News Corp. Digital Chief Stresses Dual Revenue Stream

The future of online advertising is multiple revenue streams, at least according to the CEO of News Corp.’s digital business, Jonathan Miller.

During the OnMedia conference in NYC yesterday, Miller, chief digital officer for News Corp., was joined by OpenX CEO Tim Cadogan for a discussion on the future of digital ads. Although both agreed that further innovation around the medium was likely to help grow its value for both publishers and advertisers, Miller echoed News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch’s belief that subscription models are essential to underwrite the production of quality content.

“News Corp. has been very vocal about its belief that content has a value, particularly around journalism. I think it does, and I do think you need more revenue streams to support it,” Miller said. “Free versus paid misses the point, you have to have more than one source of revenue to be healthy over time, and that’s what we’re trying to set up for our digital media businesses,” he added.

In response to questioning from an audience member, Miller added that News Corp “believes in e-readers, tablets and pads,” and that the proliferation of such devices will ultimately “redefine the consumption of content,” particularly in relation to news.

Shying from the paid versus free debate, Cadogan instead emphasized the areas of innovation he believed could help bring about a “renaissance” in the medium, most notably around more effective audience identification, brand safety, and measurement in relation to other media.

He suggested advances in the latter would help unlock some of the big brand dollars still sitting in traditional media.

Yesterday, New Corp. reported a $32 million dip in earnings from its digital media group for its last quarter, attributed by Murdoch to falling ad revenue. He added, however, that its social networking site MySpace has seen “signs of traffic stabilization,” thanks to the management restructuring that took place late last year.

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