Sponsored Editorial Content: The Blurring of Earned and Paid Media
Native advertising, or sponsored editorial content, is a new opportunity for brands to promote owned content through traditional news channels. As news publishers contend with declining advertising and subscription revenue, they have introduced a new business model that is erasing the boundaries between earned and paid media.
Many publishers are now open to turning brand-driven content into a form of advertising, with articles often labeled as “sponsored content.” In a paid syndication model, content appears as an article or video within a traditional news section and is co-mingled with a publisher’s editorial content. Some ad companies are automating this paid syndication process by dropping sponsored links and images in the footer of related, but un-sponsored news articles. A paid integration model, similar to traditional product placement, enables a brand to weave its name and message into a news article. Articles can also be written to include a sponsor as an attributed source.
Native advertising can even be deployed on social media. For many years, celebrities with large followings have been paid to tweet about a product or service as if the tweet were authentic. Now, news services with large followings are tweeting brand content in a paid media arrangement.