What’s New In Selling The News; Letitia James Lays Down The Law (Post-Roe)

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Pub Crawl

Some ad tech and publisher software companies operate their own media outlets, sometimes as a useful data collection pipeline or as a facade of respectability, so to speak. 

Minute Media is one hybrid example with digital-native brands, but there’s also the Blackstone-backed B2B media company IBT as well as The Arena Group (formerly The Maven), which owns Sports Illustrated, TheStreet and a collection of other some might say random publications. System1 is a performance marketing engine backed by data and fronted by consumer properties like MapQuest, CarsGenius and HowStuffWorks.

But on the flip side, publishers are trading on their news brands to sell subscription software. The Washington Post is an early mover with its Zeus business; Vox has publisher software of its own called Concert. 

The newest entrant to this pub-focused pantheon could be The Atlantic, which is hiring for an “ad tech/SaaS sr. product manager” (h/t @corndog for the spot) to commercialize its in-house tech.

Using its homegrown technology, The Atlantic saw its CPMs improve by 50%, and so it expects other publishers will be interested, per the listing

“As the third-longest-running magazine in America,” The Atlantic writes in its listing, “we find ourselves at a remarkable moment: one of both continuation and transformation, of upholding our legacy while continuously reinventing ourselves for the future.”

Turn Off

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, women could be in danger online.

Many women use apps that help them track fertility and menstrual cycles, and if abortion rights are threatened, data privacy breaches might leak personal information about women seeking reproductive care – or even put them at risk of prosecution.

On Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James shared public advice on best practices in this, unfortunately, brave new world.

“With abortion access in jeopardy, it’s more important than ever that everyone take data security seriously,” she said in an alert, which listed five specific steps, with how-to sources per device. For example, James advised turning off location services, using a VPN or private browser, using only end-to-end encrypted messaging servers, being careful about what you post on social media and managing your … well, privacy settings.

Some of these steps are obvious, but it’s important to remember that apps on your phone do share your data with each other (although Apple has started to make it more difficult on iOS), and there’s no easy way to tell which ones pass such data to third-party brokers.

A Different Privacy Oops

There’s the view among some that, in the name of protecting privacy, GDPR has harmed business growth and innovation.

But GDPR has also become a vector for bad actors, as in malicious government actors, writes Mike Masnick of Techdirt. Russian-affiliated should-be criminals are using GDPR and other privacy laws (in some cases successfully) to sue publishers and prevent news stories about individuals associated with sanctioned oligarchs. 

The Economist also published a report this month about how global privacy laws are open to bad faith abuse. The current case against Forensic News, which reported on a connection between a security consultant and a Russian criminal, was struck down and then successfully appealed on the grounds that the publisher is a data processor, having profiled an EU citizen by aggregating and analyzing data from around the web.

American courts have stronger rules about suits meant to intimidate reporters, not to mention the First Amendment. But in EU courts, bad faith suits can easily slip by on textual pretenses. 

But Wait, There’s More!

Hulu partners with Xbox to bring PC Gamers free games in a bundle deal. [TechCrunch]

Richard Tofel: What should we make of the retreat of BuzzFeed News? [blog]

A handy made-for-Twitter thread on the Privacy Sandbox updates from Google I/O. [tweet]

Kantar acquires Qmee, an app-based survey service. [release]

Streamers are still busy experimenting with their ad loads. [Morning Brew]

An interesting thread on research by @EJGibney digging into a shady ad exchange called Atlas5, owned by VDO.AI, plus an update using analysis of sellers.json data by @braedon.

Out-of-home providers are banding together for an upfront. (Guess there’s an upfront for everything now.) [MediaPost]

You’re Hired!

Charter and Comcast name Marcien Jenckes as head of their new joint venture streaming platform. [Fierce Video]

OpenWeb appoints Forbes, and Penske Media vet Mark Howard as chief business officer. [release]

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