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The coronavirus pandemic will dramatically change advertising

Hello. Lucia Moses here, writing to you from the cozy home office. Hope this finds you safe and healthy. Welcome to another Advertising & Media Insider newsletter, where we spotlight the week's top BI Prime ad and media stories.

'We're going to be totally different'

Alicia Hatch, Deloitte Digital

Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions

CMO of Deloitte Digital Alicia Hatch speaks on stage during the Deloitte Digital and Lego session at the Cannes Lions 2019 in Cannes, France.

We've entered a new phase of the economic downturn, with companies from BuzzFeed to LinkedIn variously cutting pay and pausing hiring as advertisers take an axe to their spending. There's no doubt the coronavirus pandemic will dramatically change the world as we know it. And while it's too early to say definitively how, the advertising world is no exception.

Think of your own behavior. You're probably cutting back on extras, buying more of your essentials online, staying connected with people on Zoom or Hangouts, and replacing live entertainment with Netflix.

When the economy comes back, sure, there may be pent up demand for face-to-face gatherings, but some of those habits will stick, and advertisers will have to adapt.

Read more about how advertising will change here: Ad insiders from Burger King, Freshly, McCann, and Vita Coco say the coronavirus will radically change advertising, from elevating brand marketing to shrinking the holding companies

"Brand safety is a very hot space"

Lisa Utzschneider Integral Ad Science

Integral Ad Science

Lisa Utzschneider, CEO of IAS.

The pandemic has also renewed debate about a longstanding practice where advertisers steer their ads away from hard news, making it hard for news publishers to monetize the big spikes in readership they're seeing.

Funding has poured into this arena in recent years because, as one knowledgeable source put it to me, it's one area of advertisers' budgets that'll never be cut. In fact, the leading companies in this space, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify, are still hiring while most companies have hit the pause button.

As Lisa Utzschneider, CEO of Integral Ad Science, told Lauren Johnson, "brand safety and suitability is a very hot space right now."

These companies have plausible deniability here because the advertisers ultimately call the shots. But critics say it's unrealistic to put the burden on advertisers to whitelist news and that the adtech companies should step up and take the lead.

Meanwhile, media companies that are working hard to keep people informed about the pandemic are grappling with getting through the crisis, because no one knows what'll come next.

Read our coverage on the topic here: The two biggest adtech companies that help advertisers defund news are hiring to keep up with demand

And here: Media companies have never had more readership, but a group of adtech companies are making it tough to monetize

Here are some other great stories from media and advertising:

See you next week. Stay safe, and as always, if you're new to this email, sign up for your own and share it with others by clicking here.

- Lucia

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