Articles about "Advertising"


Newspapers’ ad consortium with Yahoo reboots

An early attempt to boost digital advertising at newspaper organizations by cross-selling local advertising with Yahoo will be attempting an update and relaunch over the next several months.

The goal remains to use the local sales force of 700 participating dailies to sell retail ads to an expanded audience including those who go to an aggregator like Yahoo as their gateway to finding news.

But much else has changed since the partnership started in 2008, Chris Hendricks, digital chief at McClatchy and Rusty Coats, the consortium’s executive director, told me in a phone interview:

  • The partnership is shedding the dated official name of The Newspaper Consortium for The Local Media Consortium.
  • Yahoo remains as a partner, but not an exclusive one. The consortium hopes to add other significant digital players by the end of the year, Hendricks and Coats said.
  • Also the local partner ranks, still heavy with newspaper organizations, now include some local broadcast websites.
  • With its expanded roster, the partnership can deliver up to 200 million monthly unique visitors and 1.7 billion page views, Hendricks and Coats said. That’s a far bigger reach than leading news sites like, The Huffington Post or the Guardian.
  • The pricing model is changing. Up until now revenues have been split, reportedly 50-50, between Yahoo and the local newspaper partners. Going forward, Coats said, “National partners have local inventory that Consortium members buy at wholesale rates and sell at retail rates. This puts the upside in the seller’s control.”

The occasion for the changes is that five-year contracts are expiring, Hendricks said. Also technology improvements allow for an upgrade of what Coats and Hendricks call “the plumbing,” simplifying placements and billing.  Ad networks were in their infancy and programmatic buying had not started, Hendricks said, when the arrangement was launched.

When the concept was announced in late 2006, I headlined my report, “The Yahoo Partnership — Big Deal or No Big Deal?” The results have been neither a flop or a runaway success (though the consortium consistently declines to release revenue figures).

McClatchy did report for the second quarter of 2009 (during the worst of the print advertising swoon) that its retail digital-only ad sales were up 50 percent year to year thanks to the partnership.  Yahoo, Hendricks said, provided “plenty of support for training” local sales teams.  But other organizations that did not get that training had disappointing results.

Then, as now, some of the largest newspapers and chains are on the sidelines — Gannett, Tribune, Advance and The New York Times among them. But the structure remains appealing to independent organizations and smaller chains.

In the era of ad exchanges, Coats said, “a lot of middle men are sucking away the revenue.” So an industry-controlled consortium lets the participating organizations keep more of what they sell.

The arrangement is non-exclusive so papers can maintain other channels that are working for them. Digital First, which manages Journal Register and MediaNews papers, for instance will continue to operate its own exchange, Ad Taxi.

The win-win logic of the consortium remains intact, in my view. Yahoo and other digital giants have uniques by the millions but generally have been unable to build local sales forces. Newspaper sites, except for the very biggest, lack the traffic to attract certain advertisers and have especially suffered over the last several years as the huge volume of digital inventory drives down rates.

This particular initiative, Coats and Hendricks confirmed, is all about numbers. But it comes at a time when newspapers organizations are also exploring better targeting via so-called “big data,” and newer formats like sponsored content and video pre-rolls that command higher rates.

I am among those who have written frequently about banner blindness, the irritation of intrusive digital ads and the shortfall of digital ad gains compared to ongoing print losses.  However, it is probably worth noting that while digital advertising hasn’t fully met expectations it’s not nothing either — now accounting for 15 to 20 percent of advertising at top performing organizations.

Best case, the 2.0 version of the consortium could contribute to stronger growth over the next several years. Read more


Ad campaign: Florida has more newspaper readers than alligators

National Newspaper Week begins Oct. 6, and its organizers have released 37 state-specific ads celebrating the Daily Miracles. Most take a fact about the state they serve and compare it to statistics about newspaper readers, such as Louisiana’s “Who dat? Dat’s Louisiana’s newspaper readers filling the Superdome 36 times!

Here are some of my favorite ads from the series. Click to view bigger versions. Read more


Business concerns left Washington Post magazine’s education issue with only one education story

The Washington Post

Pressure from The Washington Post’s business side bumped two stories from the Post Magazine’s Aug. 11 education issue, leaving it with just one story about education. The business people objected to two planned stories, Erik Wemple writes:

One was on college drinking by reporter Jenna Johnson; another was an interview by reporter Nick Anderson with the outgoing College of William and Mary rector about whether Virginia’s public universities would get with the times on benefits for gay and lesbian couples.

Johnson’s story ran in a later edition of the magazine; Anderson’s ended up in Metro. Read more

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Monocle EIC: ‘All good journalists are good salespeople too’

Digiday | LinkedIn | iMediaEthics

We absolutely never, ever use the term native advertising,” Monocle Editor-in-Chief Tyler Brûlé tells Alex Kantrowitz about his publication’s embrace of branded content.

