return Home

Maximising audience revenue

People’s increased passion for special interest activities and brands, specialist content and transformation strategies to diversify income streams are all part of growing revenue directly from audiences, says top media CEO’s. 

 

Maximising audience revenue panel ()

 

In a panel discussion, hosted by James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP on the first day of the 41st FIPP World Congress in London, contributors Marcus Rich, CEO of Time Inc. UK, Andria Vidler, CEO at Centaur Media UK and Kevin Costello, CEO of Haymarket UK shared their thoughts on how to draw revenue directly from audiences.

The panel of chief executives made the overwhelming point that in a competitive advertising climate, drawing revenues directly from audiences has seen their brands grow. However, their strategies for success differ.

People’s passions

Rich said at Time Inc the role of audience revenue played a significant role in growing income over the past couple of years. Part of this success is because  Time Inc. UK has built its business on audience passion. The Time Inc. titles serve customers who are “incredibly passionate about subjects beyond work”, whether this be cycling or sailing. Over time, especially with the rise of social media, people have become even more passionate about a variety of special interest activities for which they publish brands.

“The basis of our business is a deep understanding of those people and their passions and (for us) to work out where we have permission to extend our relationship with that customer, whether this stretches into events or e-commerce.”

Vidler said Centaur - a B2B media and marketing services business helping professionals improve their business performance with insight, information and events - proved that by focussing on what the customer need is, not only extended its revenues but also transformed the income model.  “Centaur was wholly reliant on advertising and sponsorships but will head into 2018 with about 80 per cent of revenues directly levied against products and services to the audience.”

Similarly, Haymarket’s entire recent transformation strategy was driven by the belief that the company needed to diversify its income streams, explained Costello. With a focus on both B2B and the consumer, only 37 per cent of income these days are derived from advertising, proving that the strategies embarked on around seven years ago to derive income from digital and other models like events have been successful.

Despite these successes barriers to transformation remain huge. Vidler said that at Centaur the entire business organisation was focused on monetising the audience reach. “We had to change that orientation by creating content that was highly valued by our readers and users. It had to become vital enough for people to be prepared to pay for it.” This has not only been challenging but also different for each brand within the Centaur business.

Vision, faith and belief

Costello said creating the plan and having a fresh vision for changing monetisation models is easy. “Transforming the culture is the really challenging difficulty…It’s resulted in us having to bring in a whole bunch of folks with a very different mixed set of skills.” He said of the new skills being employed now, at least 50 per cent of people have job titles that did not exist three years ago. It speaks to the reality that new talent within the company are challenged to fulfill new roles in a data driven analytical world. “As media owners and as an industry our single biggest challenge is that these people are very rare, pretty expensive and they need to see the media as an destination of choice - where they can thrive, survive and build out a future.”

Costello added that the key is not only vision, faith and belief but getting talent excited about it. “They work in an industry that is not a steady state. It is at the forefront of change. If you are excited about change and there are things you are going to do that even we don’t know we are going to do in six months from now, then it is an exciting place to be.”

According to Vidler, this state of flux and uncertainty does have its positives for talented people ready for change and challenge. “If you understand what your customers want and you move to a place where content can be delivered in any format, they will also trial things. And that is what you need because you don’t know where you are going to end up. It is not about moving into one new revenue stream, it is about moving from one format to another and continuing the ongoing conversation with the community you are talking to. You need teams to embrace these opportunities.”

 

More like this

Freedom should be at forefront of publishing – FIPP World Congress chairman

Charting a roadmap for the future: James Tye outlines blueprint for leaders

High-power panel discussed social media priorities

Pivoting to video, the Google, Facebook duopoly and other media challenges

  • The curious case of Google Reviews

    The Google Reviews platform is becoming an increasing headache for businesses, who are able to escape trolling on social media but not on the wider web. How has the search giant been able to cultivate such a monopoly over digital reputation? We look at the curious case of Google Reviews. 

    18th Oct 2018 Features
  • How India’s Worldwide Media went digital in only three years

    Miraculous growth in reach and income characterised the transformation of Worldwide Media in India from a print magazine publisher to a multi-platform, multi-income stream, media company. Delegates to the recent FIPP Asia conference in Wuhan, China, enjoyed an insight into how this was done in only three years when Deepak Lamba, chief executive officer, shared key aspects of this journey. 

    17th Oct 2018 Features
  • Alan Segal on CNN Digital's data and AI strategy

    Alan Segal is VP for audience and analytics at CNN Digital in the United States. He will speak at the 8th Data & AI for Media conference in London about how CNN Digital leverages data and AI to understand its audience and drive advertising revenue.

    15th Oct 2018 Features
  • Behind the Economist's new collaborative podcast with Slate

    Last month, The Economist announced a new podcast series, “The Secret History of the Future,” in partnership with US-based online magazine Slate. The 10-part audio series is presented by The Economist deputy editor Tom Standage and Slate senior editor Seth Stevenson. 

    15th Oct 2018 Features
Go to Full Site