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It’s one of my nine predictions for the communications industry in 2013, that “pearned media” will enter the vernacular.

What is it?

You know about paid media, owned media and earned media.

“Pearned media” is when a publication so deftly blends earned media (journalism) with paid media that the reader can’t distinguish between the two. Think of the concept as advertorials on steroids.

Pearned media - earned media paid media

To read my other eight predictions, I’m hoping you’ll jump to Spin Sucks for the post, “Nine Quasi-crazy Predictions for the Communications Industry in 2013” at Spin Sucks.

Gini Dietrich and Lindsay Bell were gracious enough (and brave enough) to share this post with their community.

These predictions are meant to amuse, not to guide your stock portfolio. When Sam Whitmore made a stop at the Agency earlier in the month, he pointed out that the “pearned media” concept is already playing out.

You can find it in high-brow media like The Atlantic:

The Atlantic - we need to change how we look at health and education

That orange bar with reversed out type that’s impossible to read says “Content Provided by GE,” but the format, headline, etc., all say The Atlantic.

The technique is also gaining traction in low-brow quarters like BuzzFeed:

Buzz Feed

I would love to see a study on how many readers understand that the stories with the light orange background are paid media.

Just not now.

Instead, I encourage you to head to Spin Sucks for the predictions post and a bit of levity.

This will be my last post of year, so consider the “Gone Fishing” sign officially hung.

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous narrative in 2013.


  • Sam Whitmore

    Pearned media… I like it, Lou!

    But why stop there… we could call a vendor’s explainer video that doesn’t get picked up by editors “spurned media”… and a blogger’s eight-posts-per-day “churned media,” and so on… 🙂


  • hoffman

    Very clever.

    I might borrow the “spurned media” concept.


    P.S. Worth noting that The Atlantic fiasco with the Scientology “ad” took place after this post.


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