Cut. You say you observe a shift in audiences on the web. This means?
Jeremy Parola (Reworld Media). The reality is that if we look at the digital audience of the French press giants, it has declined for most of them over the last two years. This is a reality we can only escape by shopping around, as Reworld Media does!
Time spent on the web is moving from traditional media to mainstream services or social platforms. We can see this in the evolution of our special operations (OPS) activity, which is leveling off on our pages but has exploded on social platforms. It was barely 8% of our turnover in 2021, it grew to more than 30% in 2022, driven especially by TikTok. Historians remember that it was a bet made by Minutebuzz, 8 years ago, when its founders decided to migrate all their content to social networks, anticipating this phenomenon. Maybe very soon!
Reworld Media has also multiplied the launches of media platforms on behalf of brands, such as Air France or Velux, in 2022. A major trend?
This is an activity that did not exist in our country two years ago and which, indeed, is flourishing. In any case, we see a growing desire among advertisers to have a first-party data strategy, create digital assets, do SEO and reduce their acquisition budgets. This is all the more important since they are mainly mediated by distributors, on and off, and they, under these conditions, no longer have any knowledge of their customers.
Approaches sometimes differ: on Air France, it is rather the desire to generate advertising revenue, thanks to a very strong brand and a loyalty program, Flying Blue, that will be able to qualify through content. At Velux, it is the ambition to position itself as a partner for the optimization of personal space, through the site Dream about the atticas remote work is exploding.
How many such devices have you sold?
Last year we sold 19 brand platforms. They are no longer hosted on our media assets, but remain, of course, 100% operated by us. We are not an isolated case as our competitors, Webedia, Prisma Media, with Ganz, or Media. Figaro, with 14H, are also riding this trend. What we try to differentiate ourselves is by verticalizing this approach. We don’t have one agency that meets all needs, but as much structure as vertical: editorialink for home, content team for sports… We are launching a new media platform in the world of food after employment. the co-founder of Marmitona brand that joined our group when Unify was taken over.
Content marketing is another area of development for Reworld Media in 2023, you’re telling me…
Yes, and the acquisition of Unify has enabled us to become a leader in this sector as we have reclaimed, incidentally, all the Digital activity in this area. We are still at the beginning, but the potential is huge. A media group like the future already realizes 250 million euros turnover with it in the United Kingdom. Therefore, we want to accelerate this theme, with a team of 17 people managing this on behalf of our 80 sites.
“We have reached almost 20 million euros in turnover in content commerce in 2022 and we want to do x4 or even x5 this year.”
We’ve launched a complete content-for-commerce platform that we’ve put into the hands of the employees of our various media brands to help them make their content shoppable in a near-automated way. A decision support tool that will, for example, allow them to highlight the best performing vendor on the KPI of their choice, whether it’s price or conversion rate. We have reached nearly 20 million euros in turnover in content commerce in 2022 and we want to do x4 or even x5 this year.
A word on a topic that, in your opinion, should no longer be taboo: the end of programmatic display within the Open Web…
It is not at the moment, but we cannot rule out that the market will fall in the medium term, in the next three to four years, let’s say. The reality is that there is no real innovation in this market anymore and that the latest startups or product launches are hyper-defensive: to find an alternative to cookies or to keep inventory addressable, for example. This is the very definition of a mature market.
Coming of age doesn’t mean you’re doomed…
Let’s look at the options available to this sector for growth. 1) Get more audience. But the problem is that, as I told you in the introduction, we are in decline. 2) Create new formats. Honestly, I think we’ve reached the bottom of what’s possible with in-image! 3) Add more competition, like header bidding did.
You will understand, we have exhausted all options. And it’s even more problematic as the Open Web struggles to compete in what advertisers prioritize today: brand awareness and performance. And nothing in between!
How is this problem?
Because they believe that traditional media does not fulfill these two objectives well. I’m hardly putting on a caricature when I say that this polarization of marketing objectives will only make a few happy: TV, CTV and social media influencers for fame, GAFAs… and even GAFAs, for performance.
How to cure it?
Maybe starting to think about a world without shows. To take a step aside, to try to find alternatives, especially moving towards performance. For example, arbitrate its inventory management no longer on the volume of ad impressions, as is often done, but on the exit click.
Clearly, imagine new advertising objects that aim to make the click. Something between native and research, maybe. I think it’s important for online media to begin their transformation, because many of them are approaching a dead end. The proof is that when we started, we bought mostly print magazines, which were struggling because their audience was falling and their advertising inventory was falling with it. Today, we are starting to buy pure players, like Melty or Unify, because they, on the other hand, are struggling.