Previous Upfront Money Goes To Scatter Markets; The EU Goes After Alphabet Again

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Don’t Call It A Comeback

Maybe a weak upfront market last year was just what the doctor ordered for the ailing broadcast TV industry. Marketers didn’t take all that money and go elsewhere, they just waited and bought on the scatter market, driving up rates. Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi notes industry bellwether CBS secured upfront price increases over 10%, “a stark contrast to last year’s mid-single-digit increases.” And those sales don’t include live sports, which, uhhh, do pretty well. Now that brands have paid back TV with interest, do you think they’ll also abandon the scatter market? Probably not. More. And, Adweek reports The CW has wrapped its own upfront with similar gains. Read that.

EU + Google = Dog + Bone

The European Union’s anticompetitive watchdog is considering a new set of antitrust charges against Alphabet. This would be the third formal suit brought against Alphabet’s Google. (The two other cases involve Google prioritizing its products in search results and on the Android OS.) In this case, “At issue is whether the company prevents or obstructs website operators from placing ads on their websites that compete with Google’s advertising business,” reports The Wall Street Journal, which was quick to the news in part perhaps because its corporate owner, News Corp., is among the yet-unnamed media companies disclosing evidence to EU regulatory chief Margrethe Vestager. More.


The UK’s decision to exit the EU might lead to decreased growth rates and valuations at major tech companies like Facebook, Google and Netflix, as the dollar strengthens against the plummeting pound, CNBC reports. Only 200 million of Facebook’s 1 billion users reside in the US. “Netflix is also at risk because all of their growth story and capital investment is offshore,” wrote Laura Martin of Needham & Co. in a note. Google may have to fear tougher data privacy laws in the EU without the UK’s influence. More.

Gannett Snaps Up ReachLocal

Gannett bought up ReachLocal for an enterprise value of $156 million, purchasing all the outstanding shares for an 188% premium over the stock price. ReachLocal offers digital advertising services, including website, SEO and lead gen, to small businesses. That fits nicely into Gannett’s local advertising business. Plus, the purchase will add $320 million a year to Gannett’s digital revenue, a 50% increase — and digital revenue growth is a sure way to make investors happy. Read the release.

Stockholm Syndrome In Cannes

There was a “sense of siege” among media companies in Cannes this year, writes NYT columnist Jim Rutenberg. “The frightened townsfolk – top executives from the biggest media companies and advertising agencies in the world – debated in whispers their grim choice between bloody resistance or total surrender.” Facebook has seemingly overtaken Google as “Frenemy No. 1” to media companies. Both sides may still cling to niceties about “collaboration” and “connectivity,” but off-the-record media industry execs are growing more comfortable pointing out the obvious truth: Facebook is not a sincere partner in growth, it is a voracious competitor for their business. More.

New Media Shuffle

Nielsen published its Q1 2016 Total Audience Report on Monday, and the results lay bare an increasingly fragmented, unnavigable media market. There are clearly pros for media companies and marketers, like Americans averaging a full hour per day more media consumption than the same period last year. Smartphone video, online streaming and multimedia devices (like connected TVs or Roku) are all trending up, but the most significant trend is toward complexity. By breaking out the results along age groups and ethnicities, it’s clear that the idea of a “cohesive audience” has pretty much disintegrated, and in its place is a loosely understood and messy web of media channels passing around audiences like a square dance. Trade a little PII for the full report.

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