ISSN 1016-1007 GPN2005600032
頁數:43﹣94 分析程序化廣告交易如何弱化新聞媒體: 臺灣在地研究初探 Analyzing the Weakness of News Publishers in Programmatic Advertising: Exploratory Research in Taiwan
Chao Chen Lin
advertising, algorithms, data, news media, platforms, programmatic buying



Advertising has historically played a key role in the lifeblood of journalism. A long-running topic is how traditional news media play a weak role in digital advertising marketing. In the old days, print newspapers, magazines, and TV were kings in the advertising market, but the appearance of various new media technologies and social media networks has severely affected traditional media. Powerful technology companies such as Google and Facebook have replaced the old media to become the titans of digital advertising, as they are now the two largest advertisers in the world.

In the new digital era, advertising can be divided into digital and non- digital. The former has grown, while the latter has declined. According to a Taiwan Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMA) report, digital advertising in Taiwan has grown more rapidly than non-digital advertising, hitting over NT$48.25 billion in 2020 and then NT$54.43 billion in 2021. The reason for this growth is the power of Google and Facebook in the domestic advertising market, as nearly 80% of digital revenue come from the two firms.

In order to control the overall advertising market, Google and Facebook have each designed a programmatic system for the digital advertising market in websites and social media. In a programmatic system, platforms such as Google and Facebook help advertisers reach audiences directly. The two firms have also developed a new business model for advertisers, publishers, and other participants to join in advertising marketing.

The so-called programmatic auction has become the mainstream business model globally. Programmatic marketing encompasses two different techniques: direct programmatic and real-time bidding (RTB). Real-time bidding helps advertisers put their adverting on a website when a real user appears online. The whole procedure typically only takes 150 milliseconds to complete. The highly automated format allows digital advertising to runs 24 hours day and night.

For Google and Facebook, algorithms and advertising buying are the main methods used to earn money, and data are the core of the business model for digital platforms. McGuigan (2019) stated that algorithms and data science have become crucial to the online buying and selling process. The term programmatic advertising is generally used to designate transactions involving auctions and/or computer-based automation and optimization, yet the lack of transparency of programmatic buying has been seriously criticized. The Australian Competition & Consumers Commission (ACCC, 2021) found a lack of transparency in online advertising markets. In the United Kingdom, the Cairncross Review (2019) noted that the system of programmatic advertising is too complicated to understand and to navigate.
This paper thus aims to answer 3 research questions as follows.

Q1: How has advertising revenue declined for news media through Google’s programmatic system?
Q2: What are the main problems in Google’s programmatic marketing?
Q3: Is the line blurred between news content and advertising in native advertising when news media try another way to gain more revenue?

Based on in-depth interviewing through the qualitative method, this research looks to discover the reasons for the tensions between news media organizations and digital platforms, especially the largest company, Google.

Representatives from three newspaper companies, three original online news companies, two television stations, two magazines, and one media buyer company, for a total of 17 persons whose work relates to selling advertising, were interviewed. All interviewees were given pseudonyms.

This paper finds that Google plays a dominant role in the process of programmatic marketing. Google exhibits the 4 characteristics of DSP, DMP, SSP, and AdX, which appear to share revenue from each role in the programmatic buying. It has made Google become more powerful, and traditional media’s advertising rates have subsequently declined in the digital era. Google also built PMP to make publishers more dependent on Google due to complicated programmatic designed mechanisms. The question is whether Google has become the most influential company in advertising marketing and provides benefits to many, and whether publishers have become weaker in programmatic advertising marketing.

Under this situation, news media in Taiwan have developed another advertising strategy to get more revenue. Their way is to sell space on news websites for advertisers, which is called native advertising. The advertising messages are disguised as news reporting on a news website. Although the news media could get more revenue from the model of native advertising, the most worrisome part is the blurred line between content and advertising.

This paper argues that equal competition between news media and digital platforms is an important issue all over the world. In the negotiations between the two, improving digital advertising mechanisms like programmatic advertising is unavoidable. The major problem is the inequality between news media and platforms. Google dominates the advertising market in Taiwan, and the rate of programmatic marketing has grown in recent years in Taiwan. At the moment, Google and other major ad exchanges have huge power, because of their relative size and high consolidation in the marketplace. News media are unable to negotiate with digital platforms if there is no legislation about equality in market competition.

The problems of how to build a more balanced relationship between news media and digital platforms in the advertising market are concerned with policymaking. The programmatic advertising system and algorithms have influenced the content created by the news media. When news media are more concerned about online traffic for survival, it is a dark day for information distribution and democracy. This paper presents the dominating role of Google in programmatic buying and suggests governments to investigate equal competition in the advertising market.
2023/ 秋