There’s a refreshingly honest interview with Frank Anton, vice chairman of US publisher Hanley Wood on, where he admits that B2B publishers in the USA “missed the boat” when they failed to make use of their data and industry knowledge. Hanley Wood was a particularly clear case, as they have housing industry publications, a market that is now dominated by sites such as Houzz and Zillow.

Whilst “Hanley Wood knew more about the housing industry than any media company in the US,” they failed to create the next-generation digital platforms that have been so successful. Interestingly in the technology industry, there have been some parallels. Perhaps the best example is SupplyFrame, the group of sites that has done so much to create an effective advertising platform without the need to spend large sums of money on unique editorial content. Unlike the housing industry, however, most of the new players do look rather like conventional publishers.

Of course the big question is the future – will there be different digital platforms, or will editorial content continue to be the primary way that information is communicated? If the future is data-driven, then who will own the dominant platforms: publishers, new entrants or distributors? It will be interesting to see what happens.