CANNES — If you thought that putting up a news paywall shut out advertisers, think again.

Time after time, newspapers which have made the switch – at least, the big ones – have hailed a stronger offering for advertising brands, not a diluted one.

That has been one discovery of Joy Robins, four months after joining The Washington Post as chief revenue officer, after serving the same role at Quartz.

“We think of everything through a subscriber lens,” Robins says in this video interview with Beet.TV. “They drive two thirds of our page views. They’re incredibly engaged. The more that we have been able to bolster the subscriptions, the more that the overall engagement of the site.

“The more that we are engaging with our subscribers, the more that we are essentially breeding loyalty at scale.

“That’s something that we then can ultimately really be consultative to our brand partners about. It also starts to open the dimension of, ‘How do we create utility and tools for subscribers that ultimately brands can underwrite or better understand?'”

The rise of subscription and paid-for content, in a digital world that was once all about ad funding, is causing some ad buyers palpitations – the size of the available content hole is shrinking.

That comes after a period in which many news publishers sought hyper-inflated global audiences in pursuit of the massive scale that big brands crave.

But half-way subscription meters give publishers an opportunity to tell buyers the door is not shut, whilst many publishers say they are able to use an enhanced set of data from newly-loyal paying subscribers as part of a more attractive advertiser offer.

You are watching Beet.TV’s coverage of Cannes Lions 2019. For all of our Cannes coverage, please visit this page. Thank you to the sponsors of our festival coverage, which are Amobee, Innovid, Nielsen, RTL AdConnect and Teads. Special thanks to Hearts & Science for hosting Beet.TV for the Festival.

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