For all the attention they have garnered over the last few years, distribution partnerships with big tech platforms like Facebook and Google still contribute a relatively small proportion of total revenues for a number of big publishers, per a Digital Content Next report, first publicized by Business Insider.
The report from DCN, the publishing industry trade organization previously known as the Online Publishers Association, found platform partnerships accounted for just 14% of total publisher revenues, based on a survey of 19 of its members, including big names like ESPN, The New York Times and Bloomberg.
On average the publishers reported $7.7 million in revenue from platform partnerships in the first half of 2016, including $773,567 from YouTube, $560,144 on Facebook, $482,788 for Twitter, and $192,819 for Snapchat.
By revenue category, advertising sold directly by the publishers themselves contributed the lion’s share of revenue from their platform partnerships, with an average of $6,845,308 or around 89% of the total. By contrast, advertising revenue sharing for ads sold by the platforms contributed just $716,553, or 9% of the total.
The remaining 2% came from licensing fees, production fees and subscription or transaction revenue sharing.
On a positive note, advertising CPMs for platform distribution were significantly higher than publishers’ own Web sites and apps, but as DCN points out, this is largely due to the higher proportion of video advertising in the mix for platform partnerships. That may help explain YouTube’s lead in total revenues generated, as well.
Platform partnerships have generally been a rough ride for publishers. After wooing publishers with promises of enormous reach and faster distribution, last year Facebook and Snapchat both moved to lower the profile of publisher content in favor of content from personal connections.
Then, to keep publishers interested, they began offering new features that could help win back some audience share.
For example, last month, Facebook began testing a new feature allowing users to browse curated selections of content from publishers drawn from their individual news feeds, called Collections, not long after Snapchat began tweaking a similar feature on its own platform.