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Media Dealmakers Summit focuses on industry’s new realities

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New York—Both the attendance and the mood at the 8th annual DeSilva & Phillips Media Dealmakers Summit were better than last year. About 275 media executives and investment bankers attended Thursday’s event, about 10% more than last year, the media investment banking firm estimated. The participants seemed more upbeat as well. “We were all freaked out [last year],” Jeff Horing, managing director at Insight Venture Partners, said during a panel discussion. “I feel really good about the companies that survived the past 24 months.” Attendees and speakers appeared convinced the media economy is no longer in freefall and has stabilized. Much of the discussion by speakers and panelists focused on how to cope with the new reality, which will continue to bring new technologies, new business models and near constant flux. “There is no status quo,” said panelist John Harris, editor in chief of Politico, who described the feeling this way: “We feel like a water-skier just holding on.” Sharon Rowlands, CEO of Penton Media, discussed how the many changes roiling the industry have caused personnel issues at her company. Specifically, she said the rise of marketing services and consultative selling pose challenges for the sales staff. “There’s a huge talent gap,” she said, adding: “Only a fraction of our sales force is capable of effectively selling [marketing services] to customers.”
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