News Publishers’ Ad-Free Challenge; NBCU Wins Big Upfront Deals

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High On Your Own Supply

Balancing ad-supported content with potential ad-free subscription offers can be difficult. The Swedish newspaper company Dagens Nyheter did an analytics review of an ad-free subscription business. “We had to calculate the price level and potential risk of making it a loss-making business,” wrote the publisher’s analytics team lead, Lovisa Bergström, in a blog post for the International News Media Association (INMA). According to the data, the top 1% of Dagens Nyheter’s audience generated 13% of all ad revenue. The bottom 50% of site readers contributed only a few percent of ad revenue. The problem for news publishers is that if they successfully enroll subscribers in an ad-free offer, they’ll quickly drain the value of their advertising supply. H/T @astaniscia86

Upfront Dollar Signs

NBCUniversal crushed it during this year’s upfronts and clinched $500 million in deals for its ad-supported streaming platform Peacock alone, CampaignUS reports. Overall, NBCU took in $1.5 billion in digital sales, a 67% increase from last year. The Olympic Winter Games and Super Bowl LVI – 85% of the Super Bowl was sold – helped fuel upfront buys. Most of the commitments were driven by NBCU’s automated One Platform – launched last year to let advertisers buy, measure and optimize their campaigns across NBCU’s linear, streaming and digital assets. That platform was adopted by 90% of advertisers, according to a news release. NBCU launched its Audience Insights Hub this year – a proprietary data clean room so marketers can bring their own data to One Platform and find audiences across NBCU’s channels and properties – and the network said “all major agency partners signed on for NBCU Audience Insights Hub integrations.” Peacock had 42 million subscribers as of April, though the company didn’t break down the number of subscribers that have signed up for Peacock’s free AVOD tier. [Related in AdExchanger: NBCUniversal Flexes Programmatic Peacock And NBCU Identifier At ONE21 Showcase]

When Refunds Don’t Cut It

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed a suit against Amazon for allegedly failing to halt sales of dangerous products on its platform. Amazon did eventually remove the products and offered cash refunds, but the CPSC said those were insufficient, rather than swiftly removing such products and sellers. Amazon has faced similar complaints (exploding hoverboards, anyone?), but this is the first time a US regulatory agency is taking Amazon to court over its responsibility for third-party seller products. The products in this case were faulty lines of carbon monoxide detectors and hair dryers, as well as children’s pajamas in violation of flammable materials laws. “Today’s vote … was a huge step forward for this small agency,” says Acting Chairman Robert Adler in the release. “But it’s a huge step across a vast desert — we must grapple with how to deal with these massive third-party platforms more efficiently, and how best to protect the American consumers who rely on them.”

But Wait, There’s More!  

Facebook pledged to pay more than $1 billion to content creators. [WSJ]

Quotient launched a new measurement tool with self-service capabilities. [release]

Facebook executives are at odds over the company’s data analytics tool CrowdTangle. [NYT]

The Irish Data Protection Commission was ordered to quickly investigate whether data-sharing between Facebook and WhatsApp was legal. [TechCrunch]

The 4A’s have teamed up with Reset Digital to launch a programmatic platform focused on measuring DEI. [Adweek]

You’re Hired

Netflix hired Facebook gaming exec Mike Verdu. [CNBC]

Innovid tapped former Flashtalking exec Dominic Satur as vice president of global brand partnerships. [release]

Integrated appointed Gruia Pitigoi-Aron to its board of directors. [release]

ListenFirst named David DiGiacomo CEO. [release]

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