Publishers are often faced with a dreary forecast of their industry’s future. But as we move into 2014 there is a growing sense that a change for the better is in the air. Here’s five reasons media owners should be cautiously optimistic and raise half-full glasses to the New Year.
1. 2013 was actually a rather good year
The Digital Publishers Revenue Index Report (DPRI) revealed digital revenues were up 18% YOY in the UK, with income from online video up 33%. It’s a positive sign on the direction of the industry, and a hit to naysayers who criticize the digital monetisation opportunity.
2. The online publishing world has found its feet
When online first became mainstream, many publishers had a knee-jerk reaction to copy offline models. Paywalls replicated the historic practice of buying a paper in the local newsagent. MPUs and banner ads are slightly more dynamic than their print counterparts but they largely replicate the print advertising sales model. But today, publishers are increasingly beginning to embrace online, taking advantage of the different formats available and making the most of new opportunities. With ever less harking back to offline models in 2014, the industry is finding itself increasingly at ease with the digital landscape.
3. Digital provides the potential to reach larger audiences than ever before
The IDC estimated that 190 million tablets would be sold in 2013. While there may have been a decline of print magazine and newspaper readerships, more people than ever before are ready to pick up their tablets and read their favourite publications online. 2014 offers the opportunity for publishers to take advantage of the mobile boom, expand their audiences internationally and earn more from advertising
4. Increasing investment
The IAB tracked huge increases in online ad spend last year, with the online video sector growing by almost 100% and mobile video ad spend registering a staggering 1260% growth in the UK. This historic trend is likely to continue as advertisers plan their online budgets over the coming 12 months. More ad dollars means more revenue for media owners and looking ahead to 2014 the odds are in the publishing industry’s favour.
5. Fresh new monetisation opportunities
Fulfilling the demand for online advertising can be a problem for publishers. Is it possible to grow ad revenue without turning the page into a mess of disruptive adverts? At some point there just isn’t enough space. Non-IAB standard formats are a solution and these are becoming ever more readily available. Video ad selectors which can be used in place of paywalls, display formats which sit on unused page space and native ads which merge seamlessly with editorial, all allow publishers to earn incremental revenue, without losing any of their standard advertising income. It’s a win win situation.
We can all agree the publishing industry has faced some tough times in the last few years. But tides are turning and the odds are stacking up in favour of the publishing industry. With more brands fighting over premium ad placements, power is increasingly returning to the hands of publishers. Here’s to 2014.