HuffPost CEO Jimmy Maymann: ‘A great year for digital media’

From his seat at the head of a media outlet that’s “growing on all fronts,” Maymann recently sat down with Digiday to discuss the past year in digital media and what it spells for 2015. Some key takeaways: Publishers need to stop worrying and learn to love programmatic; the digital media spend-to-eyeball gap remains a challenge for publishers; and if you thought digital video’s moment was this year, just wait until 2015. 


Was this a good year or a bad year for digital media?

It’s been a great year for digital media. It’s growing on all fronts.

But with declining CPMs, is the digital publishing model sustainable?

Are CPMs declining? Our CPMs have grown this year. Of course, all the display stuff is moving to programmatic or private marketplaces. But at the same time, you have some content formats that are selling at much higher CPMs: Branded content, native advertising and the dark horse, the video unit. When we look at our blended CPMs, it’s been on the rise in 2014, even though we’ve seen a shift in some of our inventory in private marketplaces and programmatic.

As a publisher, are you afraid of that shift to programmatic?

A lot of people are afraid of everything going to programmatic, thinking it’s going to drive down prices. Not necessarily. Private marketplaces are delivering pretty good CPMs, because they’re allowing advertisers to get access to premium audiences in an automated way. And that gives us time to invest in the premium formats: native ads, branded content solutions, video, all things that will drive up the blended CPMs. I’m very excited by that shift out of the right-hand rail and into the content section.

What’s the biggest problem with the digital media landscape today?

It’s the eyeball-to-spend gap. Online media has around 30 percent of the eyeballs. But online media spending isn’t there yet, which means that advertisers are still spending money the old way. Eventually, the money will follow the eyeballs, because if you’re not investing where the eyeballs are, you’re not doing a great job of investing your money. But that’s a challenge for publishers today.

Read the rest of this interview at Digiday.

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