YuktaMedia is excited to introduce the sixth speaker in the “Meet The Experts” series. The objective of this series is to interview leading professionals in the digital publishing industry around the globe. The goal is to learn from the experts, especially now, that the Publishing industry is hurting the most. We hope that by sharing and learning from each other’s experiences Publishers will continue to not only survive but thrive over the years to come.
Our sixth interview in the ‘Meet the Experts’ series is with Iván Falótico, Director of Ad Operations at VIX, Inc. Iván has over 15 years of diverse experience in Programmatic advertising, Sales, and Video. He had the privilege to work with some of the most amazing Publishers, Advertisers, and Agencies in Latin America. Iván is currently leading the digital ad operations department at VIX – The Hispanic-focused AVOD service, delivering thousands of premium Spanish-language movies and series. He is always open to learning new technologies and agile while adapting to the changes.
We are grateful to Iván Falótico for taking the time out of his busy schedule and participate in this initiative of giving back to the Publishing community.
Aditya Bhelande – COVID-19 has added to the misery of already hurting Publishers. Looking back what and where did things go wrong for Publishers?
Iván Falótico – Well, I think it has to do mainly with the surplus of Publishers and the inventory we have been having. For years Publishers have been generating more positions to fill, which increases the inventory, but tends to lower the eCPMs, which might end up driving revenue down. With COVID, we’ve seen this phenomenon as well, inventory goes up, eCPM goes down, revenue goes down as well. Another problem for web publishers is -first- the surge of Mobile App advertising, and recently the rise of CTV advertising as well.
Aditya Bhelande – With Publisher revenues dwindling, would it make sense for Publishers to invest in any technology/platform (SaaS or in-house)? If yes, which business areas/technologies would you suggest?
Iván Falótico – Yes, I would recommend Publishers first to diversify their portfolio whenever they can. Second, nowadays, we have many providers of yield optimization, may it be UI optimizers, Server to server Solutions, and many more. I would not take them as game-changers, but if you add them all up, you’ll notice the difference.
Aditya Bhelande – With 3rd party cookies going away soon, what steps do you think Publishers should take so that they are ready to brace the impact on revenue and business in general?
Iván Falótico – Definitely rely more on 1st Party Data. But the first and the most important step is to have strong communication with advertisers, letting them know that the rules are changing and change their expectations, at least at first. And I think in the following years we will rely more on AI to effectively predict user Data as well.
Aditya Bhelande – How should Publisher manage their audiences, related data, and leverage these from a monetization perspective?
Iván Falótico – In the very near future – In some cases it’s already in action – as securely as possible, and always with the possibility for the user to opt out. That will actually let us monetize their time spent on our media. And like I said before, if we start to gather better and more precise 1st Party Data we’ll have great monetization possibilities looking forward.
Aditya Bhelande – There have been some talks about Publishers forming consortium’s to take on BIG Tech. Is that feasible? What would be the challenges and is there a way to make a consortium successful?
Iván Falótico – It may be feasible. It depends part in Publishers, and part in BIG Tech. For Publishers, they need to set clear rules, and as in any cooperative effort, they have to be as egalitarian as possible. Because as we have BIG and Small Tech, we do have BIG and Small Publishers. The consortium efforts I’ve seen in the past tended to fail mainly because of the disadvantages some of the members had in comparison to their bigger counterparts. And on the BIG Tech side, it depends on if and how they intervene with small and medium Publishers, if and how they help them to strive amidst a reality that shows larger Publishers growing time and again.
Aditya Bhelande – How will the rise of OTT impact traditional web Publishers (News, Finance, Sports, etc.)? Is there potentially an opportunity for web Publishers?
Iván Falótico – The Main impact is the rise of Connected TV that comes along with the appearance of new OTT services, specifically AVOD. We’re already seeing that Video investment from Advertisers is moving from web (desktop/mobile) onto CTV, and it will keep moving over there at least for a couple more years. This, of course, results in a decrease of web video revenue. There definitely is an opportunity for web Publishers here, this being said if they are willing to take the chances. For example, up until last year we at VIX were a web Publisher, first and foremost, with strong presence in Social Networks. But in March we launched our cross-device AVOD OTT Service, fortunately with great reception. And nowadays we have the opportunity of being part of the ones that are producing the change.
Aditya Bhelande – Which revenue generation strategies should Publishers now pursue in addition to advertising revenue? And how will these strategies differ by Publisher size?
Iván Falótico – Well, one example can be having ad-free subscriptions, but that differs on the content and the target the Publisher has, as well as the size. Not every Publisher is able to make this move. Not because of lack of technology, but because the ROI would not be the same.
Aditya Bhelande – Do you believe that Mexican Publishers today have global presence similar to say a New York Times? What suggestions would you give to aspiring Latin American Publishers to get there?
Iván Falótico – No, I’m certain they don’t. But I think Mexico has a great possibility to have a strong presence in Spanish Latin America. The one and most important suggestion I would give to any aspiring international Publisher that would like to start a business -not just in MX, but any international venture- is to get a grasp of the culture of the country they are planning to invest in. Understand their idiosyncrasy, their views, what they like and what they don’t, comes first. And nowadays with the boom of Data, it’s easier to do.
Aditya Bhelande – What would be your top three recommendations for Publishers as they try to get through COVID-19 and beyond?
Iván Falótico – Stay alert for new technologies. Expand your number of income sources. And most important of all, be agile.
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