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AOP finds agency data demands a challenge for publishers

Full presentation available here (for AOP members only): Content and trends census 2013members only Publishers need to put more effort into retaining control over their first-party data, concludes the AOP Content and Trends Census 2013. This year’s Census found that 36% of publishers believe agency demands for their first- party data pose the biggest challenge to the industry along with the economy and competing media giants such as the BBC. John Barnes, chairman of the AOP, says:
“First-party data establishes the value of a publisher’s inventory to advertisers and, along with their editorial content, and overlays of third party data are their crown jewels. This year’s census reveals publishers are concerned that agencies are demanding this information, possibly to circumvent publishers and target consumers directly. But agencies and networks don’t have audiences - they rely on third-party behavioural and intent data to target users - whereas publishers have a trusted relationship with readers that delivers first-party data. Publishers need to protect this data, stop leakage and find ways of demonstrating its value without giving away key information.”
The Census also revealed a greater interest in private marketplaces, with two thirds of publishers expecting to increase their participation in this form of market in the coming 12 months (see Graph 1). Real time bidding was the only commercial activity that saw a greater response, with 74% saying they expected to apply more RTB to their business. This is a big jump from last year, when just 38% said they would apply more RTB and private marketplaces to their businesses. At the same time, 56% said they would this year expose more first-party data to increase ad yields and only 15% said they would be increasing the use of ad networks. Tim Cain, head of research and insight at the AOP, says:
“It’s all about advertising accountability. As buying becomes increasingly automated publishers could lose control. This year’s Census shows they are finally acknowledging the role data can play at helping them to retain control. That they are more interested in RTB and private marketplaces shows publishers better understand the role it can play.”
Less clear cut is the role programmatic trading will play, with 39% saying it offers a major opportunity and 42% a small one (see Graph 2). Interestingly, 26% say they are driven to programmatic trading by agency demands. Respondents are also split on viewability, with 48% saying it is rarely mentioned in meetings with agencies, and 42% saying it is an agency request (see Graph 3). Looking ahead, the vast majority of publishers are bullish about growth. More than a third expect to see digital ad revenue growth of between 6% and 10%, while 45% predict growth of between 11% and 30%. Only 3% predict growth of 5% or less.

Graph 1


Graph 2


Graph 3

Respondents to the AOP Content and Trends Census 2013 publish some 1,500 digital brands and have combined online revenues in the region of £1bn.



Editors’ notes

The AOP Census is in its 11th year. An annual survey of AOP members’ businesses, the Census provides invaluable insight into the digital publishing industry and is a benchmark for members. This is the fifth year that the Census has been split into a Content and Trends survey, published in the autumn, and an Organisation survey, published in the spring. The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is the industry body representing online publishing companies that create original, branded, quality content. AOP champions the interests of companies from newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, and pure online media. The AOP raises awareness, and addresses concerns relating to all areas of online publishing to industry and Government, covering topics such as paid-for-content, online subscription modelsn, data protection, copyright, content management, new technologies and audience measurement. AOP publishes original research including the annual Census. It also hosts forums, conferences and events, where members can debate issues, meet peers and network. The AOP hosts two annual flagship industry events, the AOP Digital Publishing Awards and the AOP Digital Publishing Summit. AOP Members include Bauer Consumer Media, BBC, CBS Interactive, Centaur, Conde Nast Digital, Dennis Publishing, DMG Media, ESI Media, Future Publishing, Global Radio, Guardian Media Group, Haymarket Media Group, Immediate Media, Incisive Media, IPC Media, Hearst Magazines UK, News UK, Reed Business Information, Telegraph Media Group Ltd, Thomson Reuters, Trader Media, Trinity Mirror, Which?