigger and better in their efforts to win new customers. Many of them are turning to experiential marketing, creating bold, memorable experiences that last long in the memory. Ben Robinson immerses himself in recent experiential brand activations.
  • Media month: Healthier social platforms mean healthier brands
    Social media companies may have begun their lives with visions of utopian futures—linking humanity together through global, open communication. And yet, in the last years, these platforms have frequently shown sides that are all too powerful and sinister. The good news is that some companies are taking steps to detoxify their platforms, making them healthier for users and the brands who advertise on them. Natalia Riley investigates.