The Media Oxpecker: Pew Digital Advertising Report ‘Unsurprising but Damning’

Every week we round up media & tech industry news you may have missed.

  • The Pew Research Center released a new report, “Digital Advertising and News,” which included some sobering findings. Digital advertising is expected to grow by 40 percent over the next four years, with a caveat:

    Yet how much of that growth will go to underwrite news remains in doubt and throws into question the financial future of journalism as audience continue to migrate online. What will happen pivots in part on whether the news industry can move into the more lucrative areas of digital advertising, particularly using consumer data to target ads, persuading major legacy advertisers to also advertise online and moving into new revenue areas.

    Forbes media reporter Jeff Bercovici called the report “depressing”:

    Who’s buying the lions’ share of advertising on news websites? Nobody. For most of the 22 news organizations PEJ studied, the top category of advertising was in-house — ie. self-promotional ads for the publishers’ own products or services.

    AAN Web Conference speaker Terry Heaton says the report is “unsurprising but damning”:

    What this says to me is that media companies continue to try and force “their” business model into a medium that rejects it. Moreover, I think this is right where Silicon Valley wants us.

    Media, in its purest business sense, is an order-taker world. What we have is so scarce and so important that people call us to spend their money with us. In the good old days, regardless of which form of media we’re talking about, the sales force got into a nice rhythm of sitting at desks and counting the money. Oh I know that people will debate this, but a replacement for that rhythm is what we desperately seek today.

    And paidContent‘s Jeff Roberts writes, “In the bigger picture, the news sites’ struggles to figure out the digital ad market may reflect a basic competitive disadvantage: unlike technology companies, they were not raised on digital advertising.”

    But GigaOM‘s David Card cautions against reading too much into the report:

    The study seems a little narrow. For one thing, it focused on home pages, and mostly on sites from traditional media companies. Yes, that’s where premium ads run, but it isn’t where re-targeting, for example, makes the most sense.

  • Also this week, a report by the Women’s Media Center contained damning but unsurprising findings of its own: The media is overwhelmingly male, and getting even maler.

  • The non-profit New Haven Independent — launched by former New Haven Advocate reporter Paul Bass — has suspended user comments.

  • Pinterest is delightful and addictive, but also theft, says Choire Sicha:

    More than early Napster, more than Megaupload, more than any government-seized hip-hop blog, Pinterest is entirely copyright-infringement. It’s just that, unlike with music and movies, there’s no dumb and hostile industry lobby that represents, say, “every photographer everywhere.”

  • The Associated Press has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against news aggregator Meltwater.

  • Are hyperlocal news ventures doomed? “On the Media” host Bob Garfield thinks so.
  • The 2012 Election is going hyperlocal with targeted online ad buys.

  • Here’s Mathew Ingram on Twitter and the incredible shrinking news cycle:

    Whenever there is a news event like [Whitney] Houston’s death, someone inevitably points out that Twitter also routinely reports things that aren’t true, including the deaths of innumerable celebrities who later turn out to be perfectly healthy. And they note that new-media sources … can wind up publishing inaccuracies in a rush to be first. But this ignores the fact that mainstream media outlets also routinely report things that aren’t true and have to correct them later.

  • Twitter is releasing a self-service advertising system for small businesses.

  • As marketers look to consolidate spending across platforms, ad exchanges are seeing higher profits.

  • The Interactive Advertising Bureau has released ad guidelines designed to provide a common set of practices for ad verification.

  • And finally, meet the Tablet Generation — your future readers — who will grow up knowing tablets as their “playmate, teacher and babysitter.”