Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Media: "Spiegel Online CEO Jesper Doub on the pivot to consumer revenue, the duopoly and privacy regulations"

From Digiday, January 12:
Jesper Doub, CEO of publisher Spiegel Online, believes the time is right to create a subscriptions model. In a recent conversation, Doub discussed Spiegel’s reader-revenue strategy, the ePrivacy Regulation and the duopoly’s power. Our conversation has been edited and condensed.

What’s your view on publishers turning to reader-revenue models?
We’re seeing a dramatic shift in revenue streams. The traditional display ad business is stalling, and programmatic bidding tends to drive prices down. One option is to reshape our ad business and ensure there are new, attractive ad packages which prioritize brand safety, not just reach. We also see a window of opportunity opening for us to access more reader revenue. We believe in the future of subscription models and are developing a paid content model, called Spiegel+ Reloaded.

Is your paid digital newspaper experiment Spiegel Daily part of that strategy?
It’s a small test in that direction. Spiegel Daily is like a live lab environment for us, but one which we can earn money from. It’s a new product that doesn’t relate to our free-access website, [or to] our print magazine or its digital copy. We wanted to test a paid digital product using Google AMP technology, which wasn’t an app, so that the platforms wouldn’t end up taking a share. The product isn’t quite where it should be yet in terms of numbers, but we’ve had great uptake, learned a lot and had positive surprises in the sales process.

What are the biggest concerns regarding the duopoly in the German media market?
We have a huge debate around the power of the duopoly. Different media companies are taking different approaches to how they want to tackle that and work with the platforms. But there’s a lot of politics involved — if you live in an ecosystem that changes a lot you must adapt, not just cry for others to bring back the good old times. We need to find ways to work with the duopoly.

Why does the proposed ePrivacy Regulation worry German publishers more than the GDPR?
For publishers, GDPR is just a matter of doing your homework, although advertisers and marketers are having more challenges with the GDPR. But the ePrivacy Regulation would mean a major change to the whole ecosystem in Europe. The way the regulation is written now is way too general. In a nutshell, it would force everyone to have a login and [for publishers to have] very detailed user consent for whatever they do on your platform — a very big problem for small and midsize players.

What does it mean for the platforms?
It will drive advertising, money and reach to those with registered users, and above all, that will be the big four [Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon]. I suspect Google and Facebook are getting ready to offer us their help, to say, “We have registered users: If you use our logins on your website, we can get the user content [on your behalf].” In doing so, we would transfer our users to the platforms.

Should the duopoly be regulated?
The issue is, how can [platforms] identify a credible journalistic source? Who makes that decision?...