Digital Magazine Website News: Adblock Plus, Hearst, and More

The latest headlines that could impact your digital magazine website include an unlikely ad tech company, native advertising content, and a major masthead shift

Your digital magazine website is like a basketball team, always on defense and offense simultaneously.

For a basketball team, protecting the goal keys the transition to scoring success. A rebound, a steal, a turnover … each can lead to a slam dunk on the other end.

I deploy this analogy because times can be tough lately for digital magazines; ad blocking, publishing on social media, and staff challenges are coming together to compound preexisting conditions facing the industry.

But just like on the court, every crisis presents an opportunity. In a few recent stories, reports on how publishers – and, frankly, their enemies – are getting creative. Let’s take a look!

Adblock Plus Is Now an Ad Sales Company

The ad block plot thickens with recent news that the major purveyor of “reader protection” software is now selling the things it once set out to combat. MediaPost reports on Adblock Plus’s pivot to ad sales, which so far has not won over many on either side.

“Many of the leading publishers are already employing techniques to combat the revenue decline – sometimes as high as 40% – reportedly caused by ad blocking technologies. There are lessons to be learned about the intrusive nature of adverts and the effect they have on the end user. We have long advocated the evolution of the way publishers monetize their offering,” MPP Global Senior Vice President Scott O’Neill tells Tobi Elkin.

“Although this is a step in that evolution process, one which has significant backing, this adds another layer of complexity and cost to publishers at a time that the market is already facing its share of challenges. MPP Global believes that publishing companies should harness other innovative business models to secure and generate additional revenue streams rather than relying so heavily on advertising.”

Study: Digital Magazine Website Editorial Teams Often Handle Native Ads

It might not come as a surprise for many, but for most digital magazine website efforts, editorial personnel craft native content despite traditional notions of church and state, MediaPost reports.


“An eMarketer article citing research from the Native Advertising Institute and FIPP, a network for media associations and companies that surveyed 140 C-level magazine executives in 39 countries during April and May of this year. The research cited in the article found that more than two-thirds of magazine executives (68%) globally said their editorial team produces native ads,” Elkin writes.

“In fact, according to the research, only 24% of magazine executives rely on a dedicated native ad team to help them produce native ad campaigns. Meanwhile, 31% use their own content studios, 12% use an external agency partner, 6% use an advertiser’s agencies, and 11% said ‘other.'”

Does Hearst Have a Publisher Anymore?

One does simply publish without a publisher. Or do they?

MediaPost reports:

“Once the most powerful figures in the magazine industry, publishers may soon find themselves an endangered species, as big magazine brands move to eliminate the role in favor of new, more forward-looking titles and executive org charts,” Erik Sass writes.

“The latest big publisher to nix, well, “publisher” is Hearst, which has eliminated the traditional position at Elle Décor in addition to several other magazines, according to the New York Post, which first reported the news. … Back in July, Time Inc. eliminated the role from its corporate organization as part of a broader consolidation of its sales and marketing teams. Time Inc.’s new sales structure has executives overseeing groups organized around advertising categories, brands or digital sales.”

We do up a digital magazine website as well as anyone in the business. Download our free Multiplatform Publishing Strategy Handbook today to find out how. 

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