In our research into Publisher needs it became very clear that there was a demand from our Members to be able to explore revenues beyond advertising at a collective level. The goals for the AOP are to create a platform for Members to share their different approaches: what is working, what isn’t, what are the barriers, how can they be overcome, what do we need from the industry and how can we generate progress?
Our first workshop was a deep dive on ecommerce. Pete Wootton, MD at Dennis Digital, brought a case study on Buyacar that very openly (but under agreement that sensitive information would not leave the room) shared the progress, pitfalls and success that has been achieved.
Whilst Buyacar is currently a unique example of Publisher investment in owned ecommerce, many members are exploring the area with different models varying from sophisticated affiliate programs, to owned ecommerce. The discussion went into the essential difference vs advertising in that this revenue stream delivers high revenues per event from a small amount of people as contrasted to the ad model which delivers low revenues per event from a large amount of people - and how this changed the way Dennis integrated product was working.
Whilst the discussion went into great depth on the challenges and opportunities our Members face, the key lesson was that an integrated team with an overview of all brands and control of investment decisions is in the best position to define the right innovation and implementation of growth projects. If you want to see into some of that detail, publisher Members may request the minutes and actions of the meeting.
The group agreed that there was a need to continue sharing and exploring how Members can innovate for growth. The discussion continued at the Convention, with additional insights from Benedicte Autret from Google and Zack Sullivan from Future.
This session exemplified another theme of the convention, in contrast to a vein of negative PR in the industry, publishers are managing complexity, defying conventions and dynamically innovating new brands, new models and new approaches that deliver growth. Maybe the future is tough but it’s also bright.
The clear message from Pete Wootton and Zach Sullivan was that innovation and entrepreneurial spirit need to be embedded in the organisation but that it can be done in very different ways. Benedict Autret also offered the support of Google’s innovation facilitators to AOP Members as a further area for exploration which we will follow up on.
The two key areas for AOP focus are -
1) Encouraging and supporting innovation
2) Exploring the many and complex revenue streams beyond advertising (and their interrelated nature)