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Hearst Partners with AOL’s Pictela for Bigger, Better Ads

Hearst Magazines Digital Media (HMDM) has adopted AOL’s Pictela ad platform. The platform will allow Hearst to use something called the “Portrait” ad unit, which is essentially a large format display ad. The ads will be used across Heart’s digital properties, including,,, and

For AOL, this is a big moment. Until now, the only sites that have featured the Portrait system have been AOL brands. Getting a big publishing house like Hearst to adopt it is a big step forward to convincing other companies to adopt Pictela as well. Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, explained, “Brand advertisers now have an ad solution that allows them to leverage all their brand assets and really drive incredible consumer engagement.  It’s a critical step in the aesthetic revolution across the Web, providing the best online experiences for users, publishers and advertisers.”

Much like AOL, Hearst is excited for the possibilities. Kristine Welker, Chief Revenue Officer for HMDM, says, “Pictela continues to create high-quality, innovative ad solutions that drive measurable results, and we’re thrilled to be the first magazine company to offer these premium ad units.”

What does all this mean for readers?

Well, sadly, it means bigger, more intrusive ads. The reason Pictela has been so successful is that the ads are almost impossible to ignore. So no, it’s not exactly good news for readers. But think of it this way: If the advertising money doesn’t come in, all those articles you like to read will eventually disappear, because Hearst won’t be able to pay the writers who create them.

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