It’s about aggregation

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 was “enormous state-funded intervention in the international news advertising market”, the Guardian’s director of digital content warned today. 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.

  • Banding together is a bad way to run a business, particularly when they are so many other ways to create revenues off content that already exists – whether it be on-demand, user-created books from pre-existing content (or company-design books around selling seasons) to building databases and APIs that open up information to the public…

    The long term solution isn’t finding a better way to sell a banner. Smart netizens haven’t seen a banner in years (thank you AdBlock). Smart companies like eBay, Amazon and :gulp: Apple realize the money — the real money — is in selling products, things, stuff you can hold or use.

    Newspapers can do that digitally as well — if they begin to think outside the (computer) box.

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  • bittorrent

    The BBC isn’t ‘state funded’ it is funded by members of the public through a TV licence. If you have a TV you pay the licence fee and it is far better value than companies that have ads and shareholders.

    It works out at about $5.30 per week. Tell me that’s a bad deal for all the ad-free BBC TV channels and radio stations.

    Any money the BBC makes from international advertising revenue, goes back into prgramme making, there is no profit and there are no shareholders. Which means more programmes for UK viewers for less money.

    So Emily Bell, please explain how that is a bad deal for the British public. I think you mean it is a bad deal for The Guardian, which can’t even get a decent Flash player on its website yet, and other vested interests.