Why News Media Need to Ally on Advertising Sales

Quietly, almost surreptitiously, News UK, The Telegraph and The Guardian joined forces in ad sales. The Telegraph dropped out initially, but has come back to the table. This follows from 1XL in the UK that has already seen several newspapers align and is, seemingly, doing rather well.
They’re Selling Your Inventory Anyway
Google and Facebook are already selling news media companies inventory, as are all the other programmatic middlemen out there. And the inventory gets consistently devalued on the supply side (the publishers), while the Duopoly and the AdTech companies make increasingly more profits.
The Technology Isn’t Expensive
The platform technology to coordinate the inventory and set prices between allies already exists. It’s really just an inventory management system. A constantly shifting database. The time to implement can be just a few months once the basic terms are agreed. Such a system can be deployed in the Cloud, no massive infrastructure costs for either of the parties. An agile DevOps approach would mean a faster deployment and easier ongoing management. Mobile? Easy to integrate.
It’s A Win-Win-WIn-Lose
Advertisers can gain broader reach and better targeted reach and have the ability to A/B test within a network that can provide better analytics to them helping them tighten their ad budgets and thus become more loyal to publishers. The publisher wins because they get higher margins, meaning less cuts to newsrooms and stopping the bleeding. The consumer wins because they get higher quality journalism. The Portals, the Duopoly lose, but then that’s the point.
The challenge of course, rests with the desire and ability of various publications to come together and find that path forward. There’s no shortage of details to get there and strong agreements need to be put in place. But whenever there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s time for news media companies to take back what they surrendered, though not willingly.

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