May 15, 2020

Schiff Sends Letter Urging Advertising Associations to Address Policies that Block Online Advertisements Next to Coronavirus-Related Content

Placement Policies are Reducing Revenues for Newspapers and Online Media Outlets at a Time of Immense Vulnerability

Washington D.C. - Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) sent a letter to the CEOs of major advertising trade associations this week asking them to encourage their members to lift or alter their policies that restrict advertisements from appearing online with articles focusing on the coronavirus and the pandemic to help support news media companies and to keep the population informed and safe.


At this moment in our nation’s history, access to timely information has perhaps never been more critical and millions of Americans are turning to both local and national news outlets in record numbers for information about health, the economy, and much more,” Rep. Schiff wrote in his letter. “If online advertisers block terms like ‘coronavirus’ and ‘pandemic’ across advertising channels, publishers are unable to turn increased clicks and reporting into dollars, thus hampering their ability to provide vital health-related reporting to the American public when they need it most.”


Many major online advertisers’ policies prevent their online ads from being displayed next to coronavirus-related content. In combination with the drastic reduction in online advertising budgets as a result of the economic slowdown, these policies are reducing revenues for newspapers and online media outlets at a time of immense vulnerability.  


“Ultimately, advertisers will make their own decisions regarding whether advertising next to coronavirus-related content represents a reputational risk or otherwise, but I urge all advertisers to take a longer view. If the combination of restrictions on advertising placement and reduced online spending leads to a massive loss in high-quality online news outlets, it will ultimately be to the detriment of the entire online ecosystem, as well as our nation,” the letter continued.

View letter to American Advertising Federation

View letter to American Association of Advertising Agencies

View letter to Interactive Advertising Bureau

View letter to National Advertising Initiative

View letter to Association of National Advertisers Inc.