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The Media Martini: Native Advertising, A Paywall Alternative, Coca-Cola Journey

Happy Friday!  It’s time to sit down, sip and savor your martini.  This week’s top picks in media include:

1. Defining ‘Native Advertising’

A few weeks ago, we asked our Facebook fans “Is “Native Advertising” just a fancy new name for “Advertorials” — or the future of advertising?”  This week, Digiday asked industry execs from Tumblr, The Economist and BuzzFeed the same question.  The basic consensus: native advertising is composed of ad units or messaging devices that are unique/organic/native to a particular platform (ex Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Facebook’s Sponsored Stories).  The real question, however, is whether it’s true that “that users will be happier with advertising or forms of revenue generation that fit into the context” of whichever platform they are using.

2. A Paywall Alternative?

reddit looks to membership model to earn revenueOnline community Reddit plans to make revenue using a premium membership layer, rather than putting up a paywall or becoming dependent on more advertisers.  Reddit Gold includes a discussion forum, the ability to turn off advertising (brilliant) and “gliding,” which lets members give Reddit Gold or credits to users who post comments they like. GigaOM asks whether this model could work for other media companies, as an alternative to putting a paywall up around all of their content.  And as for more advertising – it “eventually results in a watering down of the true, authentic content on the site” says Reddit CEO Yishan Wong.

3. Coca Cola Turns Website Into Online Magazine

Coca-Cola Journey - telling the brand storyMarketers are very interested in “recasting their communications with consumers as storytelling rather than advertising,” reports The New York Times.  Coca-Cola’s major website overhaul is a great example: the brand just launched ‘Coca-Cola Journey’, a new, consumer magazine-like corporate site.  The brand hopes to grow its audience of 1.2 million unique monthly viewers with a more consumer-oriented approach, featuring articles on a myriad of subjects as well as interviews, opinion columns, video and audio clips, photo galleries and blogs.  The brand stories on the site will be “favorable” toward the company, but Coca-Cola plans to occasionally include alternate opinions to establish itself as “a credible source.”

What stories were you talking about in media this week?  And where do you weigh in on the ‘native advertising’ debate? Let us know in the comments, and have a great weekend!