As brands block coronavirus, streaming app Newsy opens an ad slot free from bad news
The digital video news app Newsy says it wants to give advertisers a break from coronavirus coverage.
The streaming channel, owned by E.W. Scripps Company, developed an ad product that guarantees commercials appear before and after lighter news, avoiding direct association with content relating to the deadly pandemic.
Newsy's answer has been to create an ad pod within the first half-hour of its news programs that runs between less serious subject matter than the most harrowing virus stories. Newsy plans to open the inventory this week for advertisers to buy programmatically, which means they can bid through the digital ad exchanges, including The Trade Desk, a Newsy spokesman told Ad Age.
"This makes it easier for marketers to have confidence in knowing that their spot is going to show up in a place that either aligns with what their own brand guidelines are, or gives them certainty as to what they can expect form a content experience," says Ken Ripley, Newsy's VP of sales.
Newsy's response is an example of how one digital publisher is handling the challenges of the health crisis as the industry sees lower demand from advertisers, even as more internet users seek out coronavirus information.
A new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau outlined the scope of the problem this week. The IAB cited Comscore numbers showing that, in the second week of March, visits to 40 popular news sites reached 523 million, up from 392 million in the last week of February.
Meanwhile, more news sites reported that advertisers are creating blacklists that enable them to block ads from running on their web pages. The IAB said that 17 percent of news publishers found advertisers blacklisting their ad inventory because of coronavirus subject matter.
News publishers are affected more than non-news publishers, the IAB said. News and advertising trade organizations have been urging marketers to continue to support online publishers.
Ripley says Newsy is "setting up a commercial pod, some place within the first half-hour of our streaming programming that would have a lead-in story and lead-out story that's not on the heavier side of coronavirus, or not be about coronavirus at all."
Newsy would not reveal the names of advertisers that have tried the new ad slot.
Newsy is a cable channel and an app on streaming platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV and smart TVs. The new ad offering is only available on the streaming app for now, Ripley says. The price of the ads will depend on demand, he says. Publishers typically charge higher rates for premium ad space, where there is a more prominent placement and brand-safety assurances.
"Marketers have the ability to still reach people where they are more these days, which is watching news programming such as ours," Ripley says, "but do so in a way that gives them certainly more control over the stories they're going to be surrounded with."