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By pretending to be underdogs against Google and Meta, national news organisations do smaller publishers dirty

Big Tech companies like Google wield vast amounts of power in their respective fields. But by casting themselves as underdogs against monolithic but amorphous ‘Big Tech’, news organisations are seemingly exculpated from any fault of their own.


Last week, the UK House of Lords held a meeting into ‘the future of news: impartiality, trust and technology’. During the session, representatives from News UK, DMG Media, Reach plc and others gave oral evidence into the impact of technology on media business models. Chris Sutcliffe listened in, and wasn’t impressed.

There were plenty of contradictions, not least that ‘the platforms’ are both so reliant on news content that they should pay compensation for its use, and simultaneously have such a lack of need for news content that they can simply stop including it at no cost to themselves.

As we’ve argued before on Media Voices, media businesses asking the government to legislate for direct payments from Google and Meta is nothing but a naked cash-grab from opportunistic news organisations. But that’s exactly what the idea that huge news organisations are the underdog empowers them to do.


Less is More (when it comes to programmatic)

How many ad placements should you put on a page? The more the better, some publishers think. Mark Alker ran some tests on his website and found this not to be the case…

If an ad pays a certain CPM, then displaying more ads on any given page will generate even more cash for the publisher, right? “The way we as publishers think we earn money from programmatic is wrong,” Mark Alker explains in this superb piece for InPublishing. He ran some tests in Q3 last year auditing every ad placement on Singletrackworld, and found that despite significantly decreasing ad positions, revenue actually stayed the same and CTRs increased.


Podcast companies see signs of an improved ad market in 2024

iHeartMedia, Spotify, SiriusXM and Acast reported year over year revenue growth in their podcast businesses in Q4 2023, noting signs of an improving ad market.

Apparently it’s ‘increased advertiser demand’ driving most of the growth in podcast revenue. Spotify and Acast are hoping the sunnier market outlook for 2024 will help both podcast businesses to reach profitability this year for the first time.


NYT, Axel Springer, Mediahuis share how brand guides subscription growth

News media companies are leveraging their strong brands to drive subscriptions.

An interesting read given this week’s podcast interview (below). The willingness of readers to pay for quality content is partly determined by brand perception, which is influenced by marketing. Not to forget, though, that quality journalism has to be the cornerstone.

More from Media Voices


The Economist’s Nada Arnot on why publishers should run more brand campaigns

Nada Arnot tells us about how the news-focused magazine is seeking to attract younger readers, and future plans for marketing The Economist.


Publisher Podcast and Newsletter Summit

We’re working on the agenda for our Podcast and Newsletter Summit in June. If you’ve got a case study or something you’d really like us to cover, tell us using this form.


Pitchfork was a corporate failure. But indie titles with attitude are still vital

Pitchfork’s absorption into GQ says more about Condé’s focus on the bottom line than it does about finding a sustainable future for passionate publishing.