In the past, Air America Media faced an obstacle. As a progressive multimedia company, it is able to attract an educated, engaged audience that marketers covet, yet it was having trouble attracting large commercial advertisers due to its limited inventory and relatively small reach.
Thankfully, Air America is a member of Media Consortium, a think tank and support group of sorts for progressive media outlets. And it was at one Media Consortium event that Air America and other progressive niche outlets Mother Jones, The Nation and Alternet.org realized they were competing for the same ad dollars from progressive advertisers. They also saw that if they pooled their inventories, and the eyes and clicks of their readers and users, they could create a critical mass that would make them attractive to large commercial advertisers.
The four outlets joined forces to launch the Ad Progress Network, which they rolled out quietly a few weeks ago. They have paired with Adify to power the network and, according to Michael Bassik, chief digital officer at Air America, Adify has never worked with a network like it before.
“It’s the most unique ad network in terms of the way it’s structured,” Bassik said, noting that because it’s owner-operated, the network’s owners take responsibility for all sales and marketing. “Every day you read about a new ad network launching with a new niche market. But we’re aggregating progressive journalism content in a way that has never existed before.”
One unique facet of the Ad Progress Network is certainly the different types of content offered by each member, although each one falls under the general progressive umbrella and attracts the same type of audience. And, it’s already attracting new members like the Center for Independent Media and The American Prospect.
“We all have an identical demographic and an identical psychographic, and now we can start going after ad budgets from larger ad marketers because we now have the scale to make it worth their while,” Bassik said.
For now, the members of the network are offering network access to their current ad clients and they’re going to go after other progressive marketers next. They will start to pitch to the more broad commercial advertisers in the fourth quarter of the year but, “If an advertiser approaches us, we will definitely be open to it,” Bassik said. “We’re confident that we can bring to bear the inventory to fill the needs of large advertisers.”