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Original boredom: Americans aren't excited about digital content from NYT, Conde Nast


By Bennett Bennett, Staff writer

April 24, 2018 | 5 min read

Only 2% of Americans who have watched digital content are excited for original video content from magazine publisher Conde Nast, confirmed a new study from Matrix Solutions.

Digital Boredom

Google and Hulu's original content gets American viewers excited, while Conde Nast and other legacy media struggle to excite / Kev Costello via Unsplash

The results arrived a week before the IAB's Digital NewFront event, where original digital video programming is showcased. On the other end of the spectrum, YouTube and Hulu received more positive results, as 57% of the 1,319 American adults Matrix and partner YouGov surveyed were excited about original content coming from Google’s video service, while Hulu garnered excitement from 32% of them.

However, Matrix noted that even with widespread interest and excitement for the original content coming from those two outlets, the data also indicates that Americans show little to no excitement around such content from the majority of publishers exhibiting at the IAB’s annual conference.

In fact, out of every other company that has plans to present at the conference, zero has netted excitement from more than 20 percent of Americans. Examples include ESPN and BBC, who received 17% and 16% support respectively. Twitter, which announced a plethora of livestreaming options last year, has one in seven, or 14% of Americans, interested in its original content. 10% are excited about digital work from the New York Times, while Verizon-owned Oath and Disney Digital only have 7% interested in more.

Fusion Media Group has attracted less than 7% interest from Americans, while newer, social-first outlet Group Nine Media has the excitement from 3% of Americans. At the very bottom of this list: Conde Nast, which has been making an extended push into digital content offerings, including a joint partnership between mainstay Vogue and Vice Media.

Matrix noted three separate findings from this data. The first, according to Mark Gorman, Matrix’s chief executive, is due to the early stages of traditional publishers' push into the space: “The ‘pivot to video’ for publishers is still in its early stages and, as such, it may take a while for consumers to begin associating original video content with the Times and the BBC in the same way they do with YouTube and Hulu.”

Legacy names like The New York Times, BBC and ESPN, Gorman added, have done relatively well based off of name recognition compared to digital-first publishers such as Group Nine, but he noted: “they are experiencing a lack of awareness around their original digital video content.”

The second is that Americans are averse to digital ads. 52% of Americans who have watched original digital content in the last year do not enjoy any forms of online advertising, said the study. Only 6% did prefer digital video, with about 14% preferring social media ads and 13% into ads displayed on search engines.

Targeting, a problem the industry has tried to solve through programmatic and addressable methods, has not proven to be a true solution yet. 76% of respondents said they don’t experience video ads tailored to them, while 25% don’t believe that ads are tailored to them at all.

Finally, even though the industry has implemented emerging tech as a conduit for video consumption, American consumers have been slowly adjusting. The good news for publishers like The New York Times, CNN and USA Today: 13% consumers are excited to experience how brands and media companies are experimenting with emerging tech, and about 12% would be more receptive or interested in ads created for VR and AR versus more traditional digital methods.

Gorman summed up the findings, adding: “Traditional and lesser known media companies might want to consider rethinking their approach to video and how they promote it. If it begins resonating more with everyday people, brands and advertisers are more likely going to want to be a part of it.”

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