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Rotella Asks: Is Digital Advertising Already Doomed?

New Jersey broadcast leader thinks ad blocker trend favors radio

“I knew the specious hype surrounding the pure-play fad would soon be a thing of the past, but I never expected its demise to begin so soon.”

That’s Paul Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, emailing members in response to news this week about the growing popularity of online ad blockers.

“Radio has adapted to this and is light years ahead of our friends in digital, especially because of our typical live and local formats,” Rotella wrote. His catchy summary: “You can’t block a live read!”

Rotella is among industry leaders who have been vocally critical about what they view as “propaganda” regarding the benefits and limitations of new digital platforms. “The time-tested proven power of free-over-the-air broadcast radio is still the best way to always reach the largest, most diverse audiences all of the time,” NJBA’s email states. “We have seen audio formats come and go recently, but radio has proven its effectiveness, reach and market penetration for almost a century.”

Responding to news coverage about online ad blockers, he said the trend may also hurt pure-play business models that rely on paid subscriptions to avoid commercials. “Now you don’t have to pay for their premium services to receive content commercial-free, and pure-play commercials may not even be heard by ‘targeted’ audience members with the growing rage of this ‘ad blocker’ technology,” Rotella wrote. “That’s something broadcast does not have to deal with.”

He added that the New Jersey association is a proponent of apps that “play” off of radio content and delivery, “like Shazam, to amplify the audio radio experience.” Rotella said he’s a fan of technology. “In today’s environment people don’t listen to radio, they experience it, and that is good for business and the audiences we serve so well.”