Mindshare, the GroupM media buying agency, has launched an initiative to financially support Black journalism and community voices across the U.S., and podcasting will be part of the mix. The Black Community private marketplace, known as a PMP, has lined with Pod Digital Media, the first Black-owned and curated podcast network.
“I am proud of Mindshare’s leadership to support Black voices and create programs that drive increased investment for creators of color,” said Gary Coichy, founder and CEO of Pod Digital Media. “We’re excited to have Pod Digital Media’s network of more than 400 podcasters be included in their new Black Community PMP.”
The Black Community PMP is launching with 25 publishers overall spanning digital, audio and video across the U.S. And crucially, while marketing to people in the Black community has largely in the past been referred to as simply African American, Mindshare’s PMP is focused on inclusivity of voices across first-generation African, Caribbean American, and American Afro-LatinX.
“The goal of this PMP is to help tell and amplify Black stories and voices across journalism and the arts, and to drive real inclusivity in media,” said Mindshare’s Manager of Digital Investment Sherine Patrick, who is leading the launch of the Black Community PMP in the U.S. “Supporting these publishers with ad dollars is critical to that,” she added.
Mindshare says advertisers today have hundreds to over a thousand words on keyword exclusion lists. These lists tell automated digital advertising models not to put a brand’s advertising alongside content that could be potentially non-brand safe, based on specific words or phrases. But in an effort to avoid their brand appearing alongside topics or content that could be potentially inflammatory, stories of hard news and underrepresented voices wind up unintentionally flagged and demonetized, despite consumer interest. Words like “dope” or “bomb” can be flagged as stories about drugs or violence, but they are common jargon in Black culture, the agency says. In turn, it has created a form of “digital censorship,” according to Mindshare, which concedes ad dollars dictate what we do and don’t read. A University of Baltimore-Cheq study estimated U.S. publishers lost a total of $2.8 billion in revenue in 2019, due to incorrect blocking of safe content.
Kimberly-Clark’s U by Kotex has signed on as a launch brand for the Black Community PMP. “You can’t fight against racism and structural inequality if Black voices are being silenced, and we’re proud to invest in Black journalists, content creators and artists,” said Brian Clayton, General Manager for U by Kotex North America.
Mindshare says its effort to create the PMP began in the spring before the Black Lives Matter protests spread to the streets of America. It is the second in a series of “inclusion PMPs” that the agency has launched this year to help underrepresented communities in journalism. The first was a LGBTQ PMP launched in February with the support of Skyy Vodka.
Earlier this month Mindshare’s parent company GroupM launched a unit to help grow the list of Black and Hispanic media outlets that are part of its buys. The GroupM Multicultural Marketplace is a programmatic platform that has gone live with more than 300 online properties targeting minority audiences. Agency reps told Inside Radio that while the launch is primarily focused on dot-com properties, there is a potential to expand into other categories, including audio. “That’s the beauty of this marketplace: It will expand with demand and new to-be-discovered properties,” an agency spokesman said.