Surprise! The New Republic Is Going to Make Native Ads for Brands

By Published on .

The New Republic -- which endured an exodus of writers and editors last December amid a broader shakeup at the magazine -- has hired an executive steeped in native advertising to leads its ad sales.

NewsCred's Kayvan Salmanpour is joining the company as its chief revenue officer, overseeing all revenue, including digital, print and events, The New Republic said Thursday. Most interestingly, he will "build a team to provide creative services for advertisers," according to a memo from Guy Vidra, The New Republic's chief executive officer.

In other words, The New Republic wants to make native ads for brands -- a revenue source that publishers new and old are looking to establish and grow. And it wants those ads to not only run on The New Republic's website, but elsewhere on the web. From Mr. Vidra's memo:

As brands shift more of their marketing budgets toward content development, it is important that we help our ad partners develop content that engages our coveted audience -- both within and outside our walls.

The strategy has helped media companies like BuzzFeed and Vice generate hundreds of millions in revenue, but their success has prompted a wave of publishers to pour into the space, opening their own in-house departments to produce articles and videos for advertisers.

Mr. Salmanpour has the appropriate pedigree for this role. He joins The New Republic from his post as VP of sales at NewsCred, a fast-growing company that helps brands like Diageo, SAP, Bank of America and GE with their content-marketing efforts. But it's also an unusual background among publishing-company chief revenue officers, who normally arrive from rival media companies or from media-buying agencies. So far they have rarely (if ever) come from a startup that specializes in content marketing and native advertising.

The New Republic did not have a chief revenue officer prior to Mr. Salmanpour, according to a spokesman for the magazine.

The hire marks another step in the rebuilding of The New Republic, which Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes bought in 2012. Last year, Mr. Hughes hired former Yahoo exec Guy Vidra to be CEO and carry out sweeping changes at the 100-year-old magazine, which has a relatively small audience but outsized influence in the world of politics. It's also an unprofitable magazine -- something Mr. Hughes has said he wants to reverse.

Here's how New York magazine described Mr. Vidra's arrival to The New Republic:

Vidra communicated the new vision to the staff in what I am told was an uncomfortable stream of business clich├ęs ungrounded in any apparent strategy other than saying things like "let's break shit" and "we're a tech company now."

A management shakeup led to the resignation of about a dozen full-time editorial staffers and many more contributors. That caused a storm to erupt around Mr. Hughes and Mr. Vidra, but the company has since begun adding new staff on the editorial and business sides.

Mr. Salmanpour is expected to hire people to help make content for brands.

Most Popular