BuzzFeed In The Hot Seat; Comcast And ViacomCBS Launch New Streaming Service

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BuzzKill

As he prepares to take his company public via SPAC, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti has made concessions to irate shareholder NBCUniversal that could put him in the hot seat, according to The Wall Street Journal. To summarize: NBCU stands to lose money in the wake of BuzzFeed’s SPAC merger, since the deal values the company at $1.5 billion, far lower than its valuation when the broadcaster purchased its $400 million stake (back in 2015). To appease NBCU, Peretti offered a portion of his own holdings to NBCUniversal if the stock doesn’t hit a certain level. And BuzzFeed accepted convertible-debt financing that balloons to 7% if the stock underperforms. In a statement, Peretti expressed confidence that BuzzFeed will resonate with investors. “BuzzFeed adapted to the market to become a profitable company, acquired HuffPost, signed a deal to go public and acquire Complex, and expects a year of significant growth.” Read on. 

A Subscriber Shared Is A Subscriber Owned

Comcast and ViacomCBS are partnering to create a European streaming service, dubbed “SkyShowtime,” expected to launch next year. This is hardly the first time US broadcasters have partnered up for streaming purposes. At one point, Hulu was a joint venture co-owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner. (Since then, Disney acquired Fox and Hulu outright.) SkyShowtime will be split 50-50 between the two parent companies, though it will run on the NBCUniversal platform technology. ViacomCBS brings entertainment like Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and Showtime (Paramount Plus is its stand-alone streaming app). The Sky branding is upfront because it’s better known in Europe, CNBC reports. NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS are teaming up because there’s too much competition for subscriptions in Europe. Netflix and Amazon Prime are way ahead there, plus Disney has a very low price point and a huge content library. 

Disney’s Wait And CTV Approach

The clearest sign yet that streaming TV subscriptions are the ultimate media prize came from Disney’s recent earnings report. “The quarter-by-quarter results of a 97-year-old company are dictated by how many subscribers it added over the previous 13 weeks,” wrote Ben Thompson at Stratechery. Unfortunately for Disney, its Parks and Resorts unit and other parts of the business had good quarters, but new streaming subscriptions, which is what investors want to see, came in below expectations at 12.4 million Disney+ additions. Thompson cautions against Disney investing an even larger share of resources into streaming (as some investors pressed to do). After all, Disney added $1.6 billion in DTC (aka streaming) revenue from last year, but it added $1 billion from cable TV, too, which is still a larger business overall. “I liked how [Disney CEO Bob] Chapek, not just here, but at multiple points in the call, talked about how Disney was experimenting with different models, because the company didn’t really know how everything was going to turn out.” 

But Wait, There’s More!  

The latest streaming earnings reports shows that ad revenue for some, but not all, traditional TV companies have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. [Digiday

Samba TV and Lucid are partnering for better linear TV ad measurement capabilities. [release]

DoubleVerify and Twitter’s MoPub are expanding their fraud protection partnership for mobile app campaigns. [Adweek]

TVSquared teamed up with AdImpact to measure the reach and frequency of political CTV campaigns. [release]

Samsung Ads: 40% of TV ad budgets should be allocated for streaming. [Fierce Video]

You’re Hired

John Guiliani is rejoining Epsilon as executive chairman. [release

Mediavine appointed Vincent Zingale as VP of buyer development. [release]

Jellyfish hired Thomas Byrne and Adam Guilfoyle as EVP and VP of sales and partnerships, respectively. [Campaign]

Minjae Ormes joins LinkedIn as VP of global brand and consumer marketing. [Adweek

JW Player tapped David LaPalomento as CTO. [release]

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