News Corp Chief Executive Says Digital Distributors Have “Eroded The Integrity Of Content” And Notes “Muddled Metrics” In Ad Market
Robert Thomson Says Audiences Crave Integrity And Advertisers Need Suitable Surroundings, Citing Times Of London Report On Big Brands Funding “Extremists And Hardcore Pornographers”
New York, NY (February 9, 2017) – In a call with investors today, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson said, “digital distributors have long been a platform for the fake, the faux and the fallacious (and) have eroded the integrity of content by undermining its provenance.”
He added, “ad agencies and their programmatic networks are also at fault because they have sometimes artificially aggregated audiences, and these are then plied with content of dubious provenance.”
Citing a Times of London report today, Mr. Thomson said, “some of the world’s best-known, most prestigious brands are inadvertently funding extremists and hardcore pornographers.” [“Big brands fund terror through online adverts” http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/big-brands-fund-terror-knnxfgb98%5D
“Advertisers want reassurance that their products are displayed in suitable surroundings,” said Mr. Thomson. He noted that News Corp is testing its own digital ad network, “which will provide a measurable, high quality audience for advertisers, who are increasingly wary, and rightly so, about the murky, tenebrous world of digital advertising.”
“In the ad market, there has been an awakening and there will surely be a reckoning,” said Mr. Thomson. “Audiences are craving integrity,” noting how many News Corp mastheads have reported strong growth in readers and subscribers. He said the Wall Street Journal experienced significant growth in paid digital subscribers through the election, surpassing the one million mark in the fourth quarter of 2016. The New York Post digital network also had an audience of over 76 million in November.
An excerpt of Mr. Thomson’s remarks follows:
“…We are in an era in which integrity is priceless, yet digital distributors have long been a platform for the fake, the faux and the fallacious, highlighting an issue which we have long stressed – that they have eroded the integrity of content by undermining its provenance. Put simply, content distributors are profiting at the expense of content creators and at the expense of veracity.
There are clearly social, as well as commercial, consequences to this contradiction and the issue is far from being resolved – a tweak to an algorithm or a fact check here or there does not address the basic problem.
Ad agencies and their programmatic networks are also at fault because they have sometimes artificially aggregated audiences, and these are then plied with content of dubious provenance – the agencies win, the fabricators of the fake win, and advertisers and society both lose. Affinity and integrity are core elements of a sustainable relationship between advertiser and consumer, and yet affinity and integrity are far too often missing in the modern marketplace.
Audiences are craving integrity, which is why so many of our mastheads have reported strong growth in readers and subscribers.
As an example, the Wall Street Journal experienced a significant increase in paid digital subscribers through the election…this reflects an increased appetite for quality journalism in an era of remarkable upheaval.
And in the ad market, there has been an awakening and there will surely be a reckoning.
Advertisers want reassurance that their products are displayed in suitable surroundings – they don’t want muddled metrics and they don’t want digital platforms and ad agencies arbitraging ambiguity.
The dangers of Chief Marketing Officers chasing fashion rather than function was highlighted in The Times of London today – some of the world’s best-known, most prestigious brands are inadvertently funding extremists and hardcore pornographers. I suggest that you read The Times – it’s a subscription site, but that should be no problem for all of you.
We are confident that our premium platforms and our great journalism will ultimately be beneficiaries of this reckoning.
…We are also testing our own digital ad network, which will provide a measurable, high quality audience for advertisers, who are increasingly wary, and rightly so, about the murky, tenebrous world of digital advertising….”
About News Corp
News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) is a global, diversified media and information services company focused on creating and distributing authoritative and engaging content to consumers throughout the world. The company comprises businesses across a range of media, including: news and information services, book publishing, digital real estate services, and cable network programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia. Headquartered in New York, the activities of News Corp are conducted primarily in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. More information: http://www.www.shiwai28.icu.
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