Native advertising isn’t the devil

Years ago, one of my predecessors as chair of the content council remarked that he could happily foresee the day when all content would be branded content—not just such traditional vehicles as custom magazines, but even such hallowed bastions of journalistic independence as The New York Times.

I’ve been thinking about that prediction a lot lately, as I’ve found myself writing and speaking to various groups about the growth of such branded content vehicles as native advertising. This came to a head last week when I was watching, somewhat belatedly, a hysterically funny rant that HBO’s John Oliver recorded last August on branded content, in which he skewered the media—specifically attacking Time Inc. and The New York Times—for breaking down the traditional church-and-state divide through its embrace of native advertising. Oliver would say that my predecessor’s prediction is coming true much sooner than expected.


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