If the company’s infrastructure blurs the church-and-state divide between editorial and sales, it’s by design. Editors accompany ad directors on sales calls. “I’m of the opinion that all good journalists are good salespeople too,” Brûlé said. While the ad team discusses pricing and tries to close the business, editors give Monocle’s potential clients insight into the publication’s editorial calendar and explain the reasoning behind certain editorial decisions.

The payoff? A campaign for Samsung “brought in roughly one million dollars and native ads can, depending on the month, account for up to one quarter of Monocle’s total revenue,” Kantrowitz reports. Read more


A mid-year question for newspapers: What ails national advertising & can it be fixed?

Gannett kicked off the second-quarter earnings season for newspaper companies Monday, and the mixed results contained a glimmer of potentially good news for the industry.

National advertising for Gannett’s U.S. publishing was up for the quarter compared to the same period in 2012 — a modest 2.1 percent, but still up. And that may or may not translate to broader industry-wide improvement in a very troubled category.

Asked by analysts what drove the turnaround, CEO Gracia Martore said on a conference call that the biggest factor “was the strong team that we have put in place over the last year at USA Today, where the vast majority of our national revenue resides. I think it is just doing a terrific job … especially (presenting) the continuing value of our print product.” In short, Gannett could be a special case.

Without much notice, national print advertising has become the worst problem child among many soft categories for the industry in the last several years. According to Newspaper Association of America statistics, national print advertising fell 11.7 percent in 2012, worse than classified (down 8 percent), worse than retail (down 7.6 percent).  And that was on the heels of a 10.5 percent decline in 2011. 

It is hard to say whether 2013 has been any better for national. As NAA tries to put together a broader measure of ad revenues, the compilation takes longer; no industry-wide figures for this year are available yet.

Among public companies, Gannett was down 5.2 percent in the first quarter. The New York Times Co. with a national mix heavy on luxury goods and entertainment, was down 10 percent in national and 11.2 percent overall for the quarter.

Among regionally-oriented companies, E.W. Scripps publishing arm was off 21 percent in national in the first three months, but McClatchy was down only 0.9 percent.

The big picture explanation of the several year swoon is a so-called “secular” trend — the gradual shift of ad budgets to an assortment of digital marketing initiatives. And when marketers look for dollars to explore those new options, whittling down the print spending part of their budget is an attractive option.

But specific advertising categories make a difference, too. Asked by an analyst in an April earnings call about the New York Times Co.’s disappointing first quarter ad figures, digital and advertising chief Denise Warren replied:

“(It) was really a function of two categories, which are actually very large contributors to our overall base of business,…the entertainment category and the financial category…On the entertainment front, the results are really impacted by, quite frankly, a non-existent Oscar race. I don’t know if you recall, last year, the Oscar race was rather strong; this year, it was pretty lackluster. That has a material effect on our business. In addition, we are seeing less spending from the studios on sustaining campaigns as their release windows shorten.

Financial was impacted by steep declines in banking investment in the credit card segment.

She added, “We are seeing a different trend in the second quarter — it is a better trend.”  The Times will release second quarter results August 1.

Earlier this summer, I spoke with Ray Chelstowski, a magazine industry veteran who has taken over the NAA’s National Newspaper Network ad sales operation. He, too, pointed to specific categories — telecom, pharmaceuticals and financial. None have disappeared, but big campaigns have ebbed in recent years.

Big Pharma, for instance, does not have as many new branded drugs coming to the market as in its glory days a decade ago. While national chain stores fall in the retail category, Chelstowski added, changes at a single company can have an impact. J.C. Penney named a new CEO in mid-2011, who tried a version of WalMart’s everyday pricing, with fewer sales and less price advertising.

Since he was deposed in April this year by Penney’s board, the retailer has gone back to the weekly specials its customers prefer and resumed its earlier level of newspaper insert advertising.

In better times, as one category of intense advertising competition would fade, another would pick up. Gannett’s Martore said something like that may happen later this year as state-by-state insurance “exchanges” are phased in as part of Obamacare and providers compete with aggressive ad campaigns — as they already do in marketing supplementary Medicare coverage.  But she expected more benefit to the TV side of Gannett’s business than the publishing operation.

Gannett’s report also exemplified where the industry stands in trying to replace sinking print advertising revenues. The company reported a 11.4 percent growth in circulation in its community newspaper group as paywalls continue to be phased in. (USA Today and Gannett’s British group were not as strong, pulling total publishing circulation revenue growths down to 6 percent).

Digital marketing services and the rest of Gannett’s digital division and local television operations also showed strong revenue gains — but not enough to offset the continued print advertising declines.

Analyst Ken Doctor took note of the shortfall of replacement revenues in his assessment of the mid-year state of the industry last week:

The U.S. newspaper industry found itself 2 percent down in revenue for 2012, as circulation revenue grew 5 percent year over year. The big 2013 aspiration: getting to zero growth. At the current rate, that aspiration will go largely unmet by the larger dailies.

