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Boletín Semanal octubre 13, 2019

Tecnología y temas de data presentan fuertes retos a las estrategias para obtener ganancias de los lectores

A medida que los editores recurren a los ingresos por suscripción para apuntalar sus estrategias de ingresos, desde las audiencias internacionales más grandes hasta las editoriales locales, cada uno se enfrenta a los problemas constantemente cambiantes de tecnología y datos.

As an example, publishers have been forced to make decisions about making their paywalls stricter, not on their own initiative but in response to the actions of a tech giant.

While Google's 2007 decision to move to flexible sampling for subscription-based publishers including The Times & Sunday Times boosted their ability to serve samples of subscription content on their own terns, Google’s recent decision to close a loophole that allowed audiences to use Incognito mode in order to effectively bypass metered paywalls forced publishers’ hands.

While research demonstrates that harder paywalls typically serve larger publications, and therefore those publishers might have taken that route anyway, the fact remains that publishers had to have the flexibility in their subscription tools in order to react as swiftly as they did.

Google’s argument, as it has been so many times, is that the move was in service of user privacy.

User data – the secret weapon

User data has, for years, been the secret weapon in publishers’ arsenals. The first-party data volunteered by users who choose to sign up and register for publishers’ sites – even if they don’t choose to ultimately pay for that content – is a powerful resource.

It has been brought to the fore again as a result of Apple going to war with Google over privacy, the rise of the third-party cookie, and the implementation of GDPR. Dennis’ head of programmatic and audience data Alex Kirby explains:

“This is just another thing that has compounded that degradation of value. It's what the recent legislations have done], painful though that may have been to, to implement the policies. It's allowed us to really look at what I use as one, how we can put privacy and those users at the forefront and build products around that.”

Similarly, the Financial Times’ Chief Data Officer Tom Betts told a WAN-IFRA study tour that “one of the things that I think often people don't recognise about the importance of subscription and reader revenue is the value of the data that comes from having a relationship with readers.”

The acknowledgment that publishers have primacy when it comes to user data has, in concert with a widespread recognition that there are too many players in the data sphere leading to revenue leakage along the chain, has led many successful digital subscription publishers to invest in building their own data and tech tools to capitalise on their position.

Sweden’s MittMedia, for instance, has moved its data tools from those offered by third parties to being entirely in-house.

"A well-implemented data platform at the centre of a news publishing organisation must be able to fuel strategic synergies between editorial staff, the paid content business, and the advertising business," – Markus Engstrom, Head of Data Strategy, MittMedia

Investing in tech to reduce churn

The Times & Sunday Times, too, has invested heavily in tools that leverage the user data to which they have access. Its AI “butler,” James, for instance, is designed to serve more relevant content to its logged-in users. That has the complementary benefits of both increasing the engagement between user and publisher, and reducing the likelihood of churn.

The importance of investing in tech to reduce churn has been starkly demonstrated both by The Times’ investment in tools designed to prevent just that, and in the Los Angeles Times’ recent disappointing subscription figures that have been chalked up almost entirely to the number of users that fail to renew.

The question of resources

The unfortunate reality is that not all newspapers have the resources to invest in bespoke data and subscription tech. While off-the-shelf tools, even those that can be better tailored, are certainly useful, cutting-edge tech like James is still beyond the reach of smaller publishers, many of whom are relying on old-fashioned techniques of trial and error to try to improve their subscription funnel.

Beyond that, while the rise of privacy has made user data a rare commodity that can be utilised by publishers who have an existing direct relationship with a user, it does mean that fly-by-night visitors to your website or those users who choose not to share any information at all are suddenly much harder to convert in any capacity.

Being totally GDPR-compliant, for instance, effectively means waving goodbye to any in-depth knowledge of individual users, and in the immediate aftermath of GDPR’s rollout led to messages from some US publishers whose sites were not compliant that EU users simply were not worth the trouble of letting onto the site.

Potential revenue opportunities

There are plenty of opportunities for publishers with regards to subscription revenue, and data and tech solutions lie behind most of them.

The stark reality, however, is that just as not all publishers can subsist from the finite amount of digital subscription money, as the Los Angeles Times example demonstrates, not all publishers are well-placed to invest in the tools required for subscription success.

And with the landscape altering so rapidly as a result of tech giants and legislation, failure to adapt could be an existential crisis.

Inversión publicitaria en US crece 8 por ciento en el primer semester y la tendencia es a crecer mas de un 6 por ciento durante el año

Amid concerns of a looming U.S. economic downturn, the U.S. ad market expanded 7.6% during the first half of 2019 and is on track to grow a total of 6.3%, according to revised estimates released today by IPG Mediabrands' Magna unit.

