COLOGNE -- Vice Media has rarely been afraid to pull its punches, always keen to make waves with news from the margins.
But how can a company that wants to be ad-funded keep ad-buying brands happy amid all the controversy and harshness of real life?
In this video interview with Beet.TV, Vice Media international and global chief revenue officer Dominique Delport suggests Vice Media gets an unfair rap from ad-tech buying platforms.
"I'm shocked, when I look at how programmatic trade news articles and news video, there is a kind of new moral norm no one is aware of where DSPs [demand-side platforms] are choosing the keywords that they're considering as brand unsafe," says Delport.
He's referring to new brand safety software that runs on DSPs, categorizing publishers and their ad inventory based on the kinds of topics they cover.
That practice cropped up at this year's NewFronts, where digital media publishers presented their upcoming content rosters to ad buyers, attempting to break down a mounting feeling that - amid 2018's heady political climate - news was a bad place to find context.
Says Delport: "When I looked at the [keyword] list the other day, 'migrants', 'refugees', any video talking about 'gay', 'lesbian' are de facto skipped by algorithms because [they are] considered as brand-unsafe.
"This is wrong. This is crazy. This is not the world we live in, and brands should be bold enough and just relevant enough to consider that this is not the world our audience lives in. And we know that. The Gen Z [crowd] are even more purpose-driven than the millennials."
Over the last year, several news or so-called news sites have found their way on to the blacklists which some ad buyers and platforms use. Some media agency executives told Digiday they had blocked hundreds of news sites.
This year, we have seen publishers like BBC News, News Corp and The Economist protest that there is nothing bad about being placed next to bad news.
What can be done about it?
"I will keep being vocal with my programmatic partners and platforms to say, 'Guys, look at that. This is not good'," Delport says.
This video is part of a series produced at DMEXCO 2018 in Cologne titled: “Finding Success in a Time of Transformation.” It is is presented by PubMatic. For segments from the series, please visit this page.