Digitalbox CEO James Carter discusses 2023 challenges and strategies for growth

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Digitalbox PLC (AIM:DBOX) CEO James Carter tells Proactive’s Stephen Gunnion that 2023 marked the fifth consecutive year of profitability for the company despite facing significant challenges.

Carter said Digitalbox encountered difficulties due to audience loss from key platform changes, particularly by Meta and Facebook, and was impacted by the broader economic downturn affecting the UK and global ad markets. Despite these setbacks, the team addressed key platform issues, enhancing audience engagement for its primary brands, Entertainment Daily and The Tab, in the fourth quarter.

Strategic acquisitions, including TV Guide and a substantial social media following through a deal with Media Chain, have contributed positively, with notable audience growth and content amplification.

The global ad market remained subdued throughout 2023, with Digitalbox observing a flat ad market and a decrease in the programmatic digital market by 10 to 20%. Moving into the first quarter of 2024, the company has seen encouraging performance, although the ad market challenges persist. Carter highlighted Digitalbox’s resilience and growth in such a market, especially with The Tab increasing its average session values by 25%.

He also discussed the ongoing adjustments with Facebook and Google’s algorithms, impacting traffic and content distribution. Specific updates from Google and policy enforcement by Facebook have presented hurdles, but Digitalbox has managed to navigate these changes successfully.

The acquisition of media assets from Media Chain has allowed Digitalbox to reach younger demographics and significantly increase audience sizes for Entertainment Daily and The Tab.

Looking ahead, Digitalbox is focused on further developing its proprietary ad stack, Graphene, exploring new acquisition opportunities, and ensuring its brand portfolio is well-positioned to handle future platform changes.

With £1.9 million in cash at the end of 2023, Carter said the company is prepared to leverage opportunities presented by the current economic climate.

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