CNN Tries Digital News Aggregator; The New Rules Of Sports Media

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Reclaiming The News

CNN is launching a digital news aggregation service. The news company will pay other publishers to feature both subscription and ad-funded content on the still-unnamed service, called “NewsCo” internally, The Information reports. Like News Corp, which announced its Knewz aggregation platform in August, CNN wants to work around big tech’s gated control of digital audiences. Apple and Facebook have ruffled publisher feathers with their respective news tabs, and Amazon just launched a news aggregation app on Fire TV, per TechCrunch. But getting cord cutters to switch to alternatives has been a challenge. “People have integrated the platforms into the rest of their digital lives, and news is just one of many features they consume there,” said Andrew Heyward, a former CBS news exec and professor of television news at Arizona State University. More.

A New Ball Game

A wide-ranging deal between AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Dwyane Wade, an NBA star who retired earlier this year, shows how sports marketing has changed. Wade will be part of TNT’s NBA broadcast team, as well as other basketball events for which WarnerMedia has rights, including the NCAA March Madness tournament. He will also be creative director on a number of projects for Bleacher Report, the digital sports media hub owned by Turner. And Wade’s production company, 59th & Prairie Entertainment, signed a development deal with WarnerMedia for studio productions. Read the release. Wade is following other athletes in meshing traditional broadcast roles with social influencer marketing. “I’ve watched this network give former players a voice and current players a platform,” Wade said in an Instagram post about joining Turner. 

Online Fakery

Just in time for the holiday shopping season … the FTC closed two cases of deceptive online marketing. Devumi, a social marketing tech company, was caught trafficking in fake likes, retweets and followers. The punishment is light – only $250,000 if the company desists in its practices – but it is the FTC’s “first-ever complaint challenging the sale of fake indicators of social media influence.” Read the release. The second case was brought against Sunday Riley Skincare, a cosmetics company. Sunday Riley, the CEO, used a VPN to mask the company’s traffic (Sephora initially blocked the surge of reviews coming from one IP address) and instructed employees to set up fake Sephora accounts to game the retailer’s online reviews. The fake accounts left five-star reviews of Sunday Riley products, of course, but also disliked negative reviews. “After enough dislikes, it is removed. This directly translates into sales!!” Riley told employees in one email, obtained by the FTC.

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