That is a significant improvement from the 2.4% U.S. ad expansion Magna predicted back in December 2018, when it released its last forecast.

“The U.S. ad market had a great first half thanks to a strong economic environment as well as media innovation and a dynamic technology vertical," Executive Vice President-Global Market Intelligence Vincent Letang said in a statement provided with the report. "Digital media ad sales matured, as expected, but continued to grow close to +20% yoy, while editorial media performed better than expected thanks to a recovery of radio, and OOH in full swing. We forecast an 11th year of growth in 2020 as record political spending will generate an all-time high of $5.5 billion in incremental ad revenue and mitigate the effect of the expected economic slowdown."


For 2020, Magna is forecasting a more tepid 3.8% expansion in U.S. ad spending, despite the fact that it is expected to be a banner year in political advertising, as well as being an Olympics year.

"Magna is expecting the economic slowdown might take a toll on the spending in several key verticals (e.g. automotive, retail, finance), but fortunately, 2020 is the strongest year in the four-year cycle of events that typically drive extra ad spend and incremental ad revenues," the Interpublic unit says in the report, which goes on to note U.S. GDP growth is forecasted to "slow down only mildly from +2.3% in 2019 to +1.9% in 2020."

Los clientes están disminuyendo su atracción por las agencias de medios

It's the question that nobody truly knows the answer to. When does today's trend to in-house some parts of the digital marketing function end and see the market settle around a new equilibrium between agencies and advertisers?

When will in-housing reach a point where clients agree it has gone far enough, and what role does that leave agencies with?

New figures from media consultants ID Comms show we may still have a fair way to go, and brands may be tempted to take on more campaign execution work.

The typical argument I find circulating in media circles is that we currently have a situation where advertisers are beginning to in-house their data processing via data management platforms (DMPs) and CRM software to take more control and ownership over customer insights. They don't want data to leave the organisation if they change agencies, and there is more pressure on brands to look after customer data since the introduction of GDPR.

Most are not choosing to then go on and buy their own media, but instead, to allow it to be used by an agency's smart people to build a strategy, formulate a media plan and then execute it.

Cases such as Vodafone -- where biddable media is also brought in-house -- are rare. In the main, if the data has been in-housed, strategy, creative and execution remains the preserve of the agency, which is trusted for adding the brains and know-how to raw data.

However, the new research from ID Comms shines a light on this agency-advertiser relationship -- and it may not be quite what the big shops want to see.

There are a whole bunch of scores for attributes, but the main takeaway is that marketers do not believe agencies are meeting expectations. Furthermore, scores have gone down slightly since ID Comms last carried out similar research. 

The specific categories where marketers, on average, score their agencies low marks are revealing, and suggest they are not fully trusted to be objective when buying media or to gain further data insights.

The only category where marketers agree agencies are working to expectations is in providing thought leadership.

So if we consider the two major assets agencies are now selling their services on -- strategy and execution -- marketers are agreeing that the relationship offers them the thought leadership required for strategy, but there seems to be a gap between what clients want around data insights and execution compared to what they are offered. 

Let me be clear -- when talking with media executives and marketers, I have always felt that taking data in-house is the proverbial thin edge of the wedge and that execution would not be far behind. The example of Vodafone stands out here, having recently taken its biddable media in-house.

If machines are buying from machines, one can assume the argument goes, advertisers feel they have less need for an agency's super-smart executives than when formulating a strategy around which audiences to target through direct buys. 

These figures from ID Comms would suggest to me that there is scope for more in-house and for mission creep to take brands beyond just taking control of their data.

We already have some brands with a need to produce content at speed to in-house creative studios. Could we start to see this happen more frequently around media planning and buying? 

My honest opinion is that it seems likely, and these figures from ID Comms show there is much room for improvement if media agencies are going to convince clients they are indispensable.

The research does not ask what advertisers are planning to do, but does reveal that in the main, budget holders do not think their agencies are meeting expectations.

That must surely leave the door open to more media functions moving in-house.

Washington Post pondrá en servicio una red que permite a los anunciadores adquirir anuncios en tiempo real

The Washington Post on Tuesday will unveil Zeus Prime, a product that will allow companies to buy automated ads in real-time, similar to Big Tech platforms. Zeus will also support a new ad network that will include other publishers.

Why it matters: Advertisers often complain that they would like a better alternative to buying ads on Google and Facebook — where the content isn't always vetted — but there are no other places where they can buy ads as quickly and efficiently in real-time. The Post hopes this product will change that, and put more ad money in publishers' pockets.

