Turner Slashes Ad Partners; Vungle CEO Fired Following Arrest

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Chopping Block

Sell-side consolidation is real. Take Turner Broadcasting, which spent the past year whittling its SSP, ad exchange and ad network vendors from 30 to six. Its tech consolidation wasn’t about reducing vendor fees. Rather, it’s improved data and ad campaign integration across Turner’s properties, says Turner EVP Amit Chaturvedi. “Last year was about deploying header bidding across display,” Chaturvedi tells Digiday. “This year is about shrinking the [ad tech] footprint and doing more with fewer people.” More at Digiday.

Vungle CEO Arrested, Fired

Vungle’s board fired CEO Zain Jaffer after his arrest on charges that include sexual abuse of his 3-year-old son and assault. The company said in a statement, “While these are only preliminary charges, they are obviously so serious that it led to the immediate removal of Mr. Jaffer from any operational responsibility at the company. The company stressed that this matter has nothing to do with Mr. Jaffer’s former role at the company.” Vungle COO Rick Tallman has taken the reins at the mobile video ad platform, but controlling the damage from allegations of such horrendous acts may not be so easy. More at Forbes.

Breaking News

Facebook is already alienating some publishers with the terms of its new Instant Articles paywall policy (blog post). The feature guarantees Facebook users at least 10 free articles on the platform per month before redirecting to a paywall on a publisher’s site. It’s a long-asked-for update, but publishers are cranky because Facebook isn’t sharing data on readers of the free articles. Publishers like The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The Economist are taking part in a trial run while the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The New York Times are holding back. “Ten free articles is quite a lot,” an anonymous WSJ exec told Reuters. “It’s more about the data and around remaining in control of our membership strategy.” More.

The Apple Triple-Tithe

Recode picks up the Facebook story too, noting that publisher grumblings aside, Apple could be the biggest barrier for the initiative.The goal for Facebook’s paywall feature is to drive news subscription sign-ups. But Apple won’t allow the subscription to go through for iOS users if it doesn’t get its 30% cut, same as it would for other App Store subscription products or app revenue. Facebook wants the pub to receive everything. The two companies have been at an impasse for months, reports Peter Kafka, but it’s a big drag on Facebook’s ability to generate news subscriptions. Android has a huge user base, but iOS owners spend and are way more likely to sign up for monthly payment plans. More.

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