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June 20, 2019, 12:34 p.m.
Business Models
LINK: www.wsj.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Christine Schmidt   |   June 20, 2019

Who says bipartisanship is dead?

Today’s lions-laying-down-with-lambs moment is a cross-ideological alliance that has the Tucker Carlson-founded Daily Caller working with Mediaite, Raw Story, and others to attempt to wrestle advertising dollars away from the usual suspects.

The Wall Street Journal’s Lukas I. Alpert had the story of a political news partnership:

The alliance will offer marketers custom ad packages aimed at politically engaged readers, they said.

“This is a way to try to bring some of the ad dollars now being directed at the tech behemoths back to midsize political publishers,” said Andrew Eisbrouch, the chief operating officer and general counsel at Law & Crime [and Mediaite]. “We want to offer a package that is different from what a marketer can get on Facebook or Google.”

[…]

Political ad spending for the 2020 election cycle is expected to hit a record high of $9.9 billion, according to a forecast by WPP PLC ad-buying unit GroupM. Of that, $2.8 billion is expected to be directed at digital ad spending.

The Digital News Alliance will offer marketers packages that could include traditional on-site and newsletter-ad placements, sponsorships and a slate of custom content options to political campaigns, advocacy groups, political action committees, and other customers.

The full list of publishers at launch is Mediaite, The Daily Caller, Raw Story, Alternet, Law&Crime, and the Washington Free Beacon. Mediaite pointed out that, combined, the sites reach “over 145 million pageviews per month, 11 million Facebook followers, and 1.1 million Twitter followers.”

Partnerships with the word “alliance” in them aimed at chipping Facebook and Google’s digital ad dominance are not new; you may remember a study by a certain alliance group that played up (with some funny numbers) the relationship between Google, advertising money, and the news business. Then there’s the Pangaea Alliance, which since 2015 has allows premium publishers including The Guardian, CNN International, and Reuters to share ad inventory and sell as a network. And a new alliance made up of advertising agencies, major advertisers, and yes, Facebook and Google themselves also launched this week with the goal of improving the digital media environment: “The Global Alliance for Responsible Media said its members want to use their ‘collective power to significantly improve the health of the media ecosystem’ and ‘to identify specific collaborative actions, processes, and protocols for protecting consumers and brands from safety issues’ in the wake of a series of scandals.”

Publishers of very different political stripes have cooperated together before, most notably in Facebook’s fact-checking system, to varying results (and none of the publishers in this alliance were part of last fall’s ThinkProgress vs. Weekly Standard skirmish). Policing facts across partisan lines is hopefully a harder task than splitting ad dollars.

TBD how many advertisers will take the bait on this alliance, but all props to them for trying to whittle away at Google and Facebook’s behemoth.

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