Ecommerce is perhaps the area least explored by online media owners, but it has huge potential

Relying solely on online advertising is becoming increasingly risky for media owners. Advertisers’ pockets just aren’t deep enough to support the plethora of ad-funded models making demands on them. So media owners need to balance the three-legged stool of advertising, ecommerce and paid content.

News International has implemented its paywall, with The Times and Sunday Times sites going paid-only. Its public confidence in the model is reflected in our profile of digital commercial director Alex Hole: “We absolutely believe that this is going to be successful. And that you can print,” he says.

For the Daily Mail, the answer is scale. As our cover story reports, it’s betting on the US to bolster its traffic to such a level that advertisers won’t be able to resist. But traffic isn’t enough. As inventory explodes, publishers are pinning their hopes on targeting.

Real-time bidding - enabling the trading and placing of ad impressions automatically - is starting to generate interest from publishers looking to increase the price of their inventory. Demand and supply-side platforms are gaining traction and threaten to revolutionise online advertising. Our feature finds SSPs increasing publishers’ conversion rates by 150%.

Ecommerce is perhaps the area least explored by online media owners. But as our story this week highlights, it has huge potential as an alternative to online advertising. Channel 4 has made the natural although still rare move to integrate ecommerce closely with its online editorial and broadcast content.

As broadcasters’ online operations become increasingly tied to TV output, they’re becoming cleverer at pushing people between the two. At a recent Pact Digital Showcase event, the need for TV presenters to encourage viewers to visit the website was highlighted. By having the likes of Gok Wan pushing viewers to its site, Channel 4 will be able to drive revenues from people visiting to buy products they’ve just seen on TV. Initially these may be incremental revenues, but ecommerce will become a more important revenue pillar for online media owners.


Published 8 July, 2010 by NMA Staff

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