February 28 concluded our second annual Op/Ed summit, attended by over 50 major publisher brands, including CBSi, A+E, Gawker, Turner, Condé Nast and more. In reflecting on the insights and connections that resulted from the event, I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. I think that a tweet by Eric Harris from Buzzfeed sums it up well:
The event focused on the theme “The Profitable Publisher,” a topic that’s important to any digital publisher selling advertising today. Jason Kint, CEO of DCN, started the day off by noting that premium publishers’ growth has been flat, even though the overall market has grown. He urged top tier publishers to innovate in order to keep their fair share of the market.
Operative presented findings from a study we recently commissioned with DCN that shows that the key to a mature digital media business is efficiency across people, process and technology. The study showed that the more mature a publisher is in their digital operations, the more profitable they are. (Small Operative plug — we saw that publishers using our software score the highest in efficiency and profitability!) Look for our complete white paper on the topic later this month.
The most inspiring part of the day was when we gave the stage to the attendees in a series of roundtables led by Forrester analyst Susan Bidel. She kicked off the discussion with a review of the hottest topics facing publishers today, including viewability, programmatic, convergence, big data and analytics. Some of the most interesting insights that came from the breakouts were:
- The industry talks a lot about programmatic replacing sellers, but the consensus among attendees is that it’s never going to happen.
- Data is a publisher’s greatest asset. Not only should data be protected, but it should be treated as something even more important than inventory when dealing with advertisers and partners.
- Viewability is here to stay, it’s up to publishers to embrace a standard so that they aren’t left behind and so advertisers don’t get the last word.
- Convergence and complexity can waste a lot of time and money. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, publishers need to focus on what differentiates them from their competitors and double down on it.
The best part? A new word was born to describe the much-needed convergence of product, ad ops and content for true optimization: “Trivergence.” It’s official I guess, since it’s been hashtagged.
The day included several other fantastic speakers, including a panel with Verizon, ESPN and Hulu where we talked more about the power of quality content vs. the power of data and scale. Each company is taking a slightly different approach to differentiation, yet they each compete for advertisers’ attention.
Darren Herman gave us a peek at what it’s like to work at Mozilla, a player in the space that acts as a publisher, vendor and general rabble rouser. For him, privacy, data security and viewability are all requirements for keeping users on their platform, something all publishers can relate to.
The day continued with three Operative client success stories, told by Univision, Comcast Spotlight and NBCUniversal, and then concluded with a final session in which we explored our product roadmap and discussed with attendees what they need most in the coming year.
OP/ED is meant to be a forum for open, honest discussion about the realities and opportunities in digital advertising. This year’s event was a huge success.
If you’re interested in being added to the invite list for next year’s summit, contact our events team at email@example.com.
Lorne Brown is CEO at Operative, delivering the world’s leading business management solutions for media companies. Lorne is focused on providing media companies with profitable advertising capabilities that scale across TV, digital, and more. Lorne was the founder and CEO of Operative, Inc., a digital advertising management company, which was acquired by SintecMedia, a TV ad and content management company, at the end of 2016. SintecMedia rebranded to Operative in 2018. Lorne's expertise in providing premium media companies with innovative, flexible business management solutions has helped in to grow the combined company from an outsourced ad ops provider to a global enterprise with products that traffic over $40 billion in digital advertising.
Previously, Lorne worked as Vice President of Sales and Operations at several financial services and technology companies, including BCJ Systems and Royal Blue Technologies, where he oversaw implementations and client partnerships for a web-based trading system. He took the workflow automation knowledge he gained from the finance world and brought it into digital media, creating the first real ad business management platform that spans the process from quote to cash.
Lorne has a degree in Finance and Management Information Systems from the State University of New York at Albany. You can find him on Twitter – @LorneBrown.