Q: What is the most important challenge to address at DMS this year?
With the dominance of Google and Facebook (and maybe soon Amazon), the fight for ad revenue is going to be at the top of the agenda. One of the more crunchy issues our industry is facing is the lack of consumer trust in some media and the impact that’s having on brand safety amongst other things. Also, the over-investment in short term, ‘last click’ metrics at the expense of important brand building.
Q: What excites you the most about the media industry looking ahead at 2018?
As an industry, we are reviewing our priorities and the issue of trust is increasingly reoccurring. Technology and social media are increasingly fragmenting the media world and the proliferation of fake news is undermining trust in a big way. As a result, we’ve been seeing the word trust used in advertising briefs more frequently, and that’s an incredibly exciting position to be in as a media owner such as Hearst. We have lighthouse brands that our audiences trust and feel a powerful connection to. It’s exciting to be working for a content and experience business that’s a beacon of positivity in a transformational world.
Q: What is the biggest industry trend at the moment?
In addition to the ‘flight to quality’, which I’ve already mentioned, voice activated products like Amazon’s Alexa present exciting opportunities for media companies like Hearst. In the US, Alexa users can hear daily snippets of wisdom from Oprah Winfrey and household advice from Good Housekeeping and these are interesting developments for us.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
I’m privileged to work with some of the most talented and creative people in the business. We publish 21 premium brands in the UK which exist with the sole purpose to help people get more out of life. This is an inspiring purpose and a constant source of motivation. Our industry has challenges that need to be addressed but I believe that the bigger the challenge, the bigger the associated opportunity is too.
James Wildman joined Hearst UK as its President and CEO in April 2017 and has overall management responsibility for the company. He has worked in the media industry for over twenty years and has a wealth of experience transforming media companies.
James joined Hearst from Trinity Mirror where he was Chief Revenue Officer from 2014 with responsibility for all commercial revenue across the group. He led the commercial teams through transformational change and Trinity Mirror won Campaign magazine’s ‘Best Newsbrand and Magazine Sales Team’ award in 2016 in recognition of the success delivered.
From 2011, James was Yahoo’s Managing Director, UK & Ireland, responsible for leading Yahoo’s biggest market outside the US. Prior to that, he spent six years as Managing Director of Virgin Media’s television sales house, ids.