The Associated Press joins the Turner Network and their news arm CNN with native ad department Courageous, in making a branded content division for AP. Having 'content' creators sell their skills as a branded entertainment creator isn't new, every large media property from Buzzfeed to Gawker has been doing it pretty much since their inception, witch Gawker getting one third of its revenue from native ads. This is why you should install AdDetector and watch for product creep on your fave TV shows.
The AP, unlike CNN and Buzzfeed, is a wire service. News services used to subscribe to wire services, if the local paper couldn't afford to have someone stationed in Canada, they'd get the AP wire service. Now that there's competition from Reuters, and newspapers have been giving up their subscriptions to AP services, despite teh AP becoming ever more flexible in how to subscribe and cutting their prices.
The native advertising service idea grew out of another service AP has, “AP Assignments” produces high-quality photographic and video material for brands to build into theor own marketing materials. “It’s not so much an ad agency shop as a photography and video shop,” Caluori said to IBT. “A small agency within the AP, and the work is obviously not done by AP’s reporters.”
With that groundwork in place, the AP is making the logical jump to a full-on mini agency. “Some brands began to talk about going further and working with members to get ads published on their sites. So native ads allow us the opportunity to do more strategy work with the brands, and then deliver them across our members’ websites and create revenue that we share.”
They’re working with Nativo, a company specializing in designing, executing and measuring native ads. Instead of working on unique coding for every member site, subscribers will be able to flick a switch and have the sponsored content show up nicely integrated on the page.
Caluori emphasized that, like all respectable native ad operations, the copy would not be written or supervised by anyone on the editorial side, instead produced by freelancers or the brands themselves.
Hearst, one of the largest owners of newspapers across the country, is one of the first clients to test out AP’s new shop. “We’ve been in the branded content business for a long time, because of course, in print, we had advertorials," Hearst executive Karen Brophy said.
“We don’t want to spend the rest of our lives sticking stuff [like banner ads] all over the sites,” she said. “We want higher value advertising options for folks to offset declines in CPMs everyone’s seeing on display ads.” A CPM is an initialism for cost per mille, or thousand, and refers to the expense incurred by an advertiser for every thousand potential readers who see an advertisement.
Hearst newspapers have been doing native ads locally for a couple years now with advertisers like law firms and hospitals. AP’s inventory of sponsored content would help attract more local advertisers, Brophy said.
“It’s a studio branded content for local advertisers. I think that’s what places like the New York Times don’t have to contend with — we’re really local,” she said. “In Houston, we want to grow local media. We don’t want to go after national ads. We need to grow local business, and local advertisers really like this product.”
Advertising is dead, newspapers are dead, banners are dead. Long live the 30 second commercial.