Aswin Sridhar, global head of Economist Digital Products Revenue
We compete with everyone from the New York Times to Buzzfeed, to the extremely talented piano-playing cat on YouTube.
Our job is to maintain the captive attention of our readers from a product perspective. We can then package that up for advertisers. But the challenge is to single out what the product proposition should be for readers. Is it the same long-form content you have on desktop; is it repackaged; or a totally different product? Many publishers have created responsive sites, then just stuck a load of ads on there. But I’m not sure responsive sites are the solution. It needs to be more than that because that’s what people expect.
Noelia Fernandez Arroyo, managing director of business development and digital transformation, Spanish publisher Prisa
We need to reduce the advertising clutter. That will bring value to the users and the advertisers. There has to be space for high quality advertising, both through targeting and through great creative. There has to be a good balance between what small niche audiences are willing to pay for as well as users who are comfortable with advertising experiences. We have not very mature product experiences and overwhelming ad impact. That’s the risk of ad blocking. Consumers are faster and smarter than us. If we’re not giving them value, they’ll turn it off.
Alan Hunter, head of digital at The Times and The Sunday Times
The advertising side of mobile is a massive problem, because everyone is competing against the scale of Facebook both for audience and mobile spend.
We are wrapping mobile into our core subscription packages. While the world is moving to mobile, we think there is a lot of life still in print, tablet and desktop. A point which often gets ignored is that there are an awful lot of people that are not millennials, and they will be around longer and are the richest generation in history. So there is still a huge opportunity there. But balancing that with the importance of mobile growth is important.
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