THE BLOG

Where Are Pay Walls and Content Going?

02/06/2013 20:31 BST | Updated 31/07/2013 10:12 BST

In such a competitive online landscape, brands and publishers alike need to look at innovative ways to engage with consumers and it is truer now than ever before - content is king. The other pressure that businesses and especially publishers face online is monetising their content, and working more closely with brands could prove a fruitful solution to this conundrum.

The recent announcements from the Telegraph and the Sun that they are introducing paywalls on their websites present an interesting opportunity for brands. As every marketer is aware, an actively engaged subscriber is worth far more to a newsbrand and advertiser than an anonymous eye.

In just a few short years, the UK media landscape has shifted from a position where, in 2010, only the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal Europe websites had paywalls, to one where, later this year, only The Guardian, Mail Online and the Mirror and Express titles won't have some form of paid-for service to access news online. Unlike with traditional TV campaigns, online media outlets can increasingly target commercials at the right audience, using sophisticated data mining and tracking technology. They can develop a closer rapport with readers and make campaign budgets work harder and smarter through the launch of new advertising packages based on demographic data provided by subscribers at registration. As a business model, this means publishers will 'own' their customers' data and be able to repackage and sell it to advertisers by creating their own demand-side platform (DSP), allowing a personalised experience for the customer and a more effective campaign for the brand.

The recent growth of in-image advertising has allowed publishers to transform online images into interactive adverts and virtual shop-fronts. For example, Getty Images' deals at the beginning of the year with Kiosked and Luminate highlighted a huge step forward for a new, highly-targeted form of advertising which will become a significant source of revenue for news and magazine publishers. The technology will automatically turn any photo it finds on the publishers' website into a "kiosk", an interactive web-store embedded within the image. For example, photos shot at a sporting event could directly link through to sponsors' websites. This offers huge potential conversion opportunities for brands.

Video is another format where publishers are similarly innovating and adapting which they must, given the astounding growth of video consumption by consumers. It is expected that by 2016 video will account for 86 per cent of global consumer traffic online. With 76 per cent of marketers planning to add video to their site, it is becoming a higher priority than Facebook, Twitter and blog integration. Marketing Week recently announced that 16 per cent of visits to video sites now end up on a transactional side - a 30 per cent increase on last year as brands increasingly use videos to drive traffic to their website.*

An interesting evolution in paywalls, versus an advertising supported model can be seen with The New York Times, which has now taken its video outside the paywall and made videos on the site available to all readers, regardless of their subscriber status. Newspapers can recognise far higher CPMs available for video ads against standard display and often find themselves with more video advertising demands then they have videos to sell against.

Since launching a video offering in 2002, Getty Images has seen customer usage increase by more than 2,000 per cent, reflecting what is happening in the media publishing, marketing and advertising industry. This year, to meet the ever-increasing demands of publishers, we now have our photographers capturing both still imagery and video at certain events.

The future of video is something which should be top of mind for brands and publishers - in the way it's captured, curated and distributed, and it will be a key showcase for us at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this month.

*Marketing Week 2013