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How bad is the ad market right now?
The New York Times released Q1 earnings yesterday. Despite 4% overall revenue growth YoY, digital advertising was down 9%.
Other publishers are also having trouble with digital ads. Here’s a rundown from some other Q1 earnings releases:
BuzzFeed: Overall revenue down 27%
TechTarget: Overall revenue down 16%
Dotdash Meredith: Digital revenue down 15%
Gannett: Overall revenue down 11%
Ziff Davis: Ad revenue down 8%
And forward-looking forecasts are pessimistic:
NYT: Q2 digital ad revenue expected to drop by low-to-mid single digits
Gannett: 2023 full-year overall revenue (including subscriptions) expected to drop 4%
Ziff Davis: 2023 full-year overall revenue (including subscriptions) expected to drop 1%
Taken together, it’s evidence of what many of us have been feeling: The ad market is in bad shape. The New York Times and Dotdash Meredith both identified the tech, finance, and media ad categories as particularly weak.
There are some encouraging notes. At TechTarget, search-based visits grew 50% YOY – indicating that readers haven’t stopped relying on TechTarget to research technology tools. And subscriptions look relatively strong – the New York Times’ digital-only subscription revenue grew 14%, and Gannett’s digital-only circulation revenue grew 29%.
But still, for many publishers, all this means looking closely at costs. Through this tough period, it’ll be important continue investing in the capabilities that will power growth when the market recovers.
Here’s the top news in digital media:
The New York Times also shared how it’s managing costs. In Q1, operating costs grew by only 7%, which is lower YOY growth than any quarter last year. This slower growth came from reduced marketing spend, slower headcount growth in product, and reduced headcount in corporate & administrative functions.
Half of publishers are using AI. Of those who are using AI, the top use cases are copywriting, research, marketing, and text content creation, according to a Digiday survey. Of those that are not using AI, more than half plan to use it within the next year.
A new study has some useful stats for podcast ad sellers. A survey produced by Vox Media and Magna Global found that 81% of millennial listeners have a deep connection with their favorite hosts; podcasters are considered more influential than social media personalities and movie celebrities; and 79% of listeners say podcasts enable them to improve themselves.
And here’s more news from around the industry:
Google I/O Announcements:
Google is adding AI-generated answers at the top of some search results.
Google is creating a “perspectives” section in search results, featuring content such as YouTube videos, Reddit comments, and Stack Overflow answers.
Bard is now accessible to everyone.
Android’s Messages app will use AI to suggest messages.
Google branded its AI workflow tools as “Duet AI.”
Industry Dive will launch Facilities Dive.
Conde Nast launched Conde Nast Consulting, which offers “thought leadership, trend forecasting, and competitor benchmarking.”
A majority of LGBTQ+ journalists surveyed in the UK face online harassment.
BBC News viewership is down 23% YOY.
TechTarget added a VP of AI Strategy.
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