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Media Briefing: The way the digital media industry spent the summertime

This weeks Media Briefing recaps the major events and trends from the summertime because the season involves a detailed.

The main element hits:

  • The M&A casino game continues to be on.
  • Digital advertising feels the impact of the economic depression.
  • Publishers are eyeing cost-cutting opportunities in preparation of another potential recession, though hiring isn’t yet at a standstill.
  • Google pumps the brakes on removing third-party cookies from its Chrome browser once more.
  • Some digital media companies have begun mandating a go back to office, however, not all employees are thrilled.

Labor Day in the U.S. has come and gone, sufficient reason for it marks the informal end of summer. As execs start evaluating 2023 budgets and measure the somewhat unexpected damages that occurred in Q2 2022, it looks like a great time to recap the events from recent months in the digital media industry for individuals who disconnected with some PTO.

Among the larger trends we followed days gone by month or two was the macroeconomic headwinds to digital advertising, that was commonly blamed amongst publishers and platforms because the reason their ad revenue was down in Q2. Acknowledging these potential dips in revenue might persist beyond the summertime, some publishers started evaluating different money-saving measures.

Meanwhile, with COVID worries subsiding, many media companies started pushing for a go back to office despite protests from their workers. And within the last couple of weeks of the growing season, we saw some M&A activity, which had largely slowed up in the initial half of the entire year, in comparison to 2021. Along with all of this, Google once more announced it had been pushing back its deadline for removing third-party cookies from Chrome, but also for many large publishers, this makes little difference with their ad sales strategy.

Below is really a refresher of five trends and events from the summertime to examine before the next strategy meeting:

A timeline lately summer M&A deals

Some media conglomerates remain eyeing digital media companies as worthwhile investments even with AT&T spun off the WarnerMedia portfolio to Discovery earlier this season and Verizon Media sold HuffPost to BuzzFeed, Inc. in Nov. 2020.

Meanwhile, digital publishers are searching for technology businesses AKA recurring revenue streams from software-as-a-service products to scoop around continually diversify their revenue models.

  • Aug. 8: Cox Enterprises acquired five-year-old publisher Axios for $525 million. This comes significantly less than per year after Axioss president and co-founder Roy Schwartz declared that its prematurily . at this stage to sell the business enterprise or even to merge it with a thing that would be bigger than we have been, but given the purchase price it sold for outpaces the companys projected 2022 revenue by five times, it appears the offer was too good to avoid.
  • Aug. 23: Yahoo acquired algorithm-driven news rating company The Factual for an undisclosed amount. Using artificial intelligence, the business ranks and labels articles in accordance with their credibility level predicated on four criteria. Yahoo News will implement the tech into its coverage however the Factual may also continue steadily to earn revenue from licensing the tech product to other publishers.
  • Aug. 30: Time acquired software licensing company Brandcast for under $101 million, in accordance with Axios. The business, now called Time Sites, provides company a platform to generate custom websites for clients, advertisers and internal projects.

Digital advertising requires a hit

Any moment there’s an economic depression, advertising budgets are likely to get tighter. But following the banner year that 2021 was, the tightening of the purse strings come early july felt more shocking than usual.

Publishers second-quarter earnings reports confirmed the suspicion that June 2022 had not been a solid month for digital advertising, and the expectation shared among many media execs is that revenue stream will undoubtedly be touch and go quite literally through the initial section of 2023.

IACs Dotdash Meredith, THE BRAND NEW York Times and BuzzFeed saw single-digit percentage decreases with their advertising businesses in Q2, though News Corp and The Arena Group reported increases of this type of business through the quarter.

The publishers arent alone in tracking decreased ad spend. Several platforms, including Twitter, Snap and Meta, reported ad revenue was down in the next quarter due to macroeconomic headwinds.

Cost-cutting as a precaution

Some cost-cutting measures from spring 2020 began resurfacing over summer 2022 in publishers business strategies when digital advertising revenue became less reliable and slowdowns in consumer spending resulted in less e-commerce revenue for a few media companies.

Food52 is one publisher thats enacted a lot of cost-cutting measures. In June it let go 15% of its staff, or 21 people, and moved its content team and section of its creative team to a 32-hour workweek, effectively cutting those employees take-home pay by 20%. This follows a youthful round of layoffs earlier this April where 20 employees primarily from this content, creative and marketing teams were release. As the first round of layoffs was designed to manage the margin and offer chain challenges due to Covid, the next round was to handle all the changes to consumer spending and brace the business enterprise against a possible recession, in accordance with company spokespeople.

