Commodity Convo; Retailer Risk; Funds Flying

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Commodity Convo

Reuters Jennifer Saba analyzes new revenue data for newspaper publishers and sees ad exchanges as the culprit. She explains to the neophyte, “Advertising exchanges are electronic platforms that allow buyers to bid on and purchase advertising space at drastically reduced prices. Many websites — not just newspaper sites — rely on these exchanges to sell unclaimed advertising spots, known in industry parlance as excess inventory. The thinking is it’s better to get something than nothing at all. But it also trains ad buyers to expect lower advertising prices.” Read more.

Retailer Risk

Citi analyst Mark Mahaney shares his notes with investors from the inaugural “Advanced Retail Technology Conference” put on by Bain Capital Ventures. He’s thinking that retailers are at risk given tech innovation: “Pressure from Google and Amazon Mounting – Retailers are at risk of being in an “800 lb. gorilla sandwich” as they are squeezed between GOOG (product discovery) and AMZN (purchase transaction). However, the IT talent at many retailers is one-tenth the talent at third-party technology providers. To keep pace with AMZN, retailers must partner with third-party technology providers. The source of competitive advantage for retailers will be to leverage their stores as DCs, create a more engaging in-store experience, and develop their omnichannel platforms.” The corner store still matters. Read this AdExchanger ‘classic’.

Slow Boat to Mobile Commerce

Mobile shopping gets a lot of play in the press, but a Nielsen survey finds it has a long road to broad acceptance. For now, bricks and clicks are where it’s at. “Online purchasing was rated the ‘Overall favorite’ by 59 percent of those surveyed, as well as the ‘Easiest’ (68%) and ‘Most convenient’ (68%). But people trust traditional stores the most when making purchases: Bricks-and-mortar stores won the highest marks for ‘Most reliable’ (69%) and ‘Safest’ (77%).” Ogle a chart.

Movin’ On

Satya Patel is packing up his product bags and moving on from his role as Twitter ad product guru. He’s formerly of Google and Battery Ventures fame. Eric Eldon relays on TechCrunch that sources say, “Twitter’s executive leadership is looking to separate the ads and product teams more fully, with each one getting a new leader. Patel’s options were to take one of those roles instead of continuing to run both.” Read more.

The DNT Ricochet

On the his Krux Digital blog, CEO Tom Chavez reacts to Microsoft’s recent DNT move in the browser and says, “As an entrepreneur and one who loves the early stage start-up approach, I like contrarian moves, large and small. To challenge the order of things in such a public way shows chutzpah – my hat’s off to Microsoft for making a bold move, whatever the motive and whatever the outcome. As for the spirited market debate, Krux doesn’t really have a dog in this fight.” Read more.

NYT Supersizes It

Over on the Online Publishers Association blog, the New York Times chief advertising officer Denise Warren talks about the site’s use of the OPA’s expansive ad formats – XXL, Pushdown, and Fixed Panel. In a Q&A, she says, “Readers have responded incredibly well to these units, which we can share with advertisers through rich media analytics that provide insight into many different engagement metrics.  We see the XXL, particularly ones that incorporate historical content, perform at significantly higher rates that site-wide averages” Read more.

What’s Premium?

Everybody is talking about the need for premium content to turn the web from a platform of cheap direct response ads and lift it to a TV-like level of lucrative branded placements. In answer to latest cry for “premium content” by William Morris Endeavor co-CEO Ari Emanuel, YieldBot’s Jonathan Mendez simply says give it up. “There are only two things premium on a mass scale anymore – distribution and devices,” he says. In this age of where performance, not premium, matters, publishers still have “diamonds and gold” beneath the surface of their properties in the form of data. Improving their audience data is the only way to preserve their businesses, not hopes of “putting the CPM genie back in the bottle.”

Funds Fly In Social

Advance Publications, the parent of magazine publisher Condé Nast, has invested $10 million in a relatively unknown startup aiming to help media buyers better figure out their social strategies. The company Unified, raised a total $14 million this week, reports AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka. As the print business weakens, building up new areas around social could help Advance drive digital revenues more quickly. Separately, Kafka (who has been, as Marv Albert would say, “on FIRE” lately) reports that the Buddy Media deal was very nearly Google’s not

Two Screens Is Better Than One

eMarketer repurposes IAB co-viewing data for TV and online and you people like to watch two screens at once. The eMarketer scribe writes that in the survey “of ‘media-savvy’ consumers, almost two-thirds of respondents said they had used another device the last time they watched live TV. And overall, those using a digital device to discuss or otherwise interact with a TV show preferred their smartphones to either tablets or computers.” Get some charts.

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