MediaFile

Online ads, creatively in your face

The Online Publishers Association got a bunch of Web publishers (including Reuters) to agree to test a new series of ad formats that it says will “stimulate a renaissance of creative advertising on the Internet.”

Renaissance? Indeed, says the OPA. The ads will:

    Inspire creativity and high-quality advertising Provide a greater share of voice for the advertisers Introduce a measurement to capture impact Enhance interactivity to build user engagement with brands

Or, roughly translated: The new online ad formats are supposed to work because there will be fewer of them, they will be larger, they theoretically could command a higher fee for advertisers who buy the space, and more people will buy stuff because of them.

Here are the formats:

    The Fixed Panel (recommended dimension is 336 wide x 860 tall), which looks naturally embedded into the page layout and scrolls to the top and bottom of the page as a user scrolls. The XXL Box (recommended dimension is 468 wide x 648 tall), which has page-turn functionality with video capability. The Pushdown (recommended dimension is 970 wide x 418 tall), which opens to display the advertisement and then rolls up to the top of the page.

This is intended as a way to succeed the era of banner ads because who, after all, looks at them except as a prelude to irritation? (No one, according to lots of studies)

But wait! MediaMemo blog author Peter Kafka at All Things Digital raises an interesting point in his headline from earlier on Tuesday about the OPA ad formats:

Coming to a Web Site Near You: Bigger, More Obnoxious Ads

Kafka explains:

The key point is that the ads are going to be ginormous and gaudy-think monster trucks with sirens and flashing lights. … The reasonable thing to point out here is that there’s nothing that prohibits advertisers and publishers from doing interesting and creative stuff with these formats-just like Apple. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll find that the ads are even about stuff you’re interested in learning about. … But if the ads aren’t interesting and aren’t relevant to you? It’s the kind of thing that could drive a mild-mannered person to install ad-blocking software.

In DC media, newspapers sink, niche outlets swim

The interests of the paranoid and the preservers of the free press are converging: Mainstream media’s coverage of Washington, D.C., has shrunk to the point where big stories are being left uncovered. Meanwhile, more “niche” media outlets are moving in, but catering to the interests of the wealthy few.

That’s the essence of a 28-page report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which says that the number of journalists covering D.C. at the beginning of the Obama administration “is not so much smaller as it is dramatically transformed.”

You can read Howard Kurtz’s narrative in Wednesday’s Washington Post, or you could take a look at the main points we found in the release, presented bullet-point style for busy folks.

Domino dancing with Conde Nast

April Fool’s Day is still a few months away, giving magazine publisher Conde Nast some time to pull a few practice gags. The latest is its decision to kill Domino magazine — days after appointing a new chief to run it.

Here’s the press release, sent on Wednesday:

Domino magazine will cease publication, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, President and CEO of Condé Nast. The final issue will be published in March 2009.

“This decision to cease publication of the magazine and its website is driven entirely by the economy,” Mr. Townsend said. “Although readership and advertising response was encouraging in the early years, we have concluded that this economic market will not support our business expectations.”