The media opportunity

IAB Europe’s ad tracking consent framework found to fail GDPR standard.

What this means - while users want privacy, IAB encourages publishers to use tech that not only doesn't respect privacy  but also is illegal.

Media has become a sick industry because of the digital advertising model, which is mainly dictated by the tech suppliers aka Google, Facebook and the likes.

It’s so bad that media properties have become mostly unusable because they throw down the users throat popups, over and under layers as well as a bunch of spying cookies in the name of providing content for free.

It is a chain reaction started from the money payers: advertisers command control of their budget through tech, the tech providers have a mechanism that does that (and more for their own business model) and publishers need to comply or will not get the budgets. Not having the ad budgets, media will cease to exist.

We are in the middle of a transition towards a model that includes a sub-based model but that is a hybrid, sub-optimal one, because sub money is still not enough and media cos need to deal in ads compromise.

To make things worse, because of higher regulation scrutiny, ad tech suppliers will increasingly start paying to access for the properties, perpetuating the compromise and the horrible front end experience of the media assets, controlled by the tech tracking needs.

Unless you as a media are in control of your tech stack and of the conditions under which you will handle advertising, it will be a tough spot for building a healthy media business.

Or, there is an alternative: you go all in for subs and quit* advertising altogether. You know, similar to taking to test the ultimate metric of media: if it suddenly goes away tomorrow, will anyone miss it? Will anyone be less functional at job?

The bold ones took their fate in their hands and started going sub-based only, providing a clean UX and not allowing cookie trackers - think of Substack as a preview of the next gen media companies based on a DTC model.

And that is one of the reasons for which why I am bullish on the media today, it is still trapped in an old paradigm thinking and the business potential for building a new one is huge. All those problems are opportunities in disguise, we only need entrepreneurs to make it happen, the change will not come from within.

*not quit-quit, but do it smarter :P

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