It’s a baffling recent development to receive daily press announcements from publishers that are “proudly introducing” a new digital ad structure or employee. We’ve seen the Meredith Corporation promote Andy Sareyan to “brand officer…in charge of online platforms“, Josh Stinchcomb and Alice McKown take over Conde Nast’s new online advertising structure, and Chicago Tribune journalists writing about their own publisher’s new cross-platform ad sales group.
Today, The Atlantic joins the ranks of its print-and-web contemporaries with its hiring of Breda O’Reilly as digital ad manager, “during a period of vigorous online expansion and innovation.”
Why is this news? Traditionally, when print publications hire someone to oversee a sales force, there’s no press release, no giant blurb sent out to other publications. And when blogs like Gawker or TMZ hire ad people, there is likewise little hooplah. It’s only when print publishers (which have had such a hard time transitioning between the mega bucks of print ads and the scarce terrain of online media buyers) find someone to fill their digital ad sales spot that it’s cause for celebration. Because it proves that The Atlantic (or Conde Nast, or Meredith, etc.) has finally calculated how to turn their pageviews into cash.
We have to give credit to The Atlantic though for at least trying something new with their online content: When talking to publisher Jay Lauf two weeks ago on the mediabistro.com Morning Media Menu, he spoke about The Atlantic Wire and the pitch to advertisers of intellectual readers as a specific marketing niche.