Scroll: Can digital media get away from ads?

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Ads are both a boon and a problem for digital media groups. Today Vox Media launches an alternative business model worth considering.

I already discussed already a few times how bad it is that ads are still the default monetization mode digital media. In term of business model, they still use the same playbook as soap operas in the sixties. Not only this stifles innovation in this field, it also creates hostility with the consumers. If in doubt, check how much ad blockers have become mainstream…

In response to this, Scroll was launched today by the US group Vox Media. For once, I’d say that the idea is both simple and elegant. Scroll acts as an ad blocker working for the media group. Pay for Scroll, and Vox Media will remove ads from their webpages (most of them):

Before / After Scroll

This is somehow another form of paywall for content. Here content is not blocked if you don’t pay, it is smeared by ads. Vox argues that paying them is fair — and I can’t agree more, but also that in the end they even would make slightly more money than just selling our eyeballs to advertisers.

Sounds like a win-win right?

Well, yes. But my concern is that this model is somehow trying to have it both ways. When they say « Building a better internet, one site at a time. » I’d argue that they keep on building a poor internet and then offer to fix it. This sounds just a tiny bit like passive-aggressive ransomware.

But will see where this goes. I’m for sure very interested on how they will manage to push this idea a few months from now.

Meanwhile:

Tagged digital media, paywall, Scroll, Vox media
Philippe Méda

Philippe Méda

Philippe has been training about 200 startups a year since 2007, consulted for dozens of multinationals on rupture innovation or corporate incubation. He also teaches innovation in key MBA programs in Paris and Shanghai.
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