BDG Media Planning A SPAC Merger; Mobile Data Gets Personal

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BDG Media Inc., which owns publications such as Bustle, Elite Daily, NYLON and Input, is set to acquire digital media company Some Spider Studios for $150 million, The Wall Street Journal reports. The all-stock purchase comes ahead of BDG’s planned public offering via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Owner Bryan Goldberg said the acquisition, which includes parenting sites Scary Mommy, The Dad and Fatherly, will scale the media business and attract advertisers. There’s also an advantage to consolidation, Some Spider Studios Founder Vinit Bharara (who previously founded told the Journal. “When you can join forces with a bigger player to be a part of greater scale, you can deliver an even stronger result for your employees and shareholders. You need to think about that.”

Hashing It Out

Discussions of hashed mobile identifiers being de-anonymized are pretty convoluted. But one recent news item shows how mobile data can and will be used to identify individuals in very personal ways. The top official in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops resigned this week after a Catholic news site published mobile data that indicated the bishop regularly used Grindr, the queer dating app, and frequented gay bars. It’s not clear where the data leading to the report came from, but forms of aggregated, anonymized user data can be bought and sold legally, as long as it’s stripped of directly identifiable info like name, address or phone number. Sometimes that data might even include device IDs, which can be connected to a particular phone and then to an owner if that same ID appears in other mobile data sets. “Some privacy experts said that they couldn’t recall other instances of phone data being de-anonymized and reported publicly,” The Washington Post reports. “But that it’s not illegal and will likely happen more as people come to understand what data is available about others.”

Follow The Outstream To The IP-Ocean

French telco giant Altice plans to raise more than $800 million at a valuation of around $5 billion with the public spin-off of Teads, the programmatic video startup it acquired in 2017, Reuters reports. Teads is best-known as the inventor of outstream video advertising – when video ad units play on a site or app, but aren’t part of an actual video player. (You don’t hit play; the video ad just loads on the side or corner of the screen.) Five billion dollars would be a huge return for Altice’s $337 million investment in 2017. Altice shopped Teads in 2019, but seemingly never got an offer it liked. And Teads’s growth rate last year was only 6%. Altice’s patience in not selling Teads in 2019 may be rewarded considering the recent spree of successful ad tech IPOs. Teads earned a profit of $111 million on total platform revenue of $540 million last year, according to its filing. Altice will still hold a majority voting share in Teads.  

But Wait, There’s More!  

How Disney is chipping away at Netflix’s dominance in subscription streaming. [NYT]

Programmatic OOH shop Place Exchange raises $20 million. [release]

Google Chrome just added important privacy and security updates. [ZDNet]

Twitter launched a brand safety audit with the Media Ratings Council. [MediaPost]

YouTube to test shopping livestream with select creators. [TechCrunch]

The cost of out-of-home advertising is back to pre-pandemic levels. [Ad Age]

YouTube buys Indian shopping app in global e-comm push. [The Information]

You’re Hired

Intersection hired Chris Grasso as CEO. [release]

Versus tapped Mark Grande as head of original content. [release]

InMarket appointed Todd Morris as president. [release]

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