On Wednesday, June 14th, SintecMedia President Lorne Brown moderated ‘The Playbook for Surviving & Thriving in the Platform Era’ session at VideoNuze’s 2017 Online Video Advertising Summit. He was joined by Jarrod Dicker, Head of Commercial Product and Technology at Washington Post; Paul Marcum, President of Truffle Pig; and Michael Shane, Global Head of Digital Innovation at Bloomberg LP.
A little background: Publishers already see how Google and Facebook have taken over digital advertising, with their sights now set on TV and video advertising budgets. Up against these and other popular platforms like Snapchat’s massive reach and precise targeting, video content providers are not only competing with them, but realize that to be successful, they need to partner with them while maintaining control of their business.
This session was a full house as the audience of publishers was keen to hear successful tips the panelists used to survive and make revenue in this new platform era. Lorne started the session off by asking the panel, “Why should a publisher have a platform strategy?” Jarrod stressed that it was important for Washington Post to embrace platforms because they need to have an opinion. Having a platform gets your opinion out there in a proactive way —and publishers will miss out on opportunities not having one. Furthermore, Michael felt that publishers are actually missing out on new audiences if they do not have a platform strategy. Bloomberg’s priority in platform decisions came down to three things: 1) what’s going to grow valuable audience, 2) engagement, and 3) revenue. If those three items weren’t checked off the list, it wasn’t worth it for Bloomberg to invest time and energy into that platform. Paul, who advises publishers on social platforms at Truffle Pig, noted that challenges include that they might be ahead of where that platform is going to value their content.
On embracing platforms, Michael explained that Bloomberg takes a long-term approach when evaluating different platforms. For example, Bloomberg is launching a 24-hour digital news network with Twitter later this year. This is more than just a distribution deal for them because they are using their data to build new ad products and create news content. Of course, this platform deal presents a new revenue stream for Bloomberg — which is another reason why publishers should look to partner with platforms. Jarrod from Washington Post agreed, even going one step further and stating that platforms have pushed publishers to come up with their own revenue, R&D, and infrastructure models. And Paul stressed that in order to embrace platforms, publishers must educate themselves on the platform and be clear on the cost of customer acquisition. In other words, don’t rush onto a platform without understanding it; be clear on what success is going to look like for you.
Other tidbits shared during this session included the following:
- On monetization: Platforms present publishers with a unique opportunity to create a new revenue stream.
- On video: Media companies are bringing more and more video to the market. Platforms provide an opportunity to showcase these videos and bring a new audience to publishers.
- On data: Data is a publisher’s most valuable asset. It is unique and something the competition cannot offer. Publishers should think of data as a way to inform their monetization strategy.
- On advice to publishers: Investing in the user experience will never hurt the publisher.
- On Google and Facebook: Doing business with Facebook and Google is like playing poker. Keep emotions out of it and think about the ROI. Think about the big picture.
In conclusion, publishers should not shun platforms. Use platforms as an opportunity for new revenue streams and as a way to build a stronger audience. Co-existing with platforms is critical to growth — but educate yourself on which platform works best for your audience. Facebook and Google are not your enemy — partner with them to help your bottom line.
We hope you enjoyed this recap of our June session at VideoNuze. You can watch the panel discussion here. If you are interested in attending any of our upcoming hosted events, or speaking at any of our events in the future, please let us know.