Media Pitch: Sourcepoint Combats the Ad Blocking Problem by Reframing Content’s Value
Sourcepoint, the brainchild of former Google general manager Ben Barokas and his co-founders Brian Kane, Geir Magnusson, Jeroen Seghers, and Joseph Carlucci, was created to solve the issue of ad blocking for publishers. But the Sourcepoint CEO explained that he and his team soon realized that ad blocking was just a symptom of a much bigger problem -- the breakdown of communication between publishers and readers about the value of content. Sourcepoint aims to reestablish that line of communication by prompting ad block users before they view content to either opt-in to the ad experience or compensate the publisher in some other way. Barokas says that this is a critical step to create a dialogue between readers and publishers and reverse current perceptions of content’s value. Here Barokas explains how Sourcepoint was created and the future he envisions for content monetization.
Who are you? What is your technology and how does it work? Who are the entrepreneurs behind it?
Sourcepoint is a technology platform that enables publishers to offer consumers content compensation alternatives that foster open, balanced, and transparent value exchange.
I founded the business last year along with Brian Kane, COO, Geir Magnusson, CTO, Jeroen Seghers, CMO, and Joseph Carlucci, GM – a team of professionals with unrivalled experience in delivering technology and consultative services to publishers. Between us we’ve worked with some of the largest media companies in the world and now we’re helping those same companies deal with the challenges associated with ad block usage and in doing so, helping to create a more balanced and sustainable media ecosystem.
Explain your existence: What problem are you solving or opportunity are you enabling? How are you unique and innovative?
We founded Sourcepoint to help publishers regain control of the monetization of their properties in the face of growing consumer ad block adoption. But ad block usage is a symptom of a wider and more complex problem -- the lack of an explicit and transparent value exchange between users and media owners. Reestablishing this value exchange is vital to safeguard publisher ad revenue, encourage the development of high quality content, promote a greater user experience, and ensure that publishers can continue to fund content production. We provide a holistic solution that enables publishers to communicate with users, and offer choice on how they compensate media owners.
Inspiration: How did you come up with this idea? How does your new tech solution reflect changes and trends underway in the media world?
I came up with the idea behind Sourcepoint when I was working at Google, heading up marketplace development. I had publishers, particularly from Germany and France, coming to me asking for help in addressing the ad blocking problem they were facing. I saw this as an opportunity to create a solution that took a different approach to ad blocking. As I spent more time engaging with premium publishers it became clear that ad blocking was just a symptom -- and any long-term, sustainable solution that got to the root of the issue would need to help content creators and content consumers engage in an open, transparent dialogue around the value exchange of ads served and content produced.
Results: How have you or do you plan to help media companies increase revenue or cut costs? Can you quantify this?
We help publishers engage in dialogue with their visitors about compensation choice and in doing so, enable them to better cope with the rising use of ad blockers. Since the rise of digital content, the internet has relied on an implicit value exchange of “view ads in return for content”, we’re working to make this transaction explicit. By identifying those with ad block software installed, we enable publishers to deploy messaging to these users, reestablishing a dialogue around content compensation. Publishers can then seek to regain revenues associated with these users or, if preferred, prevent access to content.
Share some wisdom: What do you think are the most important trends affecting the media business today? What do you see that no one else sees?
A growing concern for all should be the increasing number of services that have ad blocking turned on by default -- such as mobile carrier level ad-blocking. In these cases, ad blocking is no longer offered on an opt-in basis, but is on by default for all subscribers across the wireless carrier’s network.
To ensure that publishers can retain control over how they generate revenues -- and in doing so, fund content development efforts -- it’s critical that they take action and regain direct dialogue with their audiences.
What’s Next? How do you plan on expanding or improving on your offering? Where do you see opportunities for growth?
Opportunities for growth lie in the development of models that empower publishers to communicate with users at “choice moments”. In the short term this can be traditional ad-supported models, customizable ad experiences, consumer communication, or subscriptions models. In the longer term, we have our sights set on creating an offering that enables consumers to access content across multiple properties across a broad spectrum of categories for a single fee -- a paid option for a no-ad or minimal ad version, think ‘Spotify for digital content’ -- where subscribers would get access to major premium publishers for a single monetary payment.
Ben is CEO and Co-founder of Sourcepoint, where he is driving the next evolution of the internet – content compensation – providing publishers with solutions to foster a transparent value exchange with consumers. Ben is a serial entrepreneur with a unique ability to identify market opportunities and the conviction to turn them into thriving companies.
In 2007, Ben founded global supply-side solution Admeld. This was later acquired by Google, where Ben went on to head up the Global Marketplace Development team. Prior to founding Admeld, Ben was Vice President of Advertising at Jump TV and Director of Advertising Products as The Fifth Network. He also spent six years at AOL running ad product development and operations.