Univision Puts Gawker Media Under Fusion Group; Amazon Goes For Bargain Smartphone Market

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Univision continues to expand its digital footprint with its $135 million acquisition of Gawker Media. Gawker and its three brands will sit next to The Root and The Onion under Univision’s Fusion Group, a group of digital media sites targeted to multicultural millennials. One anonymous media exec said that for Univision the purchase is all about “compiling brands that are just-below-top-tier and leveraging it all into a revised Fusion cable channel that can actually attract audiences and the carriage fees and advertising that comes with it.” More at Ad Age.

Amazon Zags On Smartphones

It’s possible you’ve never heard of the No.1 smartphone on Amazon’s top-seller list, the Blu R1 HD, which Amazon sells for $100 ($50 for Prime subscribers if they agree to see Amazon-served ads). The high-end smartphone market is dominated by Apple (which has half the users Google’s Android OS does but twice the app store revenue per user). It makes sense that people who pay more for a phone will pay more for services. But Amazon has fiercely pivoted into the low end of the smartphone market, reports Bloomberg. And unlike Apple, which assuages top-dollar customers with privacy promises and minimal intrusion, Amazon offers bargain bin prices in exchange for advertisements. Blu is on pace to surpass $600 million in revenue this year, says CEO Samuel Ohev-Zion, with strong growth prospects overseas. More.

Fashionably Late

Pinterest launched a sponsored video ad program for brands aptly named Promoted Video. Promoted Videos play as users scroll down the feed and include up to six pins so users can save featured products. General Mills has seen four times higher engagement with Promoted Video ads than non-video ads on the platform. Social video is a loud, crowded space at the moment, but that’s because it’s where all the digital ad dollars are going. “There’s plenty of room for all of us to play, and everybody’s got their strengths,” Jon Kaplan, Pinterest’s head of global sales, told Yoree Koh at The Wall Street Journal. Read on.

Checks And Balances

The antitrust system isn’t looking closely enough at the acquisitions made by giant internet companies, writes Steven Davidoff Solomon for The New York Times. “This is the modus operandi of the big internet behemoths,” he writes. “They live in fear of new technology disrupting their businesses and killing them off.” In his book “Chaos Monkeys” [AdExchanger coverage], Anthony Garcia Martinez discusses seeing this happen at Facebook during his time as a product manager; both the Whatsapp and Instagram acquisitions came from fear of competition and inability to match the quality of those platforms, he writes. Other examples are Google’s purchase of YouTube and Waze. If the antitrust authorities don’t adapt to emerging threats, we’ll be left with an oligopoly dominating our internet economy. More.

Fudging Drudge

Traffic to any given digital property varies depending on who you ask, a fact that was reinforced this week with disagreeing audience estimates for Drudge Report. SimilarWeb shows Drudge, the conservative aggregator with a reputation for unleashing daily tsunamis of traffic, was the No. 2 US media publisher in July and is having a huge election year. On the other hand, Digiday cites comScore data that has Drudge posting poor numbers and negative year-over-year growth despite the current election cycle. What gives?

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