The New York Times Speaks Out Against Ad Blocking; Major Pubs Sign On To Incentivized Traffic

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Taking A Stand

“Trying to use and get benefit of the Times’ journalism without making any contribution to how it’s paid is not good,” said New York Times CEO Mark Thompson in a speech about ad blocking Tuesday. “Everything we do should be worth paying for.” Thompson went on to say ad-blocking companies that allow publisher whitelisting are proponents of extortion, and added the company will consider restricting ad-block users from reading the Times’ online content. The IAB has taken that position too (and quite aggressively), but it comes with a different authority from the Gray Lady. People like ad blockers, but they also like accessing the best content online. More.

Quality Time?

Major publishers like Condé Nast and New York magazine will partner with incentive-based ad company Jun Group to boost traffic. Jun Group rewards readers who remain on a piece of content for a certain amount of time (by offering, say, app game credits or reward points). Jun Group CEO Mitchell Reichgut says his company “delivers real people to sites in a way where they are much more open to advertising” and actually improves traffic quality by screening out bots. But many see incentivized traffic as a scammy move to game ratings from comScore and other measurement companies by juicing time spent per user. The Media Rating Council says incentivized traffic is fine as long as it’s transparent. More.   

Agency Shuffle

Mindshare promoted three veteran execs to run its North American business. Ernie Simon, a decade-long Mindshare and GroupM exec, will succeed Colin Kinsella as the CEO of North America. Adam Gerhart becomes CEO for the United States. And Cindy Gustafson will replace Jordan Bitterman as US chief strategy officer.  Bitterman will exit Mindshare along with fellow Digitas alum Kinsella. More in Ad Age.

Think Big

The local newspaper industry got clobbered by the digital migration. Lukas Alpert at The Wall Street Journal highlights the 142-year-old Dover, NH, paper Foster’s Daily Democrat, which suffered an almost 50% circulation decline. But Foster’s Daily, and many other similarly entrenched publications, are being snapped up by powerful investors who see new value in manufacturing scale out of small, local outlets. The category is still dominated by the giants you know (such as Gannett and Berkshire Hathaway), but the most aggressive newcomer is New Media Investment Group, which nearly doubled its revenue last year and is coming up fast on publishing giants like The New York Times and Tribune in overall revenue. Read on.

But Wait, There’s More!

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