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Future of Media: Ozone Project expands, QR code adoption, WSJ innovation

The Drum's media editor John McCarthy rounds up the latest media trends each Thursday, this is also available in your inbox. Sign up here.

Future of Media: Ozone Project expands, QR code adoption, WSJ innovation

This is an extract from The Drum’s Future of Media briefing. You can subscribe to it here if you’d like it your inbox once a week.

John McCarthy here with another Future of Media briefing. The constant onslaught of Christmas ads is a reminder that this wretched year nears its end. Now, the purpose of this briefing will be to condense all of our learnings from the industry's best and brightest into something that'll give each of the readers an advantage heading into 2021. If you are a 'best and/or brightest', please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Sky's the limit for Ozone

Long-time readers of this newsletter know I have a tendency to sympathise with publishers in their struggles for ad revenue. I'm a journo-cog in the ad-funded media machine, sure, but I also see the societal benefit of good journalism.

I believe brands should make the conscious choice to fund news whether the stories positively or negatively reflect the world. In funding news media and/or subsidising the public's consumption, you help build a springboard to progress. How's that for brand purpose?

Naive idealism aside, enter Ozone Project. This ad alliance of publishers has received a sizeable investment from stakeholders, it will triple its staffing to 90 people soon.

Its boss Damon Reeve discussed the state of ad-funded media, he has a unique overview having built what should be a fragile alliance of rival brands. There seems to be some real momentum behind the project. Is his grand plan to match the audience scale of Facebook and Google, (minus the brand safety concerns) plausible? Or is it a pipe-dream we in the industry would like to see succeed?

Ode to the QR code

From The Drum APAC HQ, Shawn Lim tells the west what it can expect from QR codes (for real this time).

From restaurants and hospitality to government and safety information, QR codes have empowered anyone with a smartphone to easily access information and content. It just took a disaster to get us to notice the humble old QR code.

Lim asks, is it here to stay? [I think they're great, I'd cover everything in QR codes if I could.]

The Future of Media, according to the Wall Street Journal

Robin Kwong, newsroom innovation lead at The Wall Street Journal, talked The Drum through how the publisher’s plans have been precipitated by the pandemic.

It's learned from newsletters, data science and even Reddit in making products fit for modern times. I'm sure you could learn something from Kwong too.

Gaming consoul

We're about to be inundated with new gaming consoles from Xbox and PlayStation, these platforms will have a huge hand in steering the Future of Media TM.

I went on a hunt for the famous ads that helped build these brands or, if you like, formed their very souls. This is just a fun one I think you should read if you like games.

Other stuff

Well, that’s this week’s round-up. If you missed the last one, I have summarised it here.

Got a tip, a correction, a complaint, want a chat? I'm at or @johngeemccarthy on Twitter.

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