Good Media Morning to you.
By all accounts, something really nutty is happening at Newsweek…Buzzfeed and NBC are buddying up for a new parenting channel…Facebook looks to take on Youtube with ‘Watch’…Conde Nast is giving Amazon’s Echo Look a test run with GQ and Vogue…Viacom inks mobile streaming deal for Latin America…While we’re on Viacom, the media giant is planning to cut some staffers…Disney is possibly facing a competing bid from Comcast for Fox‘s entertainment assets… These and more for your Media Morning Today. Dive in!
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YEAH REALLY. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AT NEWSWEEK?
After a handful of top reporters and editors were fired in a purge of the Newsweek masthead on Monday, about 40 of the magazine’s staffers ignored management’s invitation to go home and busted out wine and bourbon for what one employee described as “half funeral, half party.”
BUZZFEED AND NBC UNIVERSAL BUDDY UP ON NEW PARENTING CHANNEL CALLED ‘PLAYFUL’
NBCUniversal and BuzzFeed are creating a new millennial parenting channel together called Playfull, hoping to replicate BuzzFeed’s success with verticals like Tasty and Nifty. Playfull launches today on Facebook and is the first publishing brand that will be co-owned by the longtime partners.
VIACOM WHICH IS EXPLORING A MERGER WITH CBS, IS ACQUIRING VIDCON
VidCon is a popular online video conference held annually in southern California since 2010. VidCon will be an independent division of Viacom and will keep its offices. Its leadership team will remain intact. A formal announcement is expected to be made later this week if the deal closes.
FACEBOOK TAKING AIM AT YOUTUBE WITH “WATCH”
Facebook is talking about expanding its TV-like service, Watch, into a rival to Google’s YouTube by opening the platform to more individual creators, according to several people familiar with the plans. This would increase the amount of long-form video content that Facebook can sell ads against, and could reverse a decline in the time users are spending on the site.
SNAP ADDS PARENTING CHANNEL TO SNAPCHAT DISCOVER
Snapchat is starting to hang out with an older crowd. The traditionally teen-focused social media app is adding its first parenting channel, with child-rearing humor and advice site Scary Mommy joining Snapchat Discover on Tuesday.
CONDE NAST’S VOGUE AND GQ BRANDS TO TEST CONTENT INSIDE AMAZON’S ECHO LOOK
Condé Nast glossies Vogue and GQ are focusing more on content recommendations that lead to e-commerce, and they’ve found another place to syndicate them. Starting on Feb. 19, the Amazon Echo Look, a camera-equipped version of the Alexa-powered devices, will feature content from the magazines on the home screen of its mobile app.
BUSINESS INSIDER AND VOX ENDED 2017 ON A STRONG NOTE
In memos to their respective staffs, Henry Blodget, editorial director of Business Insider, and Jim Bankoff, Vox Media Chairman and CEO, addressed each company’s performance during 2017 — and business is good.
HOW HEARST MAGAZINES NAVIGATED THE “PRINT IS DEAD” NARRATIVE
Hearst Magazines had some soul searching to do. With the “death of print” narrative prevalent during the economic recession in 2008 (reminiscent of the “death of retail” narrative facing our industry today), the publishing company needed a way to stay relevant in the magazine business.
TEEN VOGUE INSTALLS NEW EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Following the departure of editor in chief Elaine Welteroth, TeenVogue.com is moving full steam ahead under the leadership of chief content officer Phillip Picardi who is building out his team. The first new addition to the team since Mr. Picardi took charge is Samhita Mukhopadhyay who joins from Mic.com as TeenVogue.com’s new executive editor.
GOOGLE SAYS ONLY 1% OF PUBLISHERS ARE AFFECTED BY ITS CHROME AD BLOCKER
Google says that roughly 1% of publishers aren’t compliant with its third-party ad blocking standards, meaning the vast majority of web-publishers will not be impacted by the ad blocker the tech giant will install in its latest version of the Google Chrome web browser next week.
DIGITAL MEDIA CAN ENHANCE FAMILY LIFE
Digital media activities are enhancing family life rather than destroying it as they increasingly play an important role in families, a study has found. Research by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) challenges the prevailing narrative that digital media is undermining family life, separating family members and diverting them from traditional, shared activities.
VIACOM INKS MOBILE STREAMING DEAL FOR LATIN AMERICA
Viacom has closed a deal with Telefónica to make a variety of its TV channels and content available for streaming to subscribers of the Movistar Play platform in Latin America.
GOOGLE’S FORMER CEO ERIC SCHMIDT NAMED INNOVATION FELLOW AT MIT
A longtime Google executive is taking on a new role at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university announced Monday that Eric Schmidt will become an innovation fellow starting in the spring. It’s a yearlong fellowship that will involve working with scholars.
COMCAST CONSIDERING CHALLENGING DISNEY’S FOX BID WITH A BID OF ITS OWN
Comcast Corp. is considering making a bid for the Fox TV-entertainment assets that Fox agreed to sell to Disney in December. In turn, per a CNBC report, Disney is already preparing to top a Comcast bid, if one is made. The original deal had a price tag of $52.4 billion, which included the Fox movie/TV studio, FX Networks, Nat Geo, Hulu and international TV holdings.
VIACOM PLANS MAJOR LAYOFFS
Viacom is planning to announce a significant round of layoffs this week. The exact number of cuts is unclear, but the layoffs will affect dozens of employees. The media conglomerate behind Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon will make cuts mostly in sales and marketing.
NBC’S SUPER BOWL IS THE MOST STREAMED EVER
While 7 million fewer people watched NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LII on NBC on Sunday, the network’s streaming effort pulled in more than 2 million viewers, making it the most streamed Super Bowl ever, the network said. That’s 300,000 more online viewers than last year’s Super Bowl.