CRUNCH 2.1; ‘Publisher Alliances for Ad Revenue and Beyond’ was an immensely successful event with one of the largest turnouts in AOP history – confirmation that the topic was something for which the industry craved deeper insight.
The event was structured in standard CRUNCH formation; a series of presentations from Damon Reeve (CEO, The Ozone Project), Stephane Dugelay (CEO, mediarithmics), Stuart Coleman (VP of Sales, Infosum), followed by a panel discussion including Dom Perkins (Digital Advertising Strategy Director, Immediate Media), Hannah Buitekant (Commercial Director, Mail Metro Media) and again, Damon Reeve, moderated by Dilip Shukla (Head of Content, AOP).
Inevitably there were opinions from both sides of the argument as to whether essentially, Publisher Alliances do or do not work - sparking interesting debate from both the panel and the audience.
One of the main points to come out of CRUNCH 2.1 was the idea that data lies at the centre of a strong alliance – an issue of this being that a Publisher rich in qualitative data may not want to share their stream with another publisher who may not hold the same data. But it seems the time to combat this is now; publishers should trust one another and unite as soon as possible to become a collective force against industry issues.
Buitekant, representing the Mail, argued that the industry needs to prioritise solving transparency, brand safety and data leakage far more than it needs an alliance, in order to prevent issues further down the line.
Coleman of Infosum added an interesting angle; agile data mapping between Publishers would provide all benefits of an alliance but none of the restrictions and costs. He went on to explain that Publisher Alliances have been attempting to tackle the wrong problems all together – “The single identifier needs to be solved”, to which Perkins agreed; “it’s an urgent priority”.
Perkins added that Immediate Media are calling on Publishers to join them now – it’s time to map data as a proof of concept to create the identifier. He feels there’s also a huge focus on mapping the users across properties to match logins to other data points and enhance all revenue streams from ads, to subs, to e-commerce and beyond.
In order to move forward, Reeve (The Ozone Project) believes that Publishers must stop the scraping of data from inventory, and whilst this will put pressure on agency data models, it will also create opportunity with clients direct.
The resounding opinion in the room when Crunch 2.1 ended was that Publisher Alliances can succeed – data has and always will play a huge part in first enabling an alliance and, secondly, in the success of the alliance moving forward.
The attendees seemed hopeful that as of today (14/03/2019), the future looked a little brighter for the publishing industry – now is a time for people to collaborate, to trust one another with their data and essentially to form alliances in order to beat the threats that are ever-prominent across the publishing landscape.
Publisher alliances are not just for the large media owners, smaller publishers can too create significant benefit across the industry. If we as an industry collaborate our knowledge and data streams, we can achieve more than we thought possible.
One thing that has and always will be at the forefront for the AOP, is a commitment to delivering tangible change against key requirements outlined by our members – with no exception for those made at CRUNCH 2.1.