I keep reading that if media owners put their content behind paywalls, then advertising revenues will suffer. The theory, I guess, is that fewer people will access the content, and so the value to the advertiser will decrease. But people have always paid for good content, and advertisers have always targeted subscribers, whether that content is a game, news, or a glossy magazine. What they pay to access it on, is – or should be – irrelevant. An active, engaged subscriber is surely worth more to an advertiser than an anonymous ‘eyeball’.
Tablets are already changing the way we consume, and pay for, content. Not quickly enough to save Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only paper The Daily (which closed in December), but enough to increase the chances of success for already-established media brands. A study from Pew Research into news consumption in the US shows that while print news may be in decline, online and mobile news is on the up. We still read, but in a different format.
Of course, there are variables: media owners are still working to get their pricing and subscription models right, toying with ‘all you can eat’ deals, and figuring out whether one subscriber needs access on more than one platform. Getting it right takes a shift in thinking and requires great content that consumers want to pay for.
Despite these challenges, there is huge potential in tablet advertising, both for media owners and advertisers. We know that more people click on tablet ads than on mobile or digital banners. The size of a tablet is ideal for full-screen interactive ads, and the quality of the graphics and images you can create is better than on any other device. The audience is growing, too: tablet sales will hit 172.4 million units in 2013 (IDC) and 655 million units in 2016 (Gartner).