CANNES — At this point in the evolution of media, many major-brand advertisers are looking far beyond local news as a marketing channel.
To many, news itself has become a problematic channel, whilst the increased scale offered by national or global distribution has proved more attractive.
But some of that could be about to change, as ad agencies seem keen to rediscover the strengths of local media. To fully capitalize, however, they are looking for some upgrades to be made.
In this video interview with Beet.TV, Israel Mirsky, executive director of the OMD media agency, says he is now using black lists and white lists, plugged in to digital ad buying platforms, to ascertain the “brand safety” of inventory available for purchase through various publishers. The trouble is, those lists are not yet quite deep enough.
“Maintaining inventory that comes from some of the smaller local and regional news organizations – not only in the US, but outside – becomes more challenging,” he explains. “Reputability is a concern.”
Why does Mirsky think local news media could be valuable again?
“Trust in local news is actually quite high, a lot higher than in what most would consider mainstream media,” he says. “It’s about 76% of folks trust local news versus around 50% for national media.
“The problem is scale. Achieving scale through local news is challenging. Sorting through all of the individual organizations is a problem and there isn’t a great way of aggregating that inventory right now. We’re starting to look for alternative solutions.”
One of those solutions is United for News, a coalition comprising advertisers’ agencies, tech platforms and journalism non-profits that is working to restore the strength of local news media around the world.
Beside other initiatives, United For News is compiling a reputability index for local news outlets around the world. The theory goes, if that could be plugged in to ad buying platforms, advertisers would be encouraged to spend more in local news, thus helping to restore revenue to quality publishers.
Organizations like United For News are interesting because they can help us get a reputation level out of the smaller publishers that we can then apply potentially to our buying strategies.
Writing on Business Insider recently, Mirsky said that local news outlets are a good foil against misinformation and can deliver value to advertisers – but he was critical that local media stakeholders were not present at Cannes Lions to discuss this.
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