Ads And Business Pubs: Who's Winning?

Online Advertising Forum:
Peter Horan, CEO, IAC Media & Advertising
Rob Norman, CEO, GroupM
Gloria Scoby, SVP/Group Publisher, Crain Communications
Tad Smith, CEO Reed Business

Is ad business growing or shrinking? Tad Smith: Revenues are up, but unclear whether overall profits are. Lots of pressure on top line, and companies are investing heavily in online initiatives. Rob Norman: Since I’m a media buyer, and I was never in direct mail and other oldline industries, that’s an easy question — it’s growing.

Who’s figuring out how to use search? This can mean a lot of things, so consensus on panel is: All of us. Tad: If you’re trying to improve results right now, better to hire three editors or three search engineers? Right now, you’ll get better return with the engineers. Gloria: Ditto. When budgeting, our pubs willing to trade an edit slot for in exchange for a search expert.

What about video? Who’s figured that out? Rob: We like video – no shock there. But no one’s figured out how to make work yet. Huge demand, completely off the charts. But expensive 30-sec ads won’t work. We need super-cheap, super short ads.

An interesting question for Rob Norman: Are people asking for engagement/”time spent” buys instead of cost-per-transaction or a standard CPM? Yes. Depends on buyer and platform: “Integration” v. “Tonnage”. Former better for brands and the likes of Portfolio, whereas latter better for transactional stuff/CPC.

Our fan Donna Bogatin wants to know who’s going to pay for professional writers: Peter Horan: Depends. In some cases they’re not going to get paid — reviews, for instance, may make more sense as UGC. We’ll probably overcorrect in terms of cheap and unpaid content, then swing back a bit toward a happy medium – some stuff written by pros, others by the masses. Tad Smith: Particularly in business media, we have far too many resources going to rewrite press releases. That’s all commodity, and low to zero value. Value will be for differentiated content. [We agree].

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