Viacom And Discovery Bid To Acquire Scripps Networks; TheSkimm Poaches Brandon Berger From Ogilvy & Mather

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Battle Of The Broadcasters

Viacom and Discovery are bidding to acquire broadcast company Scripps Networks for as much as $10.6 billion. Scripps owns channels like HGTV and The Food Network, which are still popular even as consumers shift from cable TV to over-the-top and digital video. Both Viacom and Discovery think Scripps would give them the makeover they need to sell attractive skinny bundles and give them more clout in negotiations with cable providers. Discovery may be the more attractive buyer, as it’s evolved its traditionally nonfiction programming to reach all demographics. Viacom owns networks targeted to kids and teens like MTV and Nickelodeon, which are tanking in viewership. More.  

Closed Loops

TheSkimm, a newsletter geared to young women, poached Ogilvy & Mather digital chief Brandon Berger to oversee new revenue streams it’s spinning out of the daily email. The company has a video production arm, ads and a subscription package, but it’s also a strong affiliate partner. For instance, theSkimm worked with Starbucks over the 2016 holidays on custom-branded versions of the newsletter with two-for-one discounts. Target also has a partnership with theSkimm that includes ecommerce affiliate links and in-store signage in book aisles. What connects those partnerships is the ability to directly attribute value: Starbucks by tracking the claimed coupons and Target through affiliate links and sales on specific books. “TheSkimm moves product,” co-CEO and co-founder Danielle Weisberg tells Business Insider. “We know how to connect with our audience.” More.

Stored Up

Dentsu Aegis and Rakuten are joining forces on a data-driven agency asset called Rakuten Data Marketing, which will offer brand partnership opportunities across Rakuten’s ecommerce empire and extend that data into Dentsu’s media offering. Ownership of the new business unit, launching in October, will be split 51-49% between Rakuten and Dentsu, respectively. Target has leaned on agency and ad tech partners to assemble co-branding opportunities for products sold in stores [AdExchanger coverage], and by syncing data these two Japanese media and tech giants could pursue similar deals in ecommerce environments. It’s also reminiscent of the joint venture Nielsen Catalina Solutions, which combines Catalina store sales and Nielsen audience data for CPG advertisers. More at MediaPost.

No Place Like Home

The popular iRobot Roomba vacuum could be selling spatial data to connected home companies like Alphabet, Amazon and Apple within a few years, according to company CEO Colin Angle. “There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” he told Reuters, raising the hackles of consumer privacy groups. Even if Roomba owners consent, what happens when they move? Is the data accessible to police or insurance companies? “It kind of goes with the mantra that everything that can be connected will be connected,” Albert Gidari, privacy director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, tells The New York Times. And the corollary: “All the data that can be collected will be collected.” More.


After a few false starts, Facebook TV will finally be a reality in August, Bloomberg reports. The platform will begin by airing low-budget, short-form video on its platform and expand into longer shows later in the year. Users will be able to access Facebook’s original scripted TV programming along with user-generated content next to the news feed in a new video tab, which the company hopes will be a gateway into the the $70 billion TV ad market. Once it’s up and running, the platform aims to fill a market between YouTube’s community-driven content and HBO production. More.

Evidon Crowned

When Ghostery sold off its consumer-facing ad tracker earlier this year to Cliqz, that left Evidon, which focused on B2B governance [AdExchanger coverage], as its own entity. But now, Evidon has found its own home – sold to CrownPeak for a surprisingly high $50 million, according to MediaPost. “Evidon is one of the companies that licenses the Digital Advertising Alliance’s AdChoices icon – the centerpiece of the industry’s self-regulatory privacy program,” writes Wendy Davis, who notes that’s about 45% of Evidon’s enterprise biz. More.

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