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The Starcom Punch session

October 2018
Written by James Field

The Starcom Punch session
The Starcom team

Last week we were invited to Starcom to talk to around 40 of their planning team for one of their ‘Punch’ sessions, where a media owner presents their proposition or product in a fun, impactful and engaging manner.

From what we’d heard, the bar had been set fairly high by previous media owners, so we really needed to pull out all the stops!

We decided to present an adaptation of our presentation “The Internet is Broken”, with a focus on the importance of open access (ad-funded) journalism.

There have been countless recent examples highlighting the importance of well-funded free press, many of which have had a profound impact on society; amongst them the exposure of Harvey Weinstein, and the role fake news played in the election of Donald Trump.

As part of the Punch session we had to be just that: ‘punchy’… and we decided that the best way to do that would be to have ‘The Donald’ himself join us (full disclosure: it was a fake-tanned, well-coiffed, very convincing lookalike!).

Katy with the Trump lookalike
Katy with The Donald.

We think it’s safe to say that Donald Trump has never gone down so well in a British office – his bold entry with a rant on “Crooked Hilary” was met with a sea of laughter and camera flashes.

The Donald or Fake News?

As we all know, Mr. Trump has repeatedly been a victim of Fake News, so who better to host our game…

Donald read out a series of quotes, and it was left to our audience to vote (in real-time via their phones) on whether the quote he read out was ‘The Donald’, or if it was Fake News.

A few of the gems that our audience correctly identified as being from the mouth of President Trump were:

“The concept of shaking hands is absolutely terrible, and statistically I’ve been proven right.”

“It’s freezing and snowing in New York. We need global warming!”

Play your cards right.

After exploring President Trump’s wisdom, we moved on to our next game, this time highlighting how much open-access publications – that play such an integral role in our society – are struggling financially.

We presented an adaptation of Bruce Forsyth’s classic game show Play Your Cards Right, where instead of playing cards, we used the ARPUs (Average Revenue Per User) of popular subscription services and publishers.

Bruce Forsyth with cards
Brucey in Play your cards right

This part of the presentation was certainly met with some surprised faces as we revealed how much each prominent brand made from their users in relation to others.

The one that shocked the most was just how little The Mail Online, the world’s largest online news brand, made from a single reader each year: a paltry 52p.

This highlighted to the audience how the current CPM ad model is not just inefficient for advertisers, and its UX frustrating for readers, but that it’s also unsustainable for the publishers themselves.

The ARPU results
A look at the ARPUs of the chosen brands

This led us perfectly to our final point: that Rezonence and FreeWall can solve the problems for all stakeholders involved in the broken Internet:

  • Readers can have the content they love – decluttered of advertising.
  • Advertisers can buy an effective and impactful ad.
  • Publishers can have a monetisation strategy that sustains their business.

The session was enthusiastically received, helping to emphasise to the Starcom team just how important premium publishing is to society, and how they, as planners, can play a vital part in keeping premium publishers alive and well funded – by using FreeWall in their plans, of course!

Watch the full presentation.

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