After several years of optimism fueled by fast growth and big investments from legacy media companies, the past few months has been hard on pure-play digital publishers: closings, layoffs and "strategic repositionings." But it's not all bad news. Some of the new generation of online publishers are reaching that rarest of milestones: profitability. On that note, after four years in operation, online business news publisher Quartz has joined the elite club of companies that are actually making money,
Picture this: an independent print magazine that survived the digital disruption of the media industry, has a paywall for its online content and a robust 24-hour radio station on its site. With a unique business model of newsstands sales, subscriptions, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar cafes and shops, global affairs and lifestyle magazine Monocle has stuck to its traditional magazine media business, and celebrated its 10th anniversary with its March 2017 issue.
The demand for digital video is immense, and continuing to gain momentum. Where TV was once the sole source for video content, consumers now have a plethora of options to consume video. And where consumers go, advertisers have followed. Despite such robust demand, the supply of video impressions continues to struggle to meet it. Publishers face challenges both in creating premium video content, and in transacting these impressions.
The rise of header bidding has been championed by publishers as a way to increase control and grow revenue. Server-to-server solutions take the process a step further, promising reduced page latency and increased access to demand. But as header bidding continues to proliferate, publishers are now faced with a new choice: Maximize yield or provide preferential treatment to select advertisers? That is, should publishers continue to use programmatic to maximize RPM, or should they favor their direct advertisers over those bidding in exchanges? Or do they need to strike a balance - and if so, how?
Advertisers are throwing money at Facebook, while publishers fight it out against one another for the leftovers. What's more, publishers rely heavily on Facebook's ecosystem for traffic and revenue, at the risk of ceding their connection with advertisers completely to platforms like Facebook, Google and Amazon, where media buying is easy and scalable. Realistically, publishers must build a series of stairs that can lift them out of their predicament. The right way to safety is to put the pieces in place to connect more transparently to advertisers, and to make it easy for advertisers to buy premium media at scale.
The struggles of the publishing industry come down to three things, according to Hola! magazine publisher Sylvia Banderas: over-saturation, over-complication, and what she calls "shiny-object syndrome."
The timing of the push for longer video content is significant, as Facebook is also poised to introduce new mid-roll video ad products, which may be more suitable for long-form videos.
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.
When vetting various partners, we considered various criteria, especially fees, features and reporting. Publishers should evaluate partners across these elements and ask probing questions.
Having an "onmichannel" channel does the "heavy lifting in terms of brand-building," according to Domino CEO Nathan Coyle. It's about having diversified initiatives and platforms. They give back in spades on the brand side and when you do it well and keep doing it, then you start to build meaningful business and revenue as well."