Looking Forward: A New Year’s Message from Broadstreet’s CEO

2020’s in the rear-view mirror — here’s what’s on the roadmap

As we look forward to 2021, Broadstreet CEO Kenny Katzgrau recently shared his thoughts on the challenges 2020 presented and the roadmap forward for Broadstreet and our customers, including the three areas on which we’ll be heavily focused in 2021.


Dear Broadstreet Customers,

I’ve gotten into the habit of sending out a note at the end of the year, usually with a theme in place, looking over the last year and forward to the new one.

Last year I wished you clarity. It had become apparent that the core revenue generators for independent publishers is creative display advertising, sponsored content, and reader revenue. There are certainly other forms of revenue too. But those are currently the pillars on which most of us stand.  

What became immediately clear was that the year was full of the unexpected. Revenue goals and plans suffered setbacks in many cases. 

Did we get that year of clarity?

When our collective backs are to the wall, we tend to think more clearly and creatively. Many of you took what was a setback and turned it into an opportunity to build a subscriber base. Many of you began exploring programmatic, building your newsletter lists, and exploring new forms of low-cost and high impact advertising. In many ways, we did get clarity; even if it wasn’t in the way we wanted to.

But really, what keeps us all marching? Why do we continue to push the rock up the hill? Why do we keep our heads down and working when others feel like it’s time to give up?

That became clear too:  We have purpose. All of us.


I doubt there are many who got into publishing for the money. Money is incredibly important to every business, and we tend to set goals around it. But the thing that keeps the wheels rolling is our drive to keep our communities, readers, and industries informed.

Purpose is the thing which we know the intrinsic value of — and that we’re the ones for the job. It’s what we would probably do even if there was no shot of getting paid. Importantly, it’s also the thing the world needs us to do.

If you can take those ideas: a personal mission and world that needs you to execute it, and patiently but persistently build a sustainable level of revenue in the process, you have the single most important foundation for growing a business. 

Broadstreet’s team has purpose: to make sure our customers are best positioned in the long-term to carry out their missions. We know how important our role is, because we know how important your role is.

Over the last year, we ran  the most in-depth digital ad sales webinar series available. We ran  the most detailed webinar series on successfully launching a news publication. We doubled our team’s size and  won our second annual LION Service Award. We ran an  advertiser retention webinar due to COVID . We worked with many customers on billing when cashflow was in the midst of a crunch. Lastly,  we launched SideStreet and are currently onboarding the first cohort of users.

At the beginning of the year, most of that wasn’t planned. But 2020 forced us to think about how we could better serve our customers. I’d like to think we took something that was likely to be a setback and turned it into an opportunity for us and for our customers.


So where do we go from here? The only option for anyone with a sense of purpose is to accelerate into, and through 2021. The world will always hand us the unexpected, and we’ll continue to use it for fuel throughout the year.

Over the next year, we’ll be heavily focused on three things:

1. High Volume Native Ad Units:  Building out a new library of attractive native-style units designed to cleanly handle many advertisers at smaller price points. As we come out of lockdowns, it’ll be important to reacquire any lost advertisers in a way that makes sense for them and for you.

2. Even More Rapid Spec-Ad Creation:  Broadstreet has moved beyond what a traditional “Ad Manager” would do. Broadstreet is a sales driver for its users. We’re actively working on ways to rapidly build spec ads, pitch them to your prospects, and reduce the amount of time you need to win and renew customers.

3. Growing SideStreet:  Our new programmatic revenue solution will be a critical aid to publishers who wish to monetize their unsold inventory.

There will, of course, be other important items that we work on. But it’s our sense of purpose that has driven our divergence from what the rest of the world considers an “Ad Manager.” We exist to serve anybody who relies on direct sales. And driving toward that goal, we will continue to redefine the “ad manager’s” role in helping you successfully execute your own, purposeful, mission.

I’m looking forward to working with you in 2021. Like last year, we’ll undoubtedly run into more surprises. But we’ll never forget what we do and why we do it. That’s going to continue to separate us from those that don’t.

Best of luck in 2021, and happy new year.

– Kenny Katzgrau & the Broadstreet Team

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