Your Worst Native Content Nightmare Has Come True

U.S. Number A-1 Star Jason Jones of 'The Daily Show' Discovers the Joys of Sponsored Content ... in India

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Once upon a time, print publications did things called "Special Advertising Sections," wherein advertisers got to insert their own (often lame) editorial content among the proper content. Actually, they still do these things, but they've been mostly overshadowed by "native advertising" (or "sponsored content"), which is basically the same thing, but less clinical-sounding. The, ahem, "native advertising revolution" created an environment where brands increasingly behave like publishers, and publishers increasingly defer to brand desires -- like, say, by putting ads on the covers of Time Inc. magazines.

But don't despair, editorial purists -- or at least American editorial purists! Because things could be worse… and they are, in India. Last night on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," correspondent Jason Jones went to the country to examine its media, and along the way discovered that its newspaper industry appears to be booming. Why? The answer: Native advertising! Super duper native advertising! As in so native, it's possible to outright buy coverage in certain national newspapers -- which is something you already knew if you read Ken Auletta's 2012 New Yorker report, but Jason is a lot funnier than Ken, plus Ken didn't think to actually commission fawning coverage of himself (ghost-written by one Jason Jones) in India's Millennium Post, like Jason did. See "Poll shows US Number A-1 Star Jason Jones does best Indian Election Coverage."

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Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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