StorySelling and the Future of Media

A new model.

In just ten years, media as we know it has completely transformed - everything is digital, anyone can be a publisher, and small mobile phones serve as our main hub of communication and content consumption.

Given the vast change, this begs the question of what uncharted territory media will uncover in the decade to come. Ben Lerer, CEO and founder of Thrillist was on hand at SXSW to discuss his thoughts on this and more when it comes to the future of media.

With more and more ad dollars moving into programmatic purchases – by 2017, an estimated 83% of online ad spending will be in programmatic – media publishers must find new ways to monetize outside the current advertising model.

Thanks to the nature of digital media, the distance between inspiration and the point of purchase has almost entirely disappeared. Media publishers are in a unique position due to their relationship with consumers. The content they create often serves as the "inspiration" that leads to a purchase.

As such, Thrillist has developed a model called StorySelling, which is storytelling all the way through a purchase funnel. Brands can insert themselves into the StorySelling model with a media partner to increase their "share of wallet," and not just their share of attention with consumers.

For Thrillist, this is best illustrated by their acquisition of Jack Threads. For others, like Into the Gloss, it means creating an owned line of cosmetics, Glossier, based on what they knew their user was interested in. For still others, like Brit + Co, it means selling the products required to complete the projects they teach. All examples point to a future where media companies directly monetize their users.