What we think, say & do

22 November 2016
Digital Publishing Survey Q4 2016

Our next Digital Publishing Breakfast Roundtable will be taking place this Thursday the 24th November. The roundtable will focus on the relationship between big technology platforms and publishing organisations. Below is a summary of our pre-event survey and what our respondents said.


Do you see big tech platforms as competition or a competitive advantage over other publishers?

Competition - 16.67%

Competitive Advantage - 16.67%

Both - 66.67%

Respondents said:

“Whilst going down these routes generates much needed revenue, there are issues around performance, user experience, and data leakage.”


Are you currently involved with one of the big tech platforms? If so which ones?

Apple News - 71.43%

Facebook Instant Articles - 71.43%

Google News - 42.86%

Google Newsstand - 16.67%

Snapchat Discover - 0%

None - 14.29%


What challenges do you see occurring working with these big tech platforms?

Publishers are limited in their ability to monetise instant and video - 57.14%

Decline in audience referral traffic to publishers - 57.14%

Lack of data about audience viewing content - 71.43%

Lack of tangible return on investment - 14.29%

Lack of differentiation between publishers as brands - 71.43%

The platforms are designed to accommodate the consumer as opposed to the publisher - 14.29%


Where do you see opportunities arising from working with these big tech platforms?

Ability to access wider audience - 100%

Engagement - 33.33%

Running branded content through technology platform - 16.67%

Increased monetization and revenue streams  - 33.33%

Advertising - 0%

Innovation and developing technologies - 16.67%


Who do you feel holds the power, the big tech platform or the publishing organisation?

Big tech platform - 100%

Publishing organisation - 0%


How are these big tech platforms shaping your digital strategy, and furthermore the publishing industry?

Respondents said:

“They are leading the innovation. If a big tech firm decides something is important, publishers bend towards whatever that is.”

“We are increasingly looking at them as the first step for new customer engagement, the "top of the funnel" that drives more loyal usage and then potentially subscription. The big question for the immediate future is where the more loyal usage occurs - on our site or theirs?”

“Referral traffic from these sources is key to survival, and is increasing above organic at a fast rate. Publishers have become dependent on it and have to build sites that are optimised around them.”


How do these big tech platforms affect your monetisation strategy?

Respondents said:

“Biggest issue is that most digital money is going into Facebook and Google rather than publishers.”“Facebook is essentially the same from a monetisation perspective, Apple news is problematic as the act of adserving is more difficult”

“They have become something that the business relies upon, leaving publishers open to losing control to the big tech firms.”

Topics to be discussed in 2017:

  • Exploring new digital formats for growth: Chat apps, Virtual reality, Artificial intelligence

  • Mobile optimisation

  • How to scale growth while maintaining editorial rapport

  • How to convert print-dependant readers to digital, and digital customers to mobile

The main theme of our breakfast event will be looking at big technology firms. This was identified as a key threat in our previous survey and will be the subject of our next blog.