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  • Big media companies are working together to sell digital ads to better battle Google and Facebook
  • The TrustX initiative, which includes buy-in from the likes of CBS, News Corp., Conde Nast and Vox Media, is ramping its capabilities while promising marketers a safe harbor for their ads
  • Yet TrustX faces potential challenges, including competing agendas and fickle ad buyers

A host of big media companies have come to a difficult realization — the enemy of the digital duopoly may be my new best friend.

The duopoly, of course, is Facebook and Google, and, to battle its growing dominance in digital advertising, media players ranging from CBS, to ESPN to Hearst and News Corp. are pooling together their ad space. The vision is to create a centralized digital outlet where ad buyers can find the best, safest, places to run their ads outside of the Google and Facebook domain.

Whether the combined power of a slew of old-media players can help win back more ad budgets is an unanswered question at this point. An even thornier question is whether these blood rivals have the will and wherewithal to work together and make sure this plan bears actual fruit. Given the rocky history of similar digital alliances – it won’t be easy.

The initiative is called TrustX. It’s a non-profit group established by the trade group Digital Content Next, whose members include NBCUniversal, Viacom, Vox Media and The Washington Post.

The big idea is to create a digital ad marketplace where only A-list publishers sell ads using automated software.