Comcast Planning Video Platform; The New York Times Social Bot

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So Watchable

Sources tell Business Insider that Comcast plans to launch a video platform in the coming weeks. The platform is called Watchable for now, and will host content from digital publishers like Vox, BuzzFeed, AwesomenessTV, The Onion, Mic, Vice and NBC Sports. The platform would add to Comcast’s smart-TV solution, Xfinity. “Comcast is currently the largest seller of video ads in the United States,” said one anonymous source. “As platforms shift to digital, Comcast doesn’t want to lose market share, but they’re losing it to YouTube and Facebook.” The video platform space is getting crowded. Read more.

Tech To The Rescue

For a publisher like The New York Times, picking which of its 300 or so daily articles to promote on social media is a big job. To solve that problem, NYT built a bot called Blossom that works within messaging app Slack. Blossom processes story content data and measures it against performance metrics like Facebook’s post engagement tool. According to the Times’ chief data scientist, Chris Wiggins, Blossom is as much about helping editors as it is about promoting content. “When you are a technologist working at a company as big as The New York Times,” he said, “you can go into a room of twenty growth editors and ask them what parts of the day are difficult and how technology can help.” Nieman Journalism Lab has more.

Betting On Buyable Pins

Speaking to TechCrunch, Pinterest monetization GM Tim Kendall opens up about the social scrapbooking firm’s commerce plans. According to Kendall, Pinterest is betting on its Buyable Pins, which launched in June. “It is tempting to draw a buy button on a product and say you’ve enabled commerce,” he said. But that’s not enough. “In our case we feel like we’ve built the full end-to-end capability. We now offer 2.5 million products that are buyable.” Pinterest’s market cap hit $11 billion in May, after a round of funding led by Rakuten. Read on.

The Blame Game

In a think piece published late last week, Fortune senior writer Mathew Ingram places the blame for ad blocker usage squarely on publishers’ shoulders. Ingram does cut publishers some slack by recognizing a core conundrum: Publishers rely on ads for revenue, “But in order to cater to advertisers who want to see large numbers, many feel they have to pump out as much shallow clickbait as they possibly can,” Ingram writes. “That in turn makes their sites even more reliant on advertising, because no one in their right mind would actually pay to subscribe to a site that publishes that kind of content.” Are publishers’ hands tied? More.

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