Advertising Digital Publishing
5 mins read

Reach PLC’s Terry Hornsby discusses the value of the open internet to advertisers with Lotame’s Chris Hogg

Over the past two years publishers have rightly been shouting about the power of their first party data. Understandably, that’s led to many becoming protective of the data that underpins this rediscovered strength – but instead of building up walls, many are doubling down on collaboration within the industry. Rather than simply hoarding that data, publishers are looking for ways to work with marketers to enhance their understanding of the consumer.

This special Conversations episode of Media Voices discusses the importance of an open web to advertisers, the realities of our new cookie-less world and how identity solutions add value to the entire ecosystem. To discuss all that, Chris Sutcliffe is joined by Terry Hornsby, Digital Solutions Director at Reach PLC, and Chris Hogg, EMEA Managing Director at Lotame.

See the full transcript here, or highlights below:

How walled gardens have impacted publisher’s thinking on advertising

Terry Hornsby: [Walled gardens] have got the unique ability to be able to change the trend of the ecosystem, and that’s something that publishers on their own generally can’t do. But also the walled gardens are some of the biggest demand sources for publishers as well. So you’re always conflicted in terms of, you like them, you hate them, you go through a love hate relationship regularly. And generally some of the walled gardens as well do provide genuine tools for publishers to use.

We do pride ourselves in producing quality premium content and that is costly. We obviously, as publishers, we’d all like more funding and revenue for that, and to be able to produce more of that content. And some of these platforms don’t have to necessarily do that, because they obviously use the content that we produce.

But again, I think they are over recent times, they are becoming more partners in the ecosystem than dominating.

Fairness within the ecosystem

Chris Hogg: I think everyone would be in agreement that the internet needs to be privacy-first, and we need to put the consumer at the heart of that. I guess one of the biggest challenges at the moment is around who’s the gatekeeper of the internet, and who’s the gatekeeper around privacy?

I’m a very strong believer in the open Internet, that the open web, it was created for all and everyone should be able to have access to the internet. But also everyone should be able to create businesses and have a fair advantage to actually thrive within those ecosystems as well.

And I think if businesses are putting consumers first and it is privacy compliant, I struggle a little bit with the notion of big tech companies becoming the gatekeeper of that, and sitting in between the publisher and their customer, or in between the brand and their customer.

Are publishers ready to take advantage of a cookie-less ecosystem?

Terry Hornsby: It will depend on the publisher. I think there are very clear publishers that have got routes to success in that part. And then also there are the open publishers that say, ‘Look, we don’t know just yet.’

Lots of publishers are looking around registered users, and that’s a big strategy for us. And it has been and we are being successful in it and producing really good products that people can register for.

But also, that’s not just the only answer, right? The answer is to look at partners, look at partnerships around that we can do and as a conglomerate as publishers, we should get together and discuss it, work with each other on it, because it’s not a unique problem to one publisher. It’s a problem that’s going to arise in the industry as a whole. So we’re only going to solve it together.

Bringing identity back to the individual

Chris Hogg: One of the challenges that we faced with third party cookies is, third party cookies is very much looked at a device. And I think the internet is moving through identity away from a device to actually to people based.

I think there will be a number of different IDs that come into play, whether they sit on the authenticated side of the internet, or whether they sit on the open side of the internet in terms of looking at signals.

But identity and and being able to treat a person like a person is going to be key for success, not only tracking, targeting, for attribution, etc. but also for privacy.

Being transparent when implementing new solutions

Terry Hornsby: I think you can be fully open with people. The hardest challenge for us and for them is to understand the full capabilities of what we need to be able to produce the content that they love.

From a local level, we have brands that are trusted. And if you have brands that are trusted, I guess that conversation is easier. I think publishers that don’t normally talk to their users, and really take these users for granted, they’re going to have a challenge.

But for us, the customer is key to us. They are the ones that consume our content. They’re the ones that allow us to produce that content every day. So it’s about explaining to them, and not over complicating it for people, and also just trying to be clear on what we really need from them to be able to produce the content they need.

Collaboration versus competition in the industry

Chris Hogg: Some people are in the camp that everyone should become a walled garden, and lock down their data assets without an identity play through. Then you’ve got the other side of the market that thinks, ‘Actually, we need the internet open to all, and we need to have lots of collaboration.’

In terms of newspapers, we’ve been seeing it for a number of years now, publishers coming together to actually offer a larger audience to combat against the size of the audiences for the walled gardens. Ozone’s is a great example of that, you’ve got 1XL is another example of that. You’ve got big publishing groups that can also do that on their own, like Reach. They are a co-op of publishers themselves.

So I think we’re going to see a little bit more of that. I think some of the smaller publishers are obviously going to want to align themselves with some of the larger publishers.


This episode of Media Voices is sponsored by Lotame, a leading provider of data enrichment solutions for global enterprises. Lotame’s connected and patented data technologies, curated second- and third-party data exchanges, and high-touch customer service make us the trusted choice for marketers, agencies and media companies that want to build a panoramic view of their customers and activate across the cookieless web, mobile app and OTT environments. Lotame serves its global clients with offices in New York City, Columbia MD, Argentina, London, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney.

Learn more about Lotame, or find them on Twitter and Linkedin.

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