Publishers take on advertising giants with co-operative alliances

Publishers across the world are setting up co-operative alliances to increase their advertising power. While these are not bona fide co-operative enterprises, they aim to help publishers work...

Publishers across the world are setting up co-operative alliances to increase their advertising power. While these are not bona fide co-operative enterprises, they aim to help publishers work co-operatively, combining data and inventories to achieve greater scale.

Most recently, Rubicon Project, a technology company enabling the buying and selling of advertising, announced the launch of the first “publisher co-operative” outside Europe on its platform. This model enables publishers to gain a competitive advantage against large-scale competitors.

Rubicon has also supported the launch of two other co-ops: Real Premium Audiences Media Place in Argentina and HOPPex in Hungary. RPA Media Place offers access to the premium inventory of the country’s biggest media owners, including Infobae, La Nación, Perfil, Telefé and Group Clarin.

HOPPex also includes three of Hungary’s biggest premium media companies – CEMP, Central Médiascoport and Origo with an estimated 90% reach in the region. The alliance will aim to encourage the adoption and education of automation in the Hungarian advertising industry and enable the publishers to compete with larger digital competitors.

“The underlying concept of the co-operative model is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that by banding together within the Rubicon Project technology platform – the largest independent advertising marketplace in the world – media owners are able to continue to grow programmatic revenues and compete more effectively with digital giants both in terms of national reach and data,” said Jay Stevens, general manager of international for the Rubicon Project.

“The establishment of a co-operative in Argentina is a clear signal that markets outside Europe understand that in order to compete effectively in certain markets against the hyper-efficient models of search and social, they must unite together. By leveraging the various benefits of the co-operative model, these alliances are able to create a programmatic ‘must buy’, rich with data and in a safe, well-lit environment, adjacent to premium editorial content.”

Rubicon has also formed a technology partnership enabling the establishment of five publisher co-operative alliances in France, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Italy and Greece. In March, leading publishers including the Guardian, CNN, Financial Times, Reuters and the Economist formed Pangaea Alliance, a digital advertising alliance with a global audience of 110m individuals. As partners share their first-party data, Pangaea offers advertisers the chance to better understand an audience.

La Place Media was the first publisher co-op alliance in Europe

The first publisher co-operative alliance in Europe, La Place Media in Paris brings together five of the country’s biggest media players. TF1 Publicité, Figaro Medias, France Télévisions Publicité, Amaury Médias and Lagardere Publicité joined forces to compete with the scale and data assets of Google and Facebook.

The model gives premium publishers the chance to pool their quality first-party data and ensure it remains under their control. At the same time this enables them to optimise pricing across all supply and to become more efficient in the way they engage and meet the needs of their buyers.

But a spokesman for Cooperar, Argentina’s national federation of co-operatives says that even though Real Premium Audiences Media Place brands itself as a co-operative the publishers forming it are “part of the same economy of concentrated capital as Google”. Co-operatives in Argentina are now able to own their own media channels and publications following a change in legislation.

Today the country’s co-operatives own 450 television channels, 300 newspapers and 300 radio stations. “We have contributed to the process of democratising speech,” says Ariel Guarco, president of Cooperar.

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