When it comes to the UK’s rich creative publishing sector, London is leading the way. From the historic printing houses along Fleet Street to the wealth of media hubs spread throughout Soho, publishers have embedded themselves in the Capital.
At our annual dinner for digital media and data leaders, held at The Groucho Club in March, it was unanimously agreed that London will continue to act as the epicentre of UK publishing - provided this sector focuses on the following key areas.
Scenario planning will prove indispensable
The future is looking difficult to predict. Our attendees found themselves in volatile yet exciting times, with Brexit clearly at the front of their minds.
Rather than waiting for economic changes to come to them, publishers should take steps now - such as scenario planning - to develop a range of business strategies to deliver strong growth no matter what the future looks like.
Staying flexible by nature
Alongside scenario planning, adapting quickly and cohesively to change is vital to maintaining growth in the face of challenges.
Publishing companies have demonstrated that they will change direction to protect themselves against volatile environments. Take the 2008 financial crisis, for instance. While publishers were one of the first sectors to suffer from the recession due to a drop in advertising spend and readership, they were also one of the first to bounce back1 and restart their growth. One participant likened this to a Bellwether curve, with publishers both anticipating and reacting to market trends well ahead of other sectors.
A city of talented young creatives
Perhaps the root of this flexibility stems back to London itself. The city’s reputation as a centre for young creatives has been one of the key reasons why publishers stay in the city. Attendees agreed that young talent adapt well to strategic change, and media profits as a result.
No other city in the UK has the same kind of convergence of talent and creativity as London. It’s no wonder that the city has a wealth of media outlets based here, all tapping into the broad church of ages, people, culture and innovation the Capital offers. Media is ultimately a young person’s industry, and nowhere is as attractive to Britain’s young graduates as London.
This is the crux of why London will continue to be the natural home for the UK’s publishing sector. First class talent has proven critical to the success of Britain’s publishing businesses. Those doing taking advantage of the capital have had direct access to its workforce, much to their benefit. As we head deeper into uncertain times, this talent pool will prove vital for publishers looking to drive growth across their businesses.