Gary Strauss is National Digital Sales Manager of Sporting News.
Is it frustrating having a great brand, but needing to compete against much larger sites such as ESPN and CBS Sportsline? What does Sporting News do to entice advertisers who can get much better scale elsewhere?
GS: No I would not categorize it as frustrating. Challenging, yes, but we really do not see espn.com as a direct competitor. Both CBS and ESPN have strengths as do we. Our strengths are audience engagement and great content specifically about six main sports –baseball, football and basketball (college and pro), hockey, golf and Nascar. We can and indeed do complement the vey large sports sites. Often we stand out on our own due to a great composition story and the ability to integrate, customize and make a creative statement for a client; all at a reasonable cost investment. We are not a reach vehicle but there are marketers out there who do not necessarily want only reach, rather they also want people’s attention. That is a real viable asset for Sporting News.
Do you think using yield management platforms such as AdMeld, Rubicon Project, AdMeld, PubMatic and others offer a viable option for publishers? How does SportingNews.com manage yield?
How has your revenue model evolved at Sporting News online? What are the key drivers of this evolution?
Our digital revenue model is similar to other properties. First provide unique online editorial content and unique applications (for us fantasy games and editorial) and educate and offer clients unique opportunities to tie into this. We also look at our digital properties as a different extension to our traditional magazine product-vastly different content and audience.
What is your view on the advertising exchange model? Ready to put your premium inventory in the exchange? If not, what needs to happen first?
No – in regards to the premium question. It is there to augment our existing revenue but reaching out to marketers that we have not worked with. For us the ad exchange model is more effective for us and somewhat like a network model in that it helps us monetize some of our inventory.
If you were looking to use an ad network, how would you ensure that an ad network partner does not conflict with your direct sales channel?
It is all about communication. There are many advertisers who earmark most of their $$ to networks and we want to obtain some of that, but overall, ad networks help digital properties with primarily DR advertisers along with those that our direct staff either has not targeted or developed a relationship with.
Can magazines survive without a potent online strategy?
I imagine they may be able to but why would they want to. Magazines are not going away-rather, they like the newspapers business will have to adjust and change their business model and product offering(s). Content that is unique and valuable to consumers will always have a place regardless of vehicle and as we know via media consumption, the acceptance and use of digital is ubiquitous. So, established magazine brands should embrace this challenge. Decade old established brands especially must adjust to changing media consumption habits and build their brands online, with in my opinion with a focus on quality, unique content.
Does SportingNews.com try to extend its reach through online media buying? If so, what are some of the tactics that are working (or not)?
Not at this time. We have an incredibly active and engaged user participatory audience. Even in an era of economic uncertainty we have invested in product –redesign of magazine and a major new daily sports digital property entitled “SportingNews Today.” I imagine the tactics we would use is improved SEO methodologies.
Since you work at Sporting News, I’m thinking you can help me with this question from a Chicago Bears fan… Is Jay Cutler for real or a bust?
Cutler is the real deal –about 9 months ago John Elway one of our frequent NFL contributors was raving about Cutler in fact even stating that Cutler at his current stage of his career is even more advanced and accomplished than Elway was at a similar stage. Cutler was on the Broncos at the time, we will see if John’s opinion changes as he moves the Bears forward.
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