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President, Bauer Xcel Media
Bauer Xcel Media, the independently run digital division of Bauer Media Group, operates with programmatic-only ad sales in the US. According to Christian Baesler, Bauer Xcel Media’s president, the business has been self-sustaining since its inception in 2012. eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with Baesler about why the division’s sites, like J-14.com and InTouchWeekly.com, thrive with programmatic advertising, and what digital publishers should consider as they look to boost ad revenue.
eMarketer: Why does the programmatic-only ad sales model work for Bauer Xcel Media?
Christian Baesler: It didn’t make sense for us to follow what everyone else was doing online—work on building an audience and lose money, and then sell direct ads hoping to make it back. The programmatic approach—which in the beginning was only AdSense, but over time we accumulated up to 50 revenue partners externally—helped us grow revenue at the same pace as we grew traffic. If you double traffic, you usually don’t double revenue right away with a direct sales approach.