Some Newspapers Do Better Than Others at Monetizing Digitally

The Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has published new research that takes newspapers to task for failing to monetize their digital assets quickly enough.

In essence, the research says that culture is the gating factor, and that some newspapers are way ahead of others in managing to reverse the decline in revenues that came from the slow decline in print newspaper reading:

… some papers are performing quite differently than the norm, some much better and some far worse. These variances suggest that the future of newspapers, rather than being determined entirely by sweeping trends, can be significantly affected by company culture and management-even at papers of quite different sizes.

Of the 38 papers that provided detailed data about their operations, not all were achieving growth in digital revenue. Seven of those studied suffered declines for the last year for which they had full data. One stayed the same year to year.

Beneath these broad numbers, however, are papers that buck the trend in significant ways and offer the idea that more can be achieved. One paper studied saw digital ad revenue grow 63% and print grow 8% in the last full year for which it had data. Another paper registered a gain of 50% in digital advertising.

We are the advertising technology provider for some of the newspapers that have done the best at switching to a digital revenue model. It has been our experience that newspapers must experiment with different forms of advertising beyond traditional above the fold display ads. In fact, recently Google announced that it was going to downgrade the search results of sites that placed too much advertising at the top of the site, before the reader could get to the content.

We have been able to help them produce incremental revenue. Like Comscore, we think that above the fold and below the fold are history. We help publishers create and monetize impressions that are in-view. Ie. create and sell impressions that we know the users see. But most important, our new InView ad formats, focused on any advertiser’s new metric of “viewable impressions” have been measured by Comscore’s AdXpose at 99% in-view.

We are constantly fine tuning our product development efforts to help our publisher partners make more money. While we can’t change the internal culture at a newspaper, once it has decided to embrace different digital revenue models, we are right there waiting to help.

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