Vice Media Group Calls For Reform Of Advertising Keyword 'Blocklists'

With the increase in TV and media news content around inequality and anti-racism protests, Vice Media Group says there is lower “monetization” of some news stories as it relates to video advertisers’ brand safety issues.

Vice said news content related to George Floyd and related protests has been monetized at a rate 57% lower than other non-protest-related news content, according to a recent analysis.

The recent internal analysis, by Vice Media, was released during the group’s IAB NewFronts presentation, presented by Marsha Cooke, senior vice president of Vice Impact.

Vice says lower ad revenue for protest-related news was a result of brands and agencies blocking intended TV, digital video and other messaging running next to those stories.

Over the past few weeks, Vice has seen new words added to so-called keyword advertisers’ “blocklists” that include “George Floyd”, “Black Lives Matter”, “protest”, “Minneapolis”, and “black” people. 



This follows up an effort in 2019, when Vice called on advertisers to reconsider the brand-safety practice of keyword blocklists. 

At that time, Vice said it no longer blocked a list of 25 words and phrases found on keyword blocklists, including “Muslim”, “transgender”, “refugee” and “interracial.” 

Vice is asking marketers to call upon agencies to review those lists, and for media agencies to look for better solutions to support journalism.

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