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The news publishing industry may be getting squeezed by the pandemic economy, but for Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg, it set itself up for failure long ago, by leaning too heavily on advertiser revenue.
“When the United States became a national marketplace in the mid to late 19th century, that marketplace was so big, so vast and laden with opportunity that it just made much more economic sense to premise your revenues and growth as a publisher on advertising,” Rothenberg said on the Digiday Podcast.
Even the New York Times, which is riding a high of more than 6 million subscribers, is foreseeing a drop in ad revenue of up to 55% in the second quarter, leading its head of advertising to say layoffs are likely.
Rothenberg said that historically, that shortsightedness extended to magazines and even television — media products for which, in Europe, consumers paid premiums.
His big takeaway: ” You need to diversify your revenue streams. Period, full stop.
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