AT&T Vs. DOJ Update; Taboola In Deal With Smartphone Maker ZTE

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Survey Says…

As more witnesses take the stand in the Department of Justice’s challenge to the $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner, the telco’s legal strategy is coming into focus. The DOJ case rests in part of a pair of surveys, one by an MIT professor hired by the department and another conducted on behalf of Charter, a rival telco who opposes the merger, to prove users would unsubscribe to their service without Turner Networks. In response, AT&T’s legal team is questioning the validity of online surveys, reports CNN. District Judge Richard Leon, who’s presiding over the case, may be sympathetic to that argument. He questioned on Tuesday how researchers are sure whether survey takers aren’t just clicking through to get paid. More.  

Revenue On Lock

ZTE, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, tapped Taboola to serve news and lifestyle content to lock screens on some phones. Taboola is “pitching the module as a publisher-friendly Android version of Apple News,” reports The Wall Street Journal. But the Taboola feature wouldn’t exist in a standalone app, as Apple News does. Taboola founder and CEO Adam Singolda said the service will also traffic users directly to publisher pages, unlike Apple News, which keeps users in its app. Taboola and ZTE will share an undisclosed portion of the ad revenue from sending a user to a story, and Singolda said content marketers may eventually be allowed to pay to include links as well. More.

Condé Content

After some editorial downsizing and a slog through a digital evolution, Condé Nast is betting on video. But it’s a risky move, as The New York Times points out in a profile. Video is expensive and the audiences aren’t massive enough for effective monetization. Yet execs at various Condé properties have high hopes. Craig Kostelic, chief business officer of The Lifestyle Collection, told the Times that he hopes video will be half its business in 24 months. The Times notes that Condé’s video producers are down on Facebook, where engagement is lacking, but bulling about YouTube. And as for revenue? That’s split between ads and sponsorships. More.

Sorrell Speaks

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell denied wrongdoing after WPP confirmed it’s investigating him for alleged misconduct and misuse of company funds [AdExchanger coverage]. “I reject the allegation unreservedly but recognise that the Company has to investigate it,” he wrote. “As a significant share owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over thirty years ago, remains absolute – to our people, our clients, our shareholders and all of our many stakeholders. I do not intend to make any further statement at this time.” MediaPost has more. Meanwhile, the Drum put forward a list of Sorrell’s possible successors. Read it.

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