Interest-based publishing has flourished for decades, spanning across publishing and broadcast platforms, connecting with discrete audiences. However, the rise of the internet brought low barriers to entry and increased the ease of self-publishing, creating a fragmented ecosystem. As more and more ad spend moved to digital, marketers had to turn to scaled solutions because buying disparate audiences became inefficient.
As a result, social media platforms became the go-to solution for marketers because they offer wide reach at a relatively low price. And in order to compete, digital publishers have to produce sufficient inventory to offset the discounts on “sellable” inventory that have become industry practice.
This is a Herculean feat for today’s publishers because the cost of producing professional editorial is far greater than for the user-generated content that dominates platforms. Social media networks, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are garnering the lion’s share of ad impressions and revenue, squeezing out the specialised publishers that produce content for enthusiasts. And this pursuit of efficient scale may stifle the voices of independent publishers and their communities.