Looking ahead to 2018: the year big media fights back

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As the new year approaches fast, we're thinking about what trends will surface in 2018. In this instalment, Ryan Fuss, our Chief Revenue Officer, shares his thoughts on how 2018 will be a year of change for Big Media.

Wow, how times flies. I joined Sortable almost a year ago, and what a year to make a change. 2017 has been a year of challenges and volatility. I come from the publishing side, and it's disheartening to see the 2015 darlings of new media struggle in the ecosystem of 2017. When you're in it, you think you're in it alone ” but there are common challenges that everyone in our industry is facing.

The playing field has been levelled. A handful of publishers blazed a trail, and opened up new spaces and realized the potential of new audiences. And since they've opened these gates, more publishers are occupying the same space, sharing the same voice, and fighting for the same audience. The differentiators have been diluted, and time spent carved up amongst the publishing masses.

And this has been further compounded by other forces in the ecosystem. The platform era has made it difficult for publishers to understand their audiences and realize revenue, with the emergence of Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP. While users are still consuming content, they're doing so on these platforms, functionally cutting off publishers' primary revenue stream. Add to that an increased demand for privacy and security from users, which Google and Apple are making in-roads to oblige (see iOS 11), and Big Media publishers are faced with more obstacles than ever before.

This is the sandbox that publishers are playing in right now, and this confluence of forces has put Big Media in an incredibly challenging spot that's threatening the monetization model for all editorial-driven publishers. As platforms are beginning to break into the content business, the walls of the social media echo chamber are starting to close audiences in and shut publishers out. And now with net neutrality undone, it can effectively capsize how content reaches us all.

I'm hopeful that 2018 is going to be a good year for Big Media, a year of reflection, a year of experimentation, and ultimately a year of real change. I'm rooting for Big Media. I don't know about you, but I value the fact that the open web allows the coexistence of diverse viewpoints and perspectives. I not only want to see Big Media succeed financially; I'm hoping that in a world of monolithic platforms, we can preserve the human element of the internet. Humans aren't built on algorithms, and Big Media's success would help keep the ecosystem viable, help maintain and protect choice, diverse points-of-view and perspectives ” unique perspectives that help shape our culture, and the world around us.

 This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.