Gannett, which reported revenue losses in its second-quarter earnings report in early August, let go approximately 65 people, slowed hiring and reduced the budgets for third-party company contracts, freelance and travel, a spokesperson said.

Not absolutely all money-saving strategies have led to layoffs. Last month, Digiday reported that BuzzFeed, Inc. and IAC, owner of Dotdash Meredith, were slowing hiring and only concentrating on critical roles targeted at supporting top revenue lines. THE BRAND NEW York Times, however, reported during its second-quarter earnings call that it’s rolling back its marketing spending to save lots of money.

Several publishers used come early july to downsize their notoriously expensive NY City-based office spaces, including WarnerMedia and BuzzFeed, Inc., which subleased thousands of square feet of work place, and Dotdash Meredith put over 300,000 square feet of work place available earlier in the entire year.

The uphill battle of time for any office

For the publishers which are still keeping work place, getting employees to utilize it has shown to be hook challenge.

The Washington Post was in warm water with The Washington Post Guild in June following the companys leadership mandated staffers enter into its office at the very least three times weekly or face disciplinary action, in accordance with a written report by The Daily Beast. The fights between unions and media execs over in-office mandates have already been going on a long time before the summertime began, but were reignited by the BA.5 variant.

Other newly combined publishers, like BuzzFeed/Complex, Dotdash/Meredith and Vox Media/Group Nine, faced a puzzle of challenging to gather once completely independent staff for the very first time after merging while remote.

Google delayed the cookie apocalypse again

Googles new deadline for removing third-party cookies from its Chrome browser may be the end of 2024 giving publishers, advertisers and ad tech companies another 2 yrs to determine a remedy for measuring ad performance in a privacy-compliant way.

For a few larger publishers who’ve honed their first-party data strategies, this gift of time is unneeded as third-party cookies play a marginal section of their ad businesses.

When Google announced this rebel to 2024, it had been a blip on the radar, said Vox Media CRO Ryan Pauley on an bout of the Digiday Podcast. And I recall I saw the headline, but we didnt scramble to comprehend what it could mean for the business just how that people did once the first delay arrived a rebel to 2023. Pauley added that in 2021, the lions share three-quarters of the companys total impressions ran through the companys first-party data solution Forte.

But also for others, these continued delays are worrisome since it reduces the sense of urgency that previously was the light within the industrys procrastinators publishers, marketers and vendors alike.

What weve heard

We realize that dot-com is actually where a large amount of [commerce] action happens, but [were] considering just how do we utilize the platforms as another marketing tool thats helping drive [conversions]? And thats testing TikTok versus Instagram versus leveraging creators and influencers. Its [about] how exactly we leverage peripheral triggers to greatly help [complete] the [buying] process.

A media company CRO on what theyre using social commerce within their fourth-quarter commerce strategy

3 questions with The BBCs Jonathan Aspinwall on rebooting its American politics podcast

The BBCs sights are set over the pond this season: In February, the U.K.-based broadcast company announced plans to double its UNITED STATES digital news team and expand its audience growth team to cultivate revenue opportunities outside the U.K. Now, an integral section of attracting more UNITED STATES listeners may be the revival of its American political podcast Americast.

Originally created in 2020, Americast released its first episode in half a year on Aug. 31, featuring three new hosts and another focus. The podcast continued hiatus after former hosts Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel announced their exits from the BBC in February. THE UNITED STATES correspondent Anthony The Zurch Zurcher is time for the weekly podcast, while new hosts include THE UNITED STATES editor Sarah Smith, former THE UNITED STATES editor now presenter Justin Webb and disinformation and social media marketing correspondent Marianna Spring.

As a public service broadcaster, the BBC is funded by way of a license fee in the U.K., that is paid annually by all households with a Television set and is under threat to be eliminated by the U.K. government. Outside the U.K., the BBC operates a commercial business selling content, advertising and sponsorship deals. Growing the BBCs listenership in THE UNITED STATES and beyond is really a play to also drive revenue the broadcasters podcasts are monetized with ads by way of a cope with Acast.

Digiday spoke to Jonathan Aspinwall, the BBCs senior editor of news podcasts, to listen to why Americast that includes a most U.K. listeners will concentrate on disinformation before the U.S. midterm elections this November. Sara Guaglione

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

How come the BBC bringing back Americast?

