News publishers can learn from Big Tech’s ad-revenue strategies

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


I recently looked at the current global economic situation and how that has affected news media companies. It shows us that revenue/monetisation diversity remains a main priority. 

Most interestingly, I notice that, post-COVID, we’re seeing an increasing number of Big Tech players experimenting with new ways to monetise their audiences. 

I read recently about Netflix’s first anniversary (in November this year) of having ads on its platform. Since launching their ad-supported streaming option back in November 2022, Netflix has obtained around 5 million monthly active users. 

In November 2022, Netflix launched an ad-supported streaming option. Year one was promising.
In November 2022, Netflix launched an ad-supported streaming option. Year one was promising.

Netflix CEO Greg Peters said more than 25% of sign-ups, in territories where ads were an option, had taken up the “ad-supported” option — no doubt due to the lower cost. But it goes to show in this time of cost-of-living crises that there is a fine balance and trade-off between value offerings and household budgets. 

And, while Disney+ followed Netflix’s lead, Amazon says they are waiting for 2024 to introduce their ads to Prime. But it’s coming. 

And isn’t it interesting that ads will remain crucial to the future?

In a time where some think advertising can be too intrusive, irritating, even dying (in some people’s minds), I happen to believe that advertising (in digital and in many cases print, too) is very much alive and well. It’s perhaps entering in a new phase in that it needs fresh thinking, more creativity, more dynamism, new skills, and maybe a new positioning as to how we view print — is it becoming an important showcase to other platforms, for example? 

The point is, advertising most certainly is not dead — but it does require a new approach. 

The need to diversify is there (as we see above with Netflix, et al), and we as media companies can take a lesson from this: new thinking, new offerings, new revenue streams. 

Especially with the advances in AI, we are now perhaps able to discover the power of AI personalisation, Web site optimisation, direct-to-consumer models, and operational excellence. 

We will be able to leverage AI for personalised customer experiences and increased conversions, optimise Web site speed and performance for higher engagement and sales, and understand the direct-to-consumer trend fully and its impact on building strong customer relationships, as well as unlocking the potential of marketplaces and social selling for expanded reach and sales opportunities. 

This will all allow us to stay ahead of the competition and deliver exceptional customer experiences in the fast-paced world of online retail.

Maybe all this shows that content commerce is just one of the ways we can secure our future.

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About Mark Challinor

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