Publishers in pursuit of digital revenue growth work on two basic revenue models, selling access to audiences and selling access to content. Fortune‘s reading of IAB’s recent estimate that digital ad revenue grew by over 20% last year to $72.5 billion is good news for those in this business. But as they continue, the “bad news” is that “virtually all of the growth in digital ad spending went to Google and Facebook.” While IAB offered some additional context for their numbers, the bottom line is that publishers seeking digital growth would do well to also consider their other path to digital growth, their premium content.
Is there oxygen in the room for publishers seeking digital revenue growth?
At BIA/Kelsey’s LOCAL IMPACT: Los Angeles on June 7, our keynoter Dave Gehring, CEO/Founder of RelayMedia, see the calculus for this challenge very clearly. He’s got a 360 degree POV having done stints with Google, The Guardian and SmithGeiger. His new start-up, RelayMedia is meant to realize his vision of, “vision of breaking open the digital marketplace and restoring publisher control over distribution and monetization.” Essentially, he argues that while publishers should continue to seek incremental digital revenue growth by selling audiences (and via third party platforms targeted audience extensions), there is significant unrealized revenue potential in selling their premium content as well.
Gehring’s realization is that what stands between premium publishers and digital revenue growth are key points of friction that can be reduced significantly. In his keynote address, he’ll argue for, “a universal syndication standard that can enable the efficient and scaled distribution of quality content across the open web.” He’ll also address, “the economic incentives to favor quality content over low value, click-bait or fraudulent content.”
Gehring and his team at RelayMedia are building out his vision using Google’s AMP platform and two key products to monetize AMP-enabled content and also to monetize external linking rather than just seeing this traffic leave the publisher’s platform and any promise of revenue. He’s got a fascinating perspective, some unique operating experience and the kind of fertile imagination that’s a bit infectious. He makes you scratch you head and say, “that makes sense, why didn’t I think of that.”