In an impressive display of unity, French publishers have come together for a joint venture designed to improve online advertising revenue for some of France’s biggest media companies.
Back in March, FigaroMédias, Amaury Media Group (whose publications include Le Parisien and L’Equipe), Lagardère (Paris Match and Elle) and TF1 began constructing La Place Media, a premium publisher exchange group. After running in beta for the past month, the platform was officially launched on 4 September and has managed to attract other major publishers, including Marie-Claire, which collectively have 28 million unique users and generate 4 billion unique page views per month.
Supported by digital advertising infrastructure company Rubicon Project’s REVV platform, La Place Media can be accessed by any one of the 70,000 ad buyers connected to Rubicon’s network. Each of the participating publishers share audience data information with LPM’s centralised system, which allows advertisers to select the website whose audience best corresponds to particular advertisements – resulting in better targeted and therefore more effective ad campaigns.
During an interview with Exchange Wire La Place Media's Managing Director, Fabien Magalon, a self-confessed RTB addict, revealed his hope that allowing ad buyers to purchase advertising space from premium publishers in real-time would ultimately serve to combat Google's dominance of the online advertising market. “La Place Media is indeed a proactive initiative to capture a larger share of spend from the data driven advertising market – currently dominated by Google ADX, and in the future, FBX”, Magalon explained, adding: “La Place Media offers a solid alternative to their scale in the French market, and a very strong differentiator, thanks to our brands. We are convinced that our unique offering (premium inventory at scale) will drive premium demand at scale: quality demand follows quality supply.”
The transition to online services and products has seen online advertising spending explode. This year, in Britain alone, online Internet adspend grew 14.4 percent, and is now worth £4.8 billion. The problem for publishers is that they are failing to benefit from this growth: instead, Internet behemoths like Google, Facebook, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft dominate online display ad sales.
The French platform’s contributors hope that their collaborative attempts will leave them in a stronger position to fight larger Internet players for a share of online advertising revenue. According to Le Figaro, La Place Media hopes to have conquered 25 percent of the online ad market by 2015, which could see a rise in digital revenue for news publishers whose future business models rely heavily on digital strategies. Recent reports of plummeting sales of print publications at French newsstands would suggest that, now more than ever, publishers in France need schemes such as La Place Media to reinforce their internet-based operations.
Magalon is reluctant for La Place Media to be heralded as the ultimate answer to the advertising woes plaguing French publishers, but he does see the sharing of inventories, rather than publishers attempting to work independently, to be vital in the fight for a dominant position in the advertising market. For now at least, an "all for one and one for all" model could be the best option for struggling French media organisations to fend off the increasingly powerful Internet giants from across the Atlantic.