One theme that came out loud in and clear, to me at least, from the panel on the internationalization of media brands that I ran at OPA this morning is this:
Top brands with international traffic should be banding together to sell that traffic and audience as a group. No one of them has successfully and fully exploited the value of this audience now and, as Martin Nisenholtz of the NY Times pointed out, each of those audiences is relatively small. But together, I say, they represent a powerful, smart readership. I’ve suggested this in the past to the UK brands: Guardian, Telegraph, Times, even the BBC outside the UK. At today’s panel, Chris Ahearn of Reuters — which just agreed to represent ad sales for the Guardian in the U.S. (full disclosure: a introduction I helped make) — said that all these brands are undersold. Of course, there’s self-interest there: Reuters would be happy to sell them. But I do think there’s potential there.
Later: From Jemima Kiss’ report (blogging from the front row):
The BBC’s sanction of advertising on its international website BBC.com was “enormous state-funded intervention in the international news advertising market”, the Guardian’s director of digital content warned today.
BBC.com was beginning to impact on international news sites as UK web publishers moved to monetise their overseas audiences, Guardian News & Media’s director of digital content, Emily Bell, told the Online Publishers Association conference in London.
“The BBC funds the biggest online news site in the world,” she said.
“It will be interesting to see how the New York Times and everyone else reacts. This is not our problem – it is everyone’s problem.
“The BBC is going to be an enormous state-funded intervention in the international new ad market.” . . .
Bell said today that advertising inventory on Comment is Free, the Guardian’s discussion site, was fully sold out because advertisers want to reach its audience of high-end, opinion formers.
Get that: ads sell out on a site with interactivity.