Peter Houston

Peter Houston

Peter Houston runs Flipping Pages Media, an independent consultancy and training firm, helping publishers build multi-platform success. He has run Guardian Masterclasses, spoken at Google’s ThinkPublishing and was formerly Editor-at-large for The Media Briefing. He now co-hosts the Media Voices Podcast, delivering a weekly take on the media news and guest interviews with senior players at a leading media organizations, from Facebook to Nieman Lab, The Economist to CNN.

What Procrastinating Publishers Need to do to Get GDPR Compliant Before May 25

In just over a month, on May 25, 2018, more than 500 million citizens of the European Union will come under the protection of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But you’re a North American publisher, so why should you care what they get up to on the other side of the pond? Mainly because…

In Quest to Replace Facebook Traffic, Publishers Need to Get Back to SEO

If Facebook really turns out to be a busted flush for publishers, where’s the traffic going to come from in the future? Should everyone pivot to Pinterest? Leap to LinkedIn? Chassé over to Snapchat? How you decide to move your platform strategy forward is your business, but getting serious again about SEO is critical. There’s…

People Are Finally Paying for Content. Here’s How Publishers Are Capitalizing.

It’s tough sometimes to find the good news stories in the publishing business; more often than not, the pros are outweighed by the cons. But one shining point of light on a dark horizon is the increasing contributions readers make to the bottom line. This month The New York Times reported subscription revenue at more…

What Can We Learn From Publishers’ Pivot to Video?

With the hindsight offered by a new year, publishing’s “Pivot to Video” seems like a moment of collective madness best assigned to a less enlightened time (2017). But what ended up as a bad joke, started out as a serious response to shifting market conditions. And working on the premise that those who fail to…

Why Publishers Are Shifting Focus to Engagement Metrics Over Pageviews

Metrics is one of those words… one of those soulless new media words… Modern. Mechanical. Menacing. Say it out loud three times and you risk being forever haunted by a pivot-table demon summoned straight from spreadsheet Hell. Or maybe that’s just me. Some (sick) people have been known to get incredibly excited at the prospect…

Are Readers the Answer to Publishing’s Revenue Question?

Print’s a basket case. New online advertising dollars are under pressure from the duopoly. Bots and ad fraud are scaring agencies and brands away from spending what’s left of their budgets on digital display. Not too long ago, video was the answer to any question about the future of publishing revenues. But while the pivot…

Why Publishers Have the Upper Hand in the Growing Podcast Market

You know podcasts are really a thing when the former Vice President of the United States has one. If you’re interested to find out what ‘Joe wants you to know’, you can listen in to his five to 10 minute episodes on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Home or just shout out, “Alexa, enable Biden's Briefing.”…

How Can Magazine Publishers Make Ecommerce Work?

Jeff Bezos has been getting some pretty decent PR recently and not just around his transformation from mild-mannered bookseller to muscled-bound Master of the Universe. If you see the no-longer-nerdy CEO’s style shift as a corporate metaphor, Amazon has gone from selling books online to selling whatever the hell it wants. The world’s retailers and…

Long Form Content Boosts Engagement, But How Can Publishers Do It Right?

There’s nothing new under the Sun. Even that saying is way older that you think, at least 2,000 years’ old, appearing in the Hebrew Tanakh in the book of Ecclesiastes… What has been will be again, What has been done will be done again; There is nothing new under the sun. That’s only slightly older…

Will Voice Interfaces Like Alexa Deliver for Publishers?

You probably can’t tell from my Publishing Executive blogs, but I’m Scottish. Like most Scots, my heritage is a source of pride and I love it when people, mostly Americans to be fair, tell me they love my accent. For someone that grew up with their mother telling them to ‘speak properly’ that’s a great…

5 Tips for Setting Your Digital Media Priorities

Publishing used to be a pretty simple business: Write stories your audience wants to read, look after your advertisers, pay attention to paper, print, and postage costs. Presto: a profitable publishing business. These days, the bit that used to be simple typically brings in a lot less money than it did, and the new digital…

Can Publishers Rebuild Customer Loyalty with Apps?

It wasn't too long ago that apps were enthusiastically touted as the future of publishing. The launch of the iPad brought a wave of optimism and a flood of digital publications – but the euphoria was short-lived. For most publishers, initial downloads were impressive but usage was dismal and revenue, either from sales and subscriptions…

How to Develop Newsletters That Readers Actually Want

I’m not sure if ‘Inbox Zero’ is still a thing, and I’ve certainly never gotten anywhere close to achieving it, but I absolutely get the desire to free yourself from the unrelenting tyranny of email. And given the flurry of email-management apps and self-help books out there, I’m not alone. If a tweet I came…

Email, Mobile Are Key to Building Reader Loyalty

Digital media has brought a lot of challenges to the publisher’s door. One of the biggest is the challenge to reader loyalty. In the good old days, most readers had limited choice; sometimes if they didn’t read your newspaper or magazine, they didn’t read. In cities or subject areas where there was a choice, a…

Are Publishers Really Putting Their Audiences First?

What a time to be alive… the people, fresh from taking the U.K. out of Europe, are sending a reality TV star to the White House and the brightest brains of our society didn’t have a clue what was coming up in the elevator. The worrying part of that for me -- outside of my…