The reason: Print ad loss is accelerating. It seemed that the Great Recession accelerated the shift in ad dollars moving to digital; now it looks like the Mild Recovery is doing the same. Expect print ad losses to parallel last year’s, approaching 9 percent….

Circulation revenue gain plus tepid digital ad growth can’t match that 9 percent, so expect again a year of year-over-year revenue decline. That’s been the case since 2006. The bottom line is this: The only way to maintain profitability as revenues continue to drop is to cut expenses, staff, days of printing, or anything deemed least essential.

I’m a little more optimistic, thinking that national advertising and retail may have gotten  modestly better during the second quarter and may continue to improve though the rest of the year.

But cost control, the newsroom included, will remain the order of the day.

The bigger question this year and for several more will be whether newspapers can make money as they follow growing reader preference for getting news on smartphones and tablets. That requires stronger, tailored news products for the devices and cracking the code for advertising presentation that works in the medium and generates revenue beyond the ever-so-modest contribution to date. Read more

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hand with money

Edelman’s new report suggests an ‘ethical framework’ for paid content

Edelman | Forbes | PRWeek | New York Times | The Atlantic

A new paper by public relations firm Edelman takes on the ethical issues of paid content in an attempt to start a discussion about developing guidelines for this type of content

Chief content strategist Steve Rubel interviewed 30 media companies for the report, released Tuesday, to develop what it calls “an ethical framework” for promoting paid content.

Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici summarizes that framework a list of “ideals” that should get the industry talking. Those ideals include disclosure, an opportunity for feedback, and a “non-porous organizational divide between those who produce and place sponsored content and those who work directly with journalists.”

Rubel told PRWeek’s Sarah Shearman that many companies use their own guidelines when creating paid content, and there is no industry-wide standard. Read more


Upworthy, NYT experimenting with new ad formats and revenue models

Digiday | Fast Company | Nieman Journalism Lab

After a dramatic increase in traffic in the last few months, news aggregator Upworthy has begun to experiment with some new advertising models to turn those eyeballs into dollars. Digiday’s Josh Sternberg explains:

Upworthy is running an ad program with Skype to distribute advertising videos. For example, here’s a Skype video Upworthy shared of Denis, a man who came to the U.S. from Uganda and couldn’t return. He uses Skype to remain in contact with his family. At the bottom of the post, Upworthy tells its readers the following: “We were paid to promote this ad, but we only do that for things we think are actually Upworthy.”

Upworthy is also selling category sponsorships. For example, in a category of, say, global health, Upworthy would assign a “curator” to find related content, and a sponsor would underwrite that piece of content.

The site started up 14 months ago and now employs five full-time curators and 20 contributors. Its data-driven approach to choosing social content has led some to call it “the fastest growing media site of all time.”

Upworthy isn’t the only site planning new ad formats; The  New York Times announced Monday it will use some new Idea Lab work to adapt advertising for its iPad app. Read more


Research reveals ‘key to viral videos’

Harvard Business School

People share videos of ads when doing so makes them look good, according to research by Harvard Business School assistant professor Thales S. Teixeira.

People watch a lot of things online that they would never share with anyone,” Teixeira tells Carmen Nobel.

After comparing the sharing behavior with the emotional responses and personality tests, Teixeira found that the main motivation for viral sharing was egocentricity—the viewer’s desire to derive personal gain from sharing the video. In this case, the potential gain comes in the form of improving the viewer’s reputation among friends and family, for example. Thus, it behooves advertisers to create videos that not only will make the product look good but, if shared, will make the viewer look good, too.

That aligns with something Jeff Sonderman wrote for Poynter last year about why people share news: “A sharable story doesn’t have to be positive, it just has to be powerful,” Sonderman wrote.

It has to create within the reader a deep, authentic human emotion — joy, fear, irony, disgust, wonder.

Or narcissism, apparently. A New York Times marketing study of sharing identified several personality types predisposed toward sharing content, including what it called “Boomerangs”: People who share stuff because it reflects well on them. Read more


Twitter can now target viewers of specific TV shows with ads

Twitter | All Things D | The Wall Street Journal

Twitter will use “video fingerprinting technology” to track who was tweeting about a show, then direct ads to that person.

Whenever a commercial airs during a TV show, Twitter not only determines where and when it ran, but can identify users on Twitter who tweeted about the program where the ad aired during that program. We believe a user engaged enough with a TV show to tweet about it very likely saw the commercials as well.

Read more


OC Register drops adult ads

OC Weekly

An Orange County Register spokesperson confirms a report in the OC Weekly that the news organization will no longer accept adult ads.

The Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano quoted a letter from Michael H. Burns, The Orange County Register’s senior vice president for sales and marketing:

“While we wish you much success in your business, we believe the decision to not accept advertising of this category serves in the best interest of our audience.”

Register spokesperson Eric Morgan tells Poynter in an email that the letter went out in late April and was “sent to select businesses who operate gentleman’s clubs and massage parlors that include suggestive language such as ‘fully nude club,’ ‘private rooms’ and ‘sexy girls’ to advertise their services.” Read more