a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price
The New York Times’ Tanzina Vega reports on a type of automated ad buying called programmatic or real-time bidding (RTB), the latest advancement from the ad network community. The general idea is that an ad buyer bids on every page where a prospective buyer goes, in real-time. The intended result is to get an ad or series of ads to follow the customer across the web. The unintended result is that it lowers the revenue of every media property that participates.
Or, as Steve Brill states in the Columbia Journalism Review:
…on the heels of the Internet having destroyed the readership and advertising revenue of printed newspapers, further advances in digital technology now threaten the papers’ digital ad business.
One of the current axioms of media advertising is that differentiation is the key to ad sales. While the nearly limitless supply of low-quality advertising inexorably drives prices down, premium advertising — defined by a media property offering exclusive access to a specific, sought-after audience — is the only financially sustainable advertising model.