The product will allow publishers to open their ad space to marketers directly through a real-time buying tool, similar to what Google and Facebook offer, across the network of publishers' websites and apps.

  • Because the new software requires very minimal input from the advertiser — no additional design, coding, fees or approvals are required — advertisers can place their ads directly on publishers websites in real-time, which is not typical.
  • The tool will first be available for DC, local-based advertisers, says Joy Robins, Chief Revenue Officer at The Washington Post. "As more publishers license the technology, that pool of available ad inventory will eventually grow nationally across many publishers' sites," Robins says. 

Yes, but: While a publisher can choose to license Zeus Prime as a standalone product, if it wishes to join the ad network that The Post is building, it needs to license all three of The Post's commercial software products, including Zeus Insights, The Post's first-party data tool that is used for ad-targeting, and Zeus Performance, its advertising performance tool.

  • "There is no end-to-end solution for publishers to grow their advertising revenue," says Jarrod Dicker, The Post’s VP of Commercial Technology and Development. "Zeus gives publishers the opportunity to license a shared technology stack, and have full control over their revenue and the technology powering it. It empowers them to become less dependent on revenue platforms like Google and Facebook."  

By the numbers: According to Dicker, the cost to license the software will vary by client, but right now clients are "at the low volume range, half million annually and at the high range, in the millions."

  • As a result, Robins says the revenue that will be generated from the Zeus Prime product will be significant. "We're shooting for eight-figures," Robins told Axios. 

Be smart: Buying and selling automated ads on websites and apps for premium web publishers has been a major technology challenge for years, and it's part of the reason that Google and Facebook have been able to grow their ad businesses so big and so fast.

  • In the past, advertisers had to use third-party vendors which are often owned or influenced by Google or Facebook. Those vendors often took a large cut of the ad money.
  • This tech allows publishers to cut third-party ad tech vendors out of their supply chains, so that they can take a much higher cut of the revenue.

Case-in-point: Dicker thinks that Zeus Prime will enable publishers to earn revenue at a rate of more than $10 minimum CPM (the cost per every 1,000 impressions), as opposed to the roughly $2 minimum CPM that publishers sell ads at right now, using outside vendors.

  • "Advertising today for publishers is on opposite ends, it's either very premium for custom experiences or very cheap for audience targeting," says Dicker. "We want to bring demand back to the middle. If we do that, we'll be bringing an entirely new revenue opportunity for publishers to band together and really take on Big Tech companies." 

The big picture: Publishers are investing more in developing their own advertising and publishing software as a way to make more money.

Los medios impresos siguen estando en el centro de la estrategia de los editores

El documento técnico "The Future of Media" realizado por la FIPP explora las estrategias de los editores de todo el mundo que continúan poniendo la impresión en el centro de sus ofertas, dentro de un ecosistema editorial más amplio. Menciona que el 58% de los asociados todavía se describen a sí mismos como principalmente orientados a la impresión, y el 60-80% de los ingresos de los editores todavía se generan a partir de la impresión.

En Estados Unidos, las 25 revistas impresas más importantes llegan a más adultos y adolescentes que los 25 programas de TV principales. La impresión en general está demostrando una capacidad de adaptación muy grande, ofertando un universo que combina todas las plataformas. Las revistas de éxito se han reinventado como marcas que sirven a su audiencia a través de una variedad de canales.

El "New York Times" informa que su base de suscriptores de impresión se mantiene bastante estable, a pesar de que sus suscriptores digitales crecieron en 265.000 solo en el cuarto trimestre de 2018.

Las revistas Hearst destacan su impresión de alta calidad y su cuidada edición como una estrategia básica. Hearst circula más de cinco millones de revistas al mes y llega a más de 20 millones de personas al mes a través de sus sitios web. El editor de numerosos títulos de kiosko Bauer alega que gran parte de su negocio todavía está impulsado por grandes publicaciones semanales, menudo todavía con bajo precio de cubierta, alto volumen y una notable dependencia del kiosko. Por ejemplo, "TV Choice" está vendiendo millones de copias a la semana, a través del puesto de periódicos. Bauer está en vanguardia en lanzamientos de revistas en nuevas áreas, en las que existen otras fuentes de ingresos fuera de la revista impresa, en lo que llama "modelo 360", con muchos productos satélites que se ubican alrededor y hacen muchas cosas diferentes.

Bastantes editores siguen el sistema de publicación inversa, poniendo el línea primero en contenido digital, que luego se reutiliza en forme impresa.