Another year brings an enormous selection of engaging topics the congressional midterms, the primaries and the campaigns before them. All that provides ready-made drama with the winners and losers, amongst so several interesting personalities. Americasters once we call our listeners were asking us another, but we wished to make sure we’d the proper team set up. We see our hosts as these trusted friends who’ve a worldwide perspective on whats going on in the us. Thats the central tenet of the podcast.

Whats different these times, other than the brand new hosts?

The [disinformation focus] is whats new, insurance firms Marianna and her expertise on the podcast. Also, we’ve a broad selection of hosts two of these come in the States. Were also doing an test out Pew Research Center, where we created undercover [fictional] voters who represent the political spectrum. We created five profiles each one of these includes a different name, interests, their current address. They will have computer-generated photos. Each one of these has accounts on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter [and YouTube]. Then we analyze instantly what information is pushed their solution to see what content is preferred to U.S. voters on social media marketing. Its really pertinent prior to the midterms, to see what folks face.

Why focus the podcast on disinformation?

Americasters ask us lots of questions. They really shape the pod. Were discovering that, increasingly, the questions theyre asking and the comments theyre making are about disinformation and whats going on in social media marketing and how thats shaping American public opinion the trends, the concerns. Its our job to lift the lid and explore this.

We’d also want to crack the U.S. market. After all, we are already but thats important to us. Its a worldwide podcast. But we exercised that internationally and in THE UNITED STATES, folks are hungry for home elevators impartiality, trust and disinformation. So we prearranged our hosts to reflect that.

Numbers to learn

6: The amount of top editors that National Geographic let go the other day while reorganizing its editorial structure.

-18.4%: The common reduction of the very best 100 publishers promotional charges for subscriptions over a two-month period from June to August 2022.

35%: The percentage of 55 publisher respondents in a fresh Digiday+ Study who said their company hasnt made any preparations for a potential recession.

What weve covered

Digiday+ Research: Most publishers agree a recession is coming, but a third havent done anything to get ready:

  • Almost all publishers agree well maintain a recession next year.
  • Even though, greater than a third of respondents to Digidays survey of 55 publishers said their company hasnt done anything to get ready for a recession.

Read more about publishers recession outlooks here.

The definitive guide to whats in and out in ad tech in 2022:

  • Ad tech has seen lots of changes to date this season, so we made a definitive set of whats in and whats out to help with making sense of everything.
  • For instance, hype for data clean rooms is certainly out while confusion over data clean rooms is completely in.

Read more concerning the intricacies of ad tech here.

How CBS News co-presidents Neeraj Khemlani and Wendy McMahon are upgrading their streaming news outlet:

  • CBS News is adding more traditional TV talent to its streaming outlet.
  • In the most recent Digiday Podcast, CBS News and Stations co-presidents and co-heads Neeraj Khemlani and Wendy McMahon discussed the brand new nightly primetime news program and the streamers development since its November 2014 debut.

Hear Khemlani and McMahon on the most recent Digiday Podcast episode here.

How one startup hopes to decentralize ad exchanges to benefit publishers and agencies:

  • Two-year-old London startup Alkimi Exchange is proposing a decentralized version of the existing ad exchange system.
  • The business is beta testing with U.K.-based publishers and can launch in the U.S. and U.K. in October.

Read more about Alkimi Exchange here.

Media companies downsize office spaces in NYC:

  • Media companies that continue steadily to provide flexibility of remote work are reconsidering office spaces which are going unused in expensive locations like NEW YORK.
  • WarnerMedia put over 450,000 square feet of work place in Midtown Manhattan available for sublease last quarter, meanwhile, Dotdash Meredith put over 300,000 square-feet of work place in the Financial District available in the initial quarter.

Read more about publishers NYC-based office spaces here.

What were reading

Vice Media explores a content cope with MBC:

As the digital media company shops for a buyer, THE BRAND NEW York Times reported that Vice can be exploring a cope with MBC, a media giant partly owned by the Saudi government, to produce a new content partnership in your community.

Another top CNN personality has gone out:

John Harwood, who served as a White House correspondent for two-and-a-half years at the business, abruptly departed CNN the other day, raising more questions about CNNs editorial strategy, in accordance with Poynter.

Axel Springers CEO includes a different view of American media:

Significantly less than per year after Mathias Dpfners company bought Politico, the CEO can be involved that American media is becoming too polarized, based on the Washington Post.

Federal privacy bill could have hit a dead end:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t support the present draft of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, this means it may be indefinitely stalled inside your home of Representatives, in accordance with Adweek.

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