Gannett Reconfigures USA Today, Points To Digital; Aegis Getting Acquisitive; The Rumor Mill

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USA Today Points To Digital

The literally, colorful paper known as USA Today is not just getting a makeover but a complete strategic shift that began late last week. The New York Times reports that layoffs of the workforce are underway and that the paper’s owner Gannett says that “the paper’s focus will now be on its digital operations. It will emphasize breaking news on its Web site, aiming to post articles within 30 minutes of a breaking news event.” Read more.

Aegis Reports Q2, Says Its Acquisitive

Aegis Group, owners of Carat, Vizeum, Posterscope, Isobar and iProspect, continued the patterns set by other holding company earnings announcements and said that their Q2 2010 earnings were positive. Ad Age’s Emma Hall reports, “Aegis’ organic revenue grew 3.2% to $1 billion in the first half of 2010 and its pre-tax profits rose 8.3% to $75 million, driven by a solid second quarter.” Read more. CEO Jerry Buhlmann indicated he’s ready to start making acquisitions, too – as in more agencies.

Rumor Mill

The Business Insider’s Nick Saint turns digital heads with his article on who will buy real-time ad platform AppNexus. Saint says Microsoft and AOL may be looking at AppNexus, and he adds that AOL “has been conspicuously absent from RTB. That’s especially strange since AOL is increasingly becoming a content creation company, and will have ever more ad inventory of its own to sell.” Read more.

Data For Video Targeting

Data provider TARGUSinfo announced that it, too, will be providing data through’s video marketplace and its Brand Impact product. According to the release, “Through this agreement, will access the verified audiences from AdAdvisor to enhance consumer targeting for online video advertising.” Read more.

Merging Media Buying, Social Marketing

Tessa Wegert discusses how marketers are approaching merging their social media marketing and their media buying in a piece on ClickZ. She identifies a Clorox campaign which gets it right: “Using an interactive banner to promote a social campaign in this way is the ideal approach for brands keen on building a relationship with their customers through Twitter.” Read more.

Vibrant Media Offers Results

In case you missed it, Vibrant Media recently offered insight on financial results for the in-text online advertising company. The company said in a release it is “reporting 51% Y-Y growth in Q2’10, and 45% Y-Y growth in H1’10. Categories which have shown particular strength globally during the first half of 2010 include Automotive (up 44% Y-Y), Business & Finance (up 63% Y-Y) and CPG (up 124% Y-Y).” Read more.

VideoEgg and SixApart

More rumor mill!  The Business Insider thinks that video ad technology and network company, VideoEgg, and blogging platform SixApart are on the verge of a merger. TBI’s Nick Saint says internal forces may be at works as both companies share “investors and two board members, August Capital’s David Hornik and Focus Ventures’ Steven Bird.” Read more.

Video Size Vs. Quality

Ashkan Karbasfrooshan of breaks down the marketer’s conundrum of online video advertising today into two, over-arching groups (size of the audience and quality of the site) and four quadrants (Technology, Distribution, Advertising or Content). He writes on TechCrunch, “While it’s true that size and reach are going to be a major hindrance for small and mid-sized video companies, regardless of whether they’re in Content, Technology, Distribution or Advertising, I’d still rather be producing quality content.” Read more.

JCrew Comes Online

Popular apparel retailer JCrew is looking to bring its outlet stores online. The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Holmes points out that the company risks cannibalizing sales from its high margin, brick-and-mortar stores since “Apparel companies typically locate outlet stores in out-of-the-way malls, forcing customers to drive long distances to get access to the discounted goods.” Read more. Let the retargeting campaign begin.

Software For Creatives, By Creatives

Who says an agency can’t build it’s own technology? According to The New York Times, “BETC Euro RSCG, part of the Euro RSCG Worldwide division of Havas, has developed software that can produce elementary advertisements.” The article has a great quote from an agency exec about this cross-channel software in regards to creative teams who use it: “After this first reaction, they get a little scared when they see that a software program can create the same (mediocre) results in just 10 seconds as several hours of strategic meetings and production.” Read more.

Adnetik’s New Digital Digs

Havas Digital’s agency trading desk known as Adnetik is featuring a brand new website which outlines some of the players behind the group as well as the core strategy around “AIM.” From the site: “Adnetik is unique in that we have the ability to assimilate data from multiple sources to operate the Audience Investment Management (AIM) system.” Ding! – a new acronym is born. Visit And, see the execs page.

The Ad Verification Debate

Jim Ewel of ad verifier Adometry asks if blocking ads is the right approach for ad verification companies. He believes that unwanted latency is being introduced into the display ad daisy chain, for example. He adds, “It almost always makes more sense to fix a problem at the source rather than at the final distribution point.” But, Ewel admits that solutions around self-policing URLs beforehand have challenges, too. Read more.

Fish Goes To Sears

Ex-Razorfish President David Friedman is taking his digital experience and moving to Sears Holdings where he’ll become SVP and president of marketing. Read more. According to DM News, “Friedman will replace Richard Gerstein, who resigned in May to become Hewlett-Packard’s SVP of strategy and worldwide marketing for its personal systems group.”

The Mission Is A Pile Of…

Clickable marketing guru Max Kalehoff pens a think piece on MediaPost’s Online Spin blog titled: “Your Company’s Mission & Values Are Probably A Big Pile Of Nothing.” Kalehoff writes, “I won’t implicate any specific companies, but I’ll cite some of the most commonly abused words: powered, innovation, integrity, honesty, trust, accountability, responsibility, solutions, excellence, superior, committed and standard. You get the idea. You’d think we’re getting ready for an intense session of BS bingo.” Read the article. And, get your BS Bingo card here.

When To Sell Your Start-up

Eric Paley ruminates about the right time to sell your start-up assuming you have one. He seems to think the answer lies in an understanding of risk as your start-up’s success fluctuates and writes, “The right question is how far away is that next peak and how much dilution will be endured in that time.” Read more.

HTML5 Love

Looking to secure the business of iAd video lovers, Tremor Media announced that it now provides HTML5 video capability. From the release: “Tremor Media will first enable these advanced formats on the Apple iPad and will continue bringing such capabilities to further HTML5 devices by the end of the year.” Read it. FWIW, the popular Flash video format is not allowed on the iAd platform – yet.

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