Digital Content Monetization Discussed at UK Conference

MoMe15 covers digital content monetization from all angles, including subscriptions, consumer data, mobile, and the future of web advertising

Just think if you could take a master class on digital content monetization with executives from the likes of The Economist, Hearst, Salesforce, and The Guardian.

Well, if you were in London last week, you could have, by attending the Monetising Media conference event, which, like our Mequoda Intensives and Summits, brings together publishing professionals to take stock of the industry and give shape to its future with presentations, best practices, workshops, and more.

If, like us, you weren’t able to make it last week, luckily, The Media Briefing has it covered. Let’s take a look at what they learned, so that we can learn from it!

The Economist on the Superiority of Freemium Strategy

Economist Vice President of Digital Solutions Robin Raven believes apps are a waste of time and paywalls for online content are misguided, The Media Briefing reports.

“My first recommendation is – don’t build an app. I’m serious. This is direct from Benedict Evans … his rule of thumb is ‘if your brand is not big enough for your user to want to put on their home screen of their mobile phone, don’t build an app,’” Raven said at MoMe15.

“If you genuinely believe an app can be a self-sustaining funnel, marketing-wise, and make some revenue, then you’re probably a games company. You might be a very high-end publisher that’s going to do in-app purchases and so on. For us, almost all of our apps are in the funnel of a subscription to the Economist. Everything tries to drive back to a subscription at the Economist.”


“Freemium, in my opinion, is the only way to go. I fundamentally disagree with [The Times’ hard paywall]. I think it’s insane. You need to be able to get your content out there and people need to be able to sample it,” Raven said.

“What we’re trying to do is build habit-forming products. The most engaging apps out there are habit forming products. … I think this is an incredibly exciting time. It is exponentially easier to reach an audience that is larger than you could have ever imagined fifteen years ago. And if you focus on that quality in product then the opportunities are there.”

Hearst on Mobile Digital Content Monetization

Hearst Vice President of Strategy and Product Management Lee Wilkinson advises publishers to know your audience, master the changes in distribution methods, and emphasize quality content to better monetize mobile, The Media Briefing reports.

Salesforce on Data-Driven Publishing

The “Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Driving 1:1 Relationships in Media” session at Monetising Media featured Salesforce Global Director of Media Solutions Steve Sobel focusing on consumer data, The Media Briefing reports. The key is personalize and engage with, for instance, events. Sobel told conference goers that data analysis is a worthy investment regardless of the cost.

The Guardian on Digital Advertising Trends

Finally, Guardian Global Revenue Director Tim Gentry feels that publishers were short-sighted when it came to ad gains, and now they’re paying the price with ad blocking programs and viewability concerns, The Media Briefing reports. But he also believes the trend can be reversed if publishers come together to improve the process.

“The option to provide native advertising that is served via the CMS rather than ad-tech. It should – til the adblockers catch up – allow a way for advertisers to communicate with the audience. This solution doesn’t really harness the opportunities that exist around audience data,” Gentry said.

“No one part of the industry can offer a solution, it has to be a collaborative effort from all of us. We saw the IAB announce LEAN, but it’s fundamentally about providing the user with a lighter faster experience and a code of practice we can adhere to. … We need a change of focus, on value rather than cost.”

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