Interview with Vahe Arabian
Founder at State of Digital Publishing

At State of Digital Publishing, our mission is to help join today’s media and publishing professionals with their target audiences. We accomplish this by bridging the gap between current MarTech solution providers and professionals. With an assortment of articles, podcasts and a membership program State of Digital Publishing facilitates discussion on the latest trends in technology, common challenges, and creative solutions.
What niche is this publication serving? How is it primarily accessed? Do you have stats for who is reading or listening to your podcast?
The niche that I'm service is new media and technology, so primarily they're digital media publisher professionals who are looking for ways of engaging new audiences through tech or through new platforms or new mediums. So digital media publishers consist of people who work for media companies or it's a content platform or as a comparison platform. Any content agnostic platform that is there to serve its audience for a particular underlying need. My publication is currently accessed via the Website stateofdigitalpublishing.com. There is the freemium model or articles that are free. And then you can pay for a subscription to get more exclusive articles with up to date information. There's also a podcast as well that we're going to be relaunching soon, that also interviews leading industry professionals whether they be tech professionals or niche industry professionals. Well also see to cover startups and see to cover incoming market companies as they also offer perspectives and tech trends that otherwise aren't regularly spoke about to media professionals. So trying to capture these three areas within the publication is how I get a full perspective ecosystem of Digitally Publishing today.
Take us through your career trajectory- how did you get to where you are now? Did you expect to be here?
I got here, like I said this is one of the first ideas that I had on creating my business when I was first in university. Yeah. I want to be up. I wanted to be here sooner but I eventually took the leap of faith and I started this full time over a year ago. In short my advice to you, I know digital media is very challenging particularly whether it be creating a publication or you're creating a tech platform but by going very niche and having a sizable audience- you can make it. And at the moment my audience is growing and I have a slew of services like consulting and subscription content which help me make this a sustainable business. Don't rely on just advertising or just don't rely on getting eyeballs to your website in order to create a publication. Create absolute products that make your overarching brand where it wants to be. In terms of a career trajectory, my advice for you is do a lot of in-person interviews, in-person meetings and that'll give you a really good sense of whether it's worth pursuing this- pursuing what your publication is and for which audience. I found when I was doing a lot of survey and interviewing that it gave me a lot more perspective rather than from the paid survey and through surveys or trying to do a Facebook ad campaign to capture these responses because a lot of them aren't qualified responses. In person is always the best. And always believe in yourself as well, okay?
What media and technology trends could your predict with bloom in the New Year?
There's four tech trends you need to be aware of so the first is podcast advertising- it's become mainstream. So you don't have to go through one and try to compete against CPM or have a big audience in order to get podcasts advertising. If you offer a good service around promoting advertisers, services through content free promotion/ post promotion you can definitely offer that cost at a competitive rate, that they'll be see value in what you're doing. The second and the most important which is going to be the long term game for anyone, is to create subscription content or membership which is what a lot of publishers are calling it- it's trying to get the advocacy from that audience member and to also get them engaged in a community that's also being offered as well as public service, as a media service offering. The next is push notification advertising but really looking at programmatic and seeing how that can be done dynamically as a way to counter the decline of advertising. That's a pretty interesting space. That's where a lot of the momentum is at the moment. The final thing is really looking get AI, really looking at that in editorial optimization or automated journalism. So whether it be automatically classified articles based on emphases of topics or looking at different ways of actually churning out very common newspaper stories like weather forecasts or sports recaps. That's very much being used more commonly in journalism newsrooms.
What is your long-term vision for State of Digital Publishing? Do you have any plans to expand the platform in 2019?
My long-term vision for State of Digital Publishing is to become the central platform where you can identify and create a sustainable business model for media publishers. I want this to be a central location and hub. So my main areas of focus for the platform in 2019 is firstly a contributor model- it's not just about me. We need to get a lot of perspective to see where people are up to and what to do these days so rapidly going with that. The second area is around my podcasts and hopefully I can get one or two shows up where we can focus one on tech and focus one on the individual professionals at startups. The other plan is to continually build subscription offering by providing unique content, case studies and information that people see value in and keep coming back again and again. That's a that's going to be a really big focus as well. I hope you guys can also join us service publishing. Thanks guys. See ya.