Media prices have always historically reflected a price for the “opportunity to see” an ad, not a guarantee that the ad would be seen. However, some agencies have jumped on new technology that measures “viewability” as a means to renegotiate and pay only for viewable advertising.
Any time you change compensation terms in an agreement, they should be very carefully considered. The reason media exists is because publishers have a unique core competency in their ability to attract and gain loyal readership from audiences that are attractive to marketers.
However, when a publisher’s compensation shifts to a model whereby they must negatively impact that user experience in order to get paid, by for instance, putting ad units in locations and environments that a user might find intrusive, we risk the unintended consequence of losing and further fragmenting audiences. If we kill user experience, we risk killing the golden goose that delivers audiences on demand when marketers need them.