Publishers are receiving far less money than might have been expected from placing their content on the third-party distribution platforms owned by companies including Facebook, Google, and Snapchat, according to a new report.
The report, from premium publisher trade body Digital Content Next (DCN), claims that the (mean) average premium publisher generated $7.7 million in revenue from distributing their content on third-party platforms in the first half of 2016 — equivalent to around 14% of their overall revenues in the period.
On average, premium publishing companies generated $773,567 in the first half of 2016 by distributing their content on YouTube. Content published to Facebook earned an average of $560,144 in the period, Twitter generated an average of $482,788, and Snapchat generated $192,819 for each publisher in the sample.
DCN commissioned Powers Media & Entertainment Consulting to collect data and survey 19 of its members — including The Financial Times, ESPN, Bloomberg, NBC, and The New York Times — about the way they use and generate revenue from third-party distribution platforms. It then conducted in-depth interviews with eight of those members. The report did not offer financial details for each publisher, but instead provided the average amount a typical premium publisher receives.
Business Insider has obtained a copy of the report, which was distributed privately to the trade body’s members last week. (Business Insider is also a member of DCN and participated in the study, but this article’s author did not obtain the report’s findings via a Business Insider employee.)
Overall, the report’s implication is that while many publishers are attempting to get their heads around their distributed content strategies, distributed content platforms are providing too little by way of monetization for the high-quality content that gives those platforms credibility among users and advertisers.
Publishers face a difficult dichotomy when it comes to working with third-party distribution platforms.
On the one hand, platforms like Facebook and Google drive huge traffic to publishers’ websites, which they can monetize themselves through ads, subscriptions, or ecommerce.
But those platforms are also seen as competitors for their readers’ eyeballs. And — through programs like Google AMP, Facebook’s Instant Articles, and Snapchat Discover — publishers are being encouraged to publish their content directly to those platforms, following where their readers are, but ceding full control over the monetization of that audience and the data they can gather about them.