Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.
Vice Is In For A SPAC-ING
Is there another SPAC-driven media merger on the horizon? According to The Information, Vice Media is in “advanced talks” to go public by merging with 7GC & Co Holdings. Vice had apparently met with other SPACs in the past, but this one is really progressing. 7GC is led by investor Jack Leeney, who’s also taken stakes in Cheddar, which was bought by Altice two years ago. Vice will likely see a drastic reduction from its peak value of $5.7 billion some years back. A former SPAC contender reportedly valued Vice at $2.5 billion. Although Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc has cut costs, she hasn’t been able to drive revenue, which The Information points out fell from $604 million in 2019 to $580 million last year. But if Vice does take the SPAC route, it better move fast. “All the media firms see the SPAC craze as a way to realize a higher valuation in the public markets than might have been possible otherwise,” writes Jessica Toonkel. “But lately there have been signs that SPAC deal making has slowed.” Vice isn’t alone. BuzzFeed is also reportedly getting into the SPAC game and is in talks to merge with 890 Fifth Ave Partners.
Oh good, another state-driven privacy bill. This shouldn’t be confusing. The latest bill comes courtesy of Colorado: SB 21-190 AKA “an Act Concerning additional protection of data relating to personal privacy.” Four letter acronym forthcoming? In any event, Colorado’s bill “generally tracks” with elements from the CCPA (California!), CPDA (Virginia!), CPRA (California again!) and the GDPR (Europe, come on down!). It applies to entities that do business or sell products/services to Coloradans and that either control/process personal data of more than 100,000 people per year, or sell the data of at least 25,000 people. Enforcement of the law comes from the Colorado attorney general or DAs, with violations resulting in civil penalties between $2,000 to $500,000. Read more here.
A New Feed
Facebook is introducing a new feature that will give users a choice about how content is presented to them in their news feed. Specifically, the feature will let users toggle between algorithmically ranked content, posts sorted chronologically or based on their friends and favorite pages. Android users had access to the feature starting on Wednesday, and iOS users can get their mitts on it “in the coming weeks,” according to Facebook. What’s the motivation here? Facebook has been under increasing fire, particularly in Congress, for promoting automated systems that amplify hate speech, misinformation and extremist content in a bid to boost engagement. In addition to the new feature, Facebook also plans to intro more ways for users to understand why content is showing up in their feed and to unveil more information hubs that point users to authoritative information “where there is a clear society benefit,” in the words of Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of global affairs and communications. CNBC has more.
Sometimes, people team up to dislike YouTube videos en masse. To prevent this gang up behavior, YouTube Is experimenting with removing the dislike counts. Video creators can still see them, but viewers will not be able to. YouTube isn’t the only social platform that’s tested removing basic reaction signals. Instagram played around with removing “likes” back in 2019 in a move to protect the well-being of its “regular” users, particularly teens. Facebook has also tested removing like counts. We’ve come a long way since the days when brands were encouraged to buy likes and view video reactions as a key way to measure success. Read more.
But Wait, There’s More!
Vice Media Group has acquired creative consultancy Pltfrmr, which will subsequently be merged with in-house creative agency Virtue. [Adweek]
Google will contribute $29 million to the EU’s newly established European Media and Information Fund to tackle misinformation and fake news. [Forbes]
Overall worldwide headcount fell 5.8% for WPP, Publicis, Omnicom, Interpublic and Dentsu as ad giants downshifted during the pandemic. [Ad Age]
With the future of the IP address in doubt, CTV is facing its own version of an identity crisis. [Digiday]
At least five agency groups could be competing in Unilever’s media review. [CampaignUS]
Samba TV is partnering with TV measurement and analytics company 605 in a deal that gives Samba exclusive access to a subset of 605’s TV viewership data. [Advanced Television]
Ecommerce platform Pacvue will now support self-serve advertising via Amazon DSP. [release]
Steve Jacobs has joined Food52 as chief product officer, and Matt Greenberg joins as SVP of brand partnerships. [release]
DoubleVerify has appointed two regional VPs in EMEA. [ExchangeWire]