Digital Innovation Digital Publishing
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The Must-Read Publishing Stories You May Have Missed May 3rd 2019

The Guardian turns a profit for the first time in 20 years, Twitter payments to publishers are up 60%, and more

The Guardian milestone should give us all cause for celebration

We talked last week about seeing silver linings in the digital business. But yesterday was a full burst of sunshine from behind the clouds as The Guardian announced that they had made a small operating profit for the first time in 20 years.

It follows a remarkable effort lead by David Pemsel and Katharine Viner to turn the business around after years of substantial losses. The achievement is all the more notable given the publisher’s unique position; it keeps its journalism outside a paywall, while asking readers to contribute to help subsidise its reporting.

Viner attributes the turnaround to listening carefully to reader’s input over the past three years to help ‘inform the creation of a business model in which our editorial independence remains paramount’ and which keeps the journalism ‘open and accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.’

The situation may still be fragile in terms of sustainability, but if The Guardian can turn it around, there’s hope for all of us.


What’s new this week

10 essential media stats from April 2019

Podcasting’s ascendancy, Apple’s monthly cloud spend, WPP’s Amazon ad spend, a mixed month for social media, UK digital ads hit record high, and just how much American teens love iPhones. This is the latest in our monthly series highlighting key developments from the past month.

Guardian turns a profit for the first time in 20 years, aided by record online traffic
Guardian News & Media recorded an £800,000 operating profit for the 2018-19 financial year – compared with a £57m loss three years previously.
Twitter shows healthy growth signs, and ad payments to publishers are up 60%
Shares in the social-networking company rose sharply after announcement of the earnings numbers, and Twitter’s stock price surged 16%. 
How publishers are innovating with content to entice and retain subscribers
“It’s valuable to be able to say to subscribers: ‘This is something we’re going to be working on over the course of the whole year. You should really stick around.’” 
Intelligent paywalls are helping publishers secure sustainable reader revenue
The success that The New York Times and The Washington Post have had with growing subscription revenues have encouraged several other publishers to place a value on their content.

Facebook Watch vs YouTube: Where you should invest your resources

Publishers with limited video production budgets find themselves asking the question: Facebook or YouTube? While crossing-posting videos to both platforms is an option, it’s difficult to create content that would cater to both Facebook and YouTube’s audiences.

NYT’s “Project Feels”: Mood analysis can be a powerful revenue generator for publishers
“Our predictions made sense qualitatively, and we ran successful experiments demonstrating that readers’ emotional response positively correlated with engagement on articles.” 
The value of awards as revenue and engagement drivers
While awards do add some additional workload for staff, they’re a bit of a no-brainer in terms of engagement, brand awareness and revenue. 
Ad spend on podcasts to reach $1.6B, and other highlights from the Global Ad Trends report
WARC’s latest Global Ad Trends – Podcasts report forecasts that global audio advertising spend on podcasts will reach $1.6B by 2022.
Browser offers 70% of ad revenue to users; profit share with publishers in the works
Brave, an ad-blocking browser launched in 2016 rolled out an update yesterday called Brave Ads that allows users to opt-in to view ads.
How will Google’s move to first price auctions impact publishers?
In an effort to simplify programmatic advertising Google has announced that it will transition their publisher inventory to a ‘first price auction’ for Google Ad Manager.
New York Times helps consumers decide where to draw the line on privacy
The New York Times set out to figure out how people report their comfort levels in terms of sharing different kinds of personal information.
Internet growth accelerates 9% compared to 2018, mobile users up by 100 million
New global insights from the Digital in 2019 report show internet penetration is accelerating. More than 360 million people came online for the first time in 2018.
Channels, conversions, and churn: Why better mobile UX is key for publishers
Mobile continues to dominate device-based engagement across the world, with between 55% and 60% of readers engaged through this channel, followed by desktop and tablet.
Native display ad spend to grow to $52.75 billion in 2020
Native formats have made significant inroads in channels like mobile apps, but there are still a lot of traditional display units being traded programmatically
With a projected 290% increase in ad revenue, is the future of podcasting in the ad business?
Podcast advertising revenue in the US is set to grow in the coming years and will only be helped by ad-tracking.

Download WNIP’s comprehensive new report—50 Ways to Make Media Pay—an essential read for publishers looking at the multiple revenue opportunities available, whether it’s to reach new audiences or double down on existing super-users. The report is free and can be downloaded here.

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