200 Newspapers Vs the Duopoly

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December 14, 2021
200 Newspapers Vs Big Tech
Start Testing Now: 2023 Isn't That Far Away
Stronger Together?
More than 200 Newspapers Suing Big Tech
Axios uncovered that more than 200 local newspapers are suing Google and Facebook to recoup lost digital revenue swallowed up by Big Tech.

“The intellectual framework for this developed over the last 3-4 years, said Doug Reynolds, managing partner of HD Media, a holding company that owns several West Virginia newspapers, including the Charleston Gazette-Mail.”
Why This Matters
This is a David Vs. Goliath-level drama. But more and more local newspapers and their holding companies are having this fight, and David will get stronger and bigger. Not duopoly big, but safety and strategy in numbers. (Just ask Malcolm Gladwell why David and his sling won the battle.)

Antitrust complaints were filed by 17 ownership groups that represent 150 newspapers. These lawsuits hope to win back lost revenue that went to Google and Facebook but also make the newspaper industry a place where it can not only survive, but thrive. Local reporting is vital and needs to be resuscitated. Hopefully, the outcome could mirror what’s happening in Australia, where a law requires tech firms to pay publishers for their content. Needless to say, big tech was not happy with that ruling.

The lawsuits came following the government’s digital competition report that noted a section between newspapers and big tech.

“All of the lawsuits were consolidated by a judicial panel over the summer in the Southern District of New York,” and are pending.

Google responded, saying that “these claims are just wrong. The online advertising space is crowded and competitive, our ad tech fees are lower than reported industry averages, and publishers keep the vast majority of revenue earned when using our products. We are one of the world's leading financial supporters of journalism and have provided billions of dollars to support quality journalism in the digital age.”

Hearing Google and Facebook complain that they are not profiting and taking money from local newspapers is reminiscent of the time Google and Facebook worked with one another to shut out competing ad exchanges and divvy up advertising profits amongst themselves.

AdMonsters previously reported that “We'd hate to see anyone go down, but pubs have been calling foul play on duopoly for many years now. Critics are saying this is finally an antitrust case with some teeth, that truly focuses on what they feel is Google abusing its monopoly.”

Lawsuits like this require patience. This is the long game.
Time Is (Not) On Your Side
The luxury of having plenty of time to test solutions for the impending cookieless future is slipping away fast. As Google’s “mid-2023” bon voyage to third-party cookies inches nearer, the window closes for trying out, tweaking and improving on alternatives that work for all publishers, not just the big guys. Who’s feeling the heat? Not publishers.

More than half report a low-level sense of urgency to testing and implementing identity solutions that preserve their business model in a cookieless future, according to Lotame’s “Beyond the Cookie” report. ID solutions for the open web will be invaluable for publisher monetization — they’re driving incremental revenue in tests today. So, what gives?
Why This Matters
Publisher and marketer priorities may be misaligned, and not for the first time. The latter say they feel a slightly greater sense of urgency on the identity front. The publisher’s appetite for testing still exists, however. On the bright side, publishers appear more open to testing different types of identity solutions, from newer entrants such as probabilistic ones like Lotame Panorama ID™ to older options like authenticated. Publishers are leaning in more toward probabilistic than marketers at this early stage, presumably for its non-PII, privacy first approach to addressability.

The good news is there’s no reason to place all your revenue bets in one camp. Publishers can and should flex as many revenue-driving muscles as they can to compete with the walled gardens and preserve the open web. To see what else is top of mind for publishers, get your free copy of “Beyond the Cookie: Identity Solution Adoption & Testing Among Marketers and Publishers” here.


Stronger Together?

As the cookie crumbles, Ad Tech gets ever more complex and competitive threatening to cost the industry all the more in hidden fees. But every now and then, the Lumascape shrinks just a smidgen. And mostly, it's a good thing.

It's a good thing when two rising upstarts merge their strengths to tackle industry challenges. It's also a good thing when a larger company adds a smaller company to its portfolio, increasing services while pulling the little guy out of struggle mode.

Just check out the recent news of long-standing SSP Brightcom acquiring digital consultant and ad ops partner MediaMint for around $75 million. Suresh Reddy, chairman of the Brightcom Group says the acquisition will aid Brightcom in building more robust solutions and bringing them to customers faster. As well, there's a great opportunity to scale MediaMint's backend services.

Then there's the matter of Criteo doing a deal with IPONWEB for $380 million to fortify their first-party data offering as a strong replacement for the third-party cookie. Bringing these two powers together would only supercharge Criteo's Commerce Media Platform strategy.

On the digital media side of the M&A tracks, Vox Media scooped up Group Nine bringing the dodo, NowThis, seeker, Thrillist and POPSUGAR into its fold. We can only imagine what a boon this could be to Vox Media's first-party data strategy and ad tech aspirations. 

Why This Matters

There's no reading between the lines here. It's just an example of what's to come as the cookie crumble countdown continues.
Sweet Tweet
What Is a Newsletter? No Really.
I actually think newsletters are most-often used as blog replacements/op-ed pages, but if you look at the ones that make the most money and break the most scoops, they are just trade publications with a different comp model. And that makes this exciting. — @film_girl
Worth a Listen
Anti-Google, Augments & Ad Growth
In this week's episode of Sharethrough's Behind Headlines: 180 Seconds in Ad Tech they cover the agreement between Roku and Google for YouTube. Criteo and IPONWEB potentially teaming up to create an “anti-Google machine”. Snapchat is driving social commerce with AR. Ralph Lauren entering the Metaverse. And the ad market is growing beyond expectations.
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