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If you’re not Facebook, Google or Snapchat, you’re a niche advertising business

Any publisher who is not a big platform company is on the express train to becoming a niche ads business, predicts Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP and CRO of The New York Times. “Up until now, we’ve been a niche consumer business with a $1 billion-plus newspaper ad business,” Kopit Levien said, speaking Thursday at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview event in New York.“Now we’re on a path to becoming a very big consumer business and a niche ad business,” she added. “If you’re a content company and you’re not Facebook, Google or Snapchat, you’re in the niche ads business.”

Rob Norman, global chief digital officer for WPP’s GroupM, sat down with Kopit Levien and Dave Morris, CRO for CBS Interactive, on Thursday to assess how both major media organizations are grappling with fragmented consumer attention and growing platform domination.

Here were some of the salient points:

On blending subscription and ad-supported revenue.

MEREDITH KOPIT LEVIEN (NYT): We’re more driven by subscriptions than advertising now, so we’ve shifted the company toward [growing our] subscription rate. (On last count, The New York Times had about 1.6 million digital-only subscribers.)

We’ve had an awesome year for subscriptions, and not just due to the elections. Two things are driving that: frequency, depth and variety of content, and getting people to come back and feel deeply. If they read politics, maybe it’s getting them to read something else like fashion. We think we run the most successful model for paid journalism in the world.

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