Once upon a time (about three months ago), branded content – read: ads in sheep’s clothing – was pretty much the exclusive province of online publishers from BuzzFeed to Gawker to TheAtlantic.com.

That was then.

Now mainstream news organizations are on branded content like Brown on Williamson.

So, once around the park, James, and don’t spare the sources.

How the AP Is Approaching Native Ads

In an acknowledgment that licensing content has become a disappointing business, the Associated Press will begin introducing native advertising into its stream of news and features on mobile apps and hosted websites next year.

Sponsored content will run the gamut, from text to video to photography, though the AP declined to discuss what exactly content will look like except to say that the ads won’t look like AP content. Instead the sponsored content will sit alongside AP material.

“We’re not trying to make people think this is something AP produced,” said Ken Detlet, the AP’s vp of digital advertising strategy and sales. “They’ll know it’s something the brand is bringing to the table.”

Well, that’s good news, eh?

• Time’s Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs Isn’t Afraid of Native Ads

This is not as big a challenge as it’s made out to be. I think there’s a lot we can do as vehicles for advertisers, provided that there’s no confusion about where this content is coming from. What I’ve seen in terms of how native will live on the new site, it just makes it a richer, deeper site. As long as you know what the content is, I don’t have any problem with that. We’re all grown-ups.

Got that? Grown-ups. No confusion.

• NYT Exec Previews Paper’s Native Advertising Plans 

First came the announcement that AP is getting into the sponsored content game in 2014. Today, via Michael Sebastian of Ad Age, you can add the native advertising efforts of the New York Times.




The media reporter quotes from a speech given yesterday in Chicago by NYT executive VP, advertising Meredith Kopit Levien, who came over to the paper in July from Forbes. She told a Native Advertising Summit audience that the paper will be unveiling an in-kind platform as part of its redesigned website


Not only that, Journalism.co.uk reports that “news organisations are building commercial teams of former journalists who create paid-for content on behalf of brands.”

Even more excellent!

And guess what? You’re not even safe in the stratosphere.

From the Wall Street Journal:

How Airlines Are Mining Personal Data In-Flight

One day soon, frequent fliers should expect flight attendants to know their birthdays, how they like their coffee, and what they’re likely to buy on board.

After years of dithering, airlines are learning to use the wealth of customer data they collect. Greater stability in an industry long roiled by bankruptcies is enabling carriers to invest in technology to personalize the flying experience and better target promotions. But the airlines sometimes struggle to do all that without making customers uncomfortable.

Feeling uncomfortable yet?

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
John R. Carroll has 305 post(s) on Sneak Adtack