Why publishers are brand building, with Ozone CEO Damon Reeve

Why publishers are brand building, with Ozone CEO Damon Reeve

Ozone CEO Damon Reeve joins Jack Benjamin to discuss the state of news publishing and how publishers are navigating a pivot away from relying on social media for audience growth and toward building up their own brands.

The pair also speak about consumers’ waning trust in news, advertisers’ trust in publishers, and how outlets are working to diversify their revenue.

“If brands took an active interest in knowing where their advertising spend goes, very quickly you would see that spend gravitate towards places that are trusted and safe,” said Reeve.

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This episode was edited by our production partner Trisonic.

After months of it being an open secret that Facebook was looking to reduce its emphasis on news, parent company Meta announced this month it would be “deprecating” news on the platform in the UK, France, and Germany beginning in December.

While publishers likely saw this coming, it is just the latest bit of news in what has been a challenging year for the digital publishing industry. Digital darlings BuzzFeed News and Vice have gone under, meanwhile local news continues to experiment with new business strategies and tabloids have looked to expand their audiences in the face of business pressure, primarily in the American market.

On the other hand, historical broadsheets like The Telegraph, Guardian, and Times have remained successful, and advertisers have signaled a continued interest in supporting premium digital content, such as through increasingly working to get ads off of lower-quality Made for Advertising websites.

Helping publishers through this period of digital transition has been Ozone. Launched in 2018, Ozone is a digital advertising alliance. Originally backed by the UK’s largest premium publishers including News UK, Guardian News & Media, Telegraph Media Group, and Reach, though its partners have since expanded, Ozone aims to sell display ads and pool publishers’ data at scale.

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