May 12, 2021

In the Roaring Twenties, Ads Make a Comeback

One of the legislators who has pushed to rein in the power of the tech giants, Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island who heads the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, said the improving advertising business would not dampen the appetite in Washington for a crackdown on “monopoly power” in Big Tech.

“These are structural problems in the marketplace, and none of that will be changed by a few strong quarters,” he said.

The boom in digital advertising is lifting online publishers, but they aren’t the biggest beneficiaries. Even as television is getting a smaller share of the advertising market, the most sought-after digital advertising outlets are the new “connected TV” platforms — places like Roku, Hulu and Viacom’s Pluto TV. Those platforms put old-fashioned television ads next to old-fashioned television shows, but also provide advertisers detailed data on who is watching.

At the same time, advertisers remain skittish of news, in particular, using key words to block display advertisements from appearing next to stories about polarizing subjects. The president of global news and entertainment at Vice, Jesse Angelo, said he had declined a request last year from an entertainment company that, while celebrating the Black Lives Matter movement on its own website, asked Vice to block its ads from appearing near the terms “Black,” “Black people” and “Black Lives Matter.”

The big picture, though, amounts to a kind of optimism unseen in the gloomy digital publishing business for nearly half a decade.

“I don’t know that I could’ve predicted it at this level,” said Bloomberg Media Group’s chief executive, Justin Smith. “We haven’t seen digital advertising growth in high double digits since maybe 2017.”

And it’s not just advertising. Media executives are scrambling to catch up with demand for the other elements of their business that have fallen out of favor as subscriptions ascended, notably events.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/18/business/media/subscriptions-advertising-media.html

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