I've been thinking about this issue a lot lately.
Where does a publishers value lie? In their audience ... or in their content?
This 2007 article from Clickz talks about it in more depth - http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3626145
It comes down to this - how will media firms prove the value of their brands to advertisers when asking higher CPMs on their own properties?
We're seeing rate cards increase this quarter - but interestingly enough there hasn't been a huge amount of rationale behind these increases.
The Clickz article touches on two schools of thought ...
Thought 1: "Many media sellers and observers stress, when selling placements on branded publisher sites, the value proposition is not about the content per se. Rather, it's in the audience attracted to those sites by that content"
Thought 2: Shawn Riegsecker, chairman and CEO of local media planning and buying service, Centro, isn't so sure the audience is where a media brand's equity lies. "That audience that visits your site is the same audience that visits Yahoo….It's not the audience, it's the environment," he told ClickZ News. "The challenge to the publishers is to make sure the experience and the environment when someone reads a story on their site is a vast improvement to the experience on a portal."
Personally I think it's probably a mix of the two ... but I think moving forward there is more value in the second school of thought - and there will be a much better definition of 'content' - and what 'content' advertisers want to be associated with.
Locally, the publisher world are good at selling audience - big numbers, we have x% of ABs, we have x% of 14-17yo, 24% of GBs visit us weekly ... all great figures ... but hardly differentiators and hardly reasons why marketers will choose your site over another.
Much of what we're trying to achieve is reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message in the right context. Yes, context is vital. Context in terms of the content but also in terms of the brands surrounding yours.
Yes Facebook can allow me to target curly haired bocce players who live in Eltham and drive a Vespa ... but if there's only 1 of him then it's futile. Likewise, Facebook might allow me to target GBs with kids who are interested in skin care - but if my ad is running next to a Lavalife or RSVP in my opinion it devalues the whole equation.
I like to use the below when looking to value an opportunity ...
Targeted audience + Focused editorial + Specific, relevant ads + Interested readers = Integrated community
What do you think is important when looking at value?