Around the world, news organizations are being caught in a perilous pincer movement.

On the one hand, many consumers are now ebbing away from classical news outlets, instead getting their information through social platforms.

On the other, advertisers are following suit – alarmed at either the consumer migration or the increasingly downbeat tenor of news stories in 2019, or both.

You may not expect an ad agency boss to give two hoots about news publishers – but John Montgomery thinks the problem is grave and existential.

“News organizations aren’t getting the revenue that they deserve because … marketers have been worried about adjacency to risky content,” says GroupM’s global brand safety EVP, in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“I think it’s (now) coming back, but it’s probably coming back a little too slowly. Marketers are finding that they can get impressions outside of news.”

But that belief isn’t all correct, Montgomery suggests. The news may be bad lately, but that doesn’t mean that bad news is a bad marketing environment.

“There are some very good quality impressions to be bought in news,” he says .”In fact, perhaps (there are) better quality impressions in news, because it’s around the issues of the day. So by not buying in news, we are missing out on a number of opportunities.”

In the US, Montgomery has seen consumer behavior flip, so that the majority of news consumption now occurs through social platforms.

And he wants to stop the destructive effect happening in less-mature news markets.

So GroupM is one of the partners working on United For News, a non-profit trying to help emerging news orgs battle disruptions from fake news to revenue pressure.

“This is a crisis for free press and potentially even for democracy,” he explains. “I think that (ad) buyers might say, ‘It’s not our job to save democracy. But we’ve had a couple of conversations with very big international marketers, and they’ve been responsive.

“We are going to them with a solution that gives them a large body of impressions, brand safety impressions, effective impressions created by journalists who understand local issues, local trends, and the local market. So they’re good quality impressions at a scale.”

This video is part of a Beet.TV series exploring the dynamic news landscape and opportunities for marketers.  The series is sponsored by CNN.  For more from the series, please visit this page.

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