GroupM: Don't Stop The Presses, Unveils Plan To Vet Local News Sites Worldwide

As part of an ongoing commitment to “reinvest” ad budgets supporting “credible” news publishers who practice “responsible” journalism around the world, GroupM this morning a deal utilizing a nonprofit organization to vet the quality of local, national and international news sites for programmatic media buys.

The initiative, which GroupM describes as an “industry first,” is part of its ongoing “Back to News” push, and gives GroupM clients access to vetted and high-quality ad inventory on news sites vetted by global nonprofit Internews.

The deal utilizes Internews’ “Ads for News” initiative to align brands and agencies with more than 10,000 trusted local news sites covering more than 50 countries worldwide.

The sites and domains will be vetted by Ads for News into “inclusion lists” that can be applied to programmatic private marketplaces (PMPs) or a “package of inventory against a biddable price, allowing for more clients to engage.”



GroupM said the goal of the partnership is to establish such inclusion lists in 60 international markets by the end of the year.

GroupM said the initiative solves two problems for the advertising and publishing industry, as well as ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality journalism to stay better informed about their communities and beyond:
1.  It helps offset the erosion of ad budgets funding news organizations in recent years as agencies and brands have diverted ad spending to less controversial forms of content
2.  the agency cited research indicating ads appearing in high quality news sites are perceived as 75% “more likeable” and generate 20% higher engagement than ads on lower quality sites.

“We’ve seen the damage that mis- and disinformation campaigns can do to social cohesion and trust in institutions,” GroupM Global Head of Partnerships Kieley Taylor said in a statement, adding: “We believe advertising can play an important role in fighting this trend by supporting the creation of shared realities rooted in credible, fact-based journalism.”

In an interview conducted before this morning’s announcement, Chris Hajecki, director of Ads for News, described the news site vetting as a two-step process utilizing algorithmic technology to create a broad lis of viable news sites, which teams of human assessors assess for credibility and quality based on standard criteria.

He did acknowledge that there sometimes are local prevailing practices in some geographic markets where the standards need to be adapted, citing that a market like Vietnam, for example, generally has sources paying to place content on news sites.

Citing Indonesia as another example -- one of the fastest-growing programmatic ad markets -- he said the process might begin by accessing more than 20,000 domains to determine which ones are programmatically reachable, and provide viable news content. Hajecki said that base would likely be winnowed down to about 1,500 news sites, of which about 650 might qualify for the programmatic ad buy inclusion lists.

GroupM’s Taylor said Ads for News’ viable news site inclusion lists also are a first cut for GroupM, which would still assess the publishers based on its standard media-buying metrics, including the supply and relevance of their audiences, as well as media-buying price points.

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