Media technology

Audience growth and new content channels

The first of Press Gazette Future of Media Technology Series saw our panel discuss how publishers can increase audience engagement and maximize revenue through content syndication.

The webinar was moderated by Press Gazette editor-in-chief Dominic Ponsford with the following panelists:

  • Robert Hahn, Director of Commercial Affairs and Platform Partnerships at Guardian News and Media
  • Federica Cherubini, Head of Leadership Development at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
  • Martin Ashplant, Managing Director of Products at GlobalData Media
  • Phil Crumm, senior vice president of marketing and growth at 10up.

Panel Highlights

An instant audience poll asked, “What is the most important platform for your business, in terms of revenue?” The responses (47) were:

  • 45% Google
  • 28%
  • 21% Facebook
  • 2% Apple News

According to Cherubini, three-quarters of people access information through a “side door that is not directly controlled by publishers” – including search and social media – and this group is growing, up 2% this year. year. The figure rises to 80% for young audiences.

Facebook is still a top news platform, but it’s on the decline. Facebook is “becoming less important for news” while “visual networks” like Instagram and TikTok are on the rise, where users get their news through celebrities and other personalities online, she said.

Hahn said Google News Showcase, which paid member publishers a $ 1 billion share over three years, had “offered a significant change in revenue mix” from a licensing perspective for its Australian operation.

However, the Guardian did not sign a deal with Google in the UK. “Like any of these agreements, it is a long process of assessment and balance or risk and reward and a dialogue continues with these platforms,” ​​he said. .

LinkedIn: “If you are a b2b publisher, there is probably no better platform …”

Martin Ashplant, managing director of products at GlobalData Media, said LinkedIn has particular value for B2B publishers when it comes to reaching “MVPs” in markets served by niche publications.

[Read more: Platform Profile – LinkedIn News: Editor Daniel Roth on what site has to offer business publications]

“What I find really valuable about LinkedIn is that it allows you to reach these niche audiences. And if you do it right, they become your advocates very quickly, ”he said.

“You can reach the ten most important people in a particular industry, and then just by sharing your content or putting it on their network, then you reach all the others, who you might not even know, because they” J ‘ve done the hard work for you in creating these networks.

“I think LinkedIn is a way to get a really valuable audience, engaged and specializing in niche interests is really valuable.”

He added, “One thing I would say is, from what I’ve seen, in terms of engagement, it always seems to be more effective when you actually have individual sharing content.

“So it’s an individual within this network who says, ‘Have you seen that? Which seems to have a much higher reach than you as a publication or organization. It is therefore essential to present it in front of these defenders. ”

Crumm said, “If you’re a b2b publisher, there’s probably no better platform to spend your time trying to build an audience on. [than LinkedIn].

“It’s particularly unique and exciting because the distribution of journalism and content on LinkedIn is still relatively new, not something that many publishers are taking advantage of. So the signal to noise ratio you get as a player is significantly better. To put it another way, there is a lot less competing for the eyes of people who want to engage.

He said the social network for professionals also offers publishers the unique opportunity to reach out to MVPs and reach out to them directly.

Apple News: ‘It is very difficult to monetize effectively …’

Crumm said what he called “more traditional portals,” such as Apple News, “are rarely worth our customers’ time at this point,” saying engagement with the content was “fairly trivial.”

[Read more: Platform profile – Apple News: The traffic is ‘incredible’ – but money is ‘particularly bad’]

“I think there might be a particular class of… fast-paced production journalism that could gain a volume game through some of these portals,” he said.

“But knowing that, firstly, there are a lot of big syndicated publishers out there that are probably going to get name recognition and therefore attention before your content, and secondly, it’s becoming less and less of a place for people to search for news. these days it’s a bit of a tough value proposition for most of the people we work with.

Crumm said that in its early days, Apple News had good levels of engagement with content. “Apple has done a good job of building some excitement around Apple news, drawing a lot of audiences to the app. And there was a time when there wasn’t a lot of content posted on it, so you could do pretty well.

“As it has matured and has become more and more a table issue for many publishers, many of our clients [have] found that it is very difficult to effectively monetize. And it’s nearly impossible to take that audience and continue to engage with them down the road to building a deeper relationship with them to sell them subscription products, or however your business monetizes.

But he said “for pure brand recognition or name recognition, and given that it’s not a lot of engineering effort overall to get your content into Apple News, it’s probably still worth it. worth [joining]”.

Guardian: Being on Apple News in the US has “paid dividends”

Federica Cherubini said the relevance of platforms for a publisher varies across the world, with mobile aggregators occupying a powerful position in many Asian markets with players not considered relevant in Western markets.

Apple News has grown significantly in the United States, she said, where the platform reaches a third of iPhone users.

“For me the crucial question for every publisher is not just in what context they operate geographically, but also what kind of different audiences they have on different platforms, and really thinking much more specifically, not as an audience. [as one thing] but many different segments ”.

She said publishers should consider applying “specific user engagement strategies based on what audiences are looking for and wanting on specific platforms.”

Hahn said the Guardian took a “local market approach” for Apple News. “In terms of The Guardian’s strategic direction, its model obviously does not suit us,” he said, “however, in the United States, where we have clearly sought to build a brand and create a market, we are at Apple. [News] and it paid dividends.

Other events in the series

  • September 16, 3 p.m .: Life after cookies: why publishers should act now to update their AdTech
  • September 23, 3 p.m .: Content management in the age of digital disruption
  • September 30, 3 p.m .: What are the newest and most lucrative online subscription strategies?

Visit the Future of Media Technology event website to learn more and reserve a spot.

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