Mail Metro Media has joined the rest of the UK newsbrand sector’s biggest publishers in partnering with Ozone, the industry-backed online ads sales house, after agreeing to a six-month “pilot partnership”.
The pilot, which began on 1 March, has brought MailOnline, Metro.co.uk, inews.co.uk and newscientist.com to the platform. The partnership will run for a “minimum” of six months.
Ozone launched as the Ozone Project in 2018 as a joint venture to sell display ads and pool publishers’ data at scale, jointly backed by News UK, Guardian News & Media, Telegraph Media Group and Reach.
DMG Media, owner of MailOnline and the Daily Mail, has always been a glaring absence from Ozone because MailOnline commands such a large audience among UK newsbrands. Ozone said the inclusion of Mail Metro Media’s 30 million monthly readers will “significantly enhance the frequency by which brands can reach consumers” and increase Ozone’s daily reach by more than 16%.
Mail Metro Media will continue to sell premium, “cross media audience targeted solutions” directly to agencies and brands, while Ozone will complement this with “programmatic enablement of scaled audiences”, across DMG’s portfolio of websites.
However, the move opens the door to DMG Media entering into the joint venture launched by its rivals five years ago and comes within weeks of the four founding shareholders announcing a new wave of funding for Ozone. The platform’s ad revenue increased by 61% in 2022, it reported, outpacing the 7.4% AA/WARC forecast for online display advertising by more than eight-fold.
The number of brands buying ad inventory on Ozone increased by 48% last year, it said, and the company has also introduced new formats such as Ozone Stories (in partnership with WPP’s MediaCom, now EssenceMediacom) and Premium Only Video pre-roll, which has helped it to broaden trading partnerships with media-buying agencies.
Magazine and newer digital newsbrands are also part of Ozone, such as 2022 joiners Buzzfeed, HuffPost UK, Mumset, and Asian Media Group. It has also launched a Biddable Management Service catered for small and medium-sized publishers.
Damon Reeve, CEO of Ozone, said: “We talk about Ozone being a home for premium publishers of all sizes and guises, but few are more impressive in scale than the Mail Metro Media portfolio and we’re very excited to welcome their brands to commence this pilot.
“Their inclusion really reinforces Ozone’s mission of creating a more sustainable future for journalism by offering advertisers a really easy and effective way of reaching online audiences. While every partner signing is incredibly significant, welcoming Mail Metro Media is monumental for the growth of the premium publishing industry at large.”
Mail Metro Media separately announced a new look for Metro today, alongside a new ad solution for the publication.