Monetizing TV News Post Trump; WordPress Buys Parse.ly

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Now What?

With Trump out of office, media companies will have to figure out how news fits into a streaming future. CNBC reports that the news frenzy around Donald Trump’s presidency allowed news companies to delay any dramatic shifts to their business models for nearly five years. (Uh, thanks, I guess?) Trump’s consistent appearances on Fox News and the daily swirl of controversies boosted ratings for every news network and kept media companies focused on the linear status quo. But despite a lively month for news in January with the Capitol insurgence and Biden’s inauguration, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC each only drew around 1.3 million viewers during the day – and numbers like that will do little to impress Wall Street. What’s a million viewers when Disney+ has 260 million? Folding news into entertainment-based streaming products makes little sense because audiences for news just aren’t very big, said Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners. “News doesn’t have that many viewers, and there’s nothing that’s going to change that,” he said. “News won’t go away. Local news will exist. Cable news will exist. They’ll just all be smaller businesses.”

Word Up

WordPress parent company Automattic is buying content analytics provider Parse.ly, and while Terms of the deal were not disclosed, Automattic’s CEO Matt Mullenweg told The Wall Street Journal that it’s the company’s largest acquisition so far by both cost and revenue. Automattic also owns Tumblr and Longreads. Parse.ly’s customers include the NBA, Bloomberg and us, AdExchanger. Buying Parse.ly will allow WordPress users to access information about how their content is performing on social media as well as other data analytics, including how many people are viewing a piece of content. Clients can also analyze the type of content that people read before they convert, which is data that businesses can use to optimize their content production to drive specific KPIs, such as subscriptions, event sign-ups or product purchases. [Related in AdExchanger:” Parse.ly Expands Its Remit To Track How Content Drives Conversions.”]

#Fail

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were less effective than their smaller counterparts in curbing hate speech and misinformation during the second half of 2020, according to an index by IPG Mediabrands released on Monday. According to Yahoo! Finance, IPG’s index graded the progress – or lack thereof – made by the top social media platforms across 10 categories that encompass what it calls "media responsibility," such as protecting the well-being of children and providing more transparency for advertisers. Facebook, however, did show some improvements in its ability to clamp down on false and misleading content by removing pages and groups related to the QAnon … while YouTube made no significant changes to its misinformation policies. Nine social media platforms agreed to participate in the index. Of them, smaller platforms, including TikTok – which was nearly banned in the US over concerns about data privacy – made notable advances throughout 2020. [Related in USA Today: “Facebook Cracks Down On Lies About COVID And Vaccines, But Is It Enough To Combat Anti-Vaccination Activists?”]

But Wait, There’s More!

Why a tweet from California’s AG about a global privacy tool has companies scrambling. [Digiday]

Grab some cold, leftover chicken wings. Here are the best and worst Super Bowl ads of 2021. [NPR]

China appears to have blocked Clubhouse, the buzzy social-media app, after people in the country flocked to it to discuss politics. [Business Insider]

2020 was tough, but the great COVID-19 advertising slump wasn’t as bad as feared. Here’s why the ad market held up. [Campaign US]

TikTok is taking on Facebook with a US ecommerce push. [FT]

Regulators at the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, are conducting major investigations into the business practices of tech firms. Here’s the commission’s org chart. [The Information]

French OTT TV service Molotov has launched on the Xbox game console. [Digital TV Europe]

Twitter is making progress on performance advertising, including completing the rebuild of its app installs objective and introducing a first-party Twitter Click ID to help with cookieless measurement. [blog post]

You’re Hired!

Publicis has tapped Dave Penski to succeed Tim Jones as CEO of Publicis Media Americas. [MediaPost]

Matterkind (née Cadreon) has hired Matt Ware to lead APAC operations in a newly created role and promoted Jorge Chávez to be president of Latin American operations. [release]

Tracy Tobin  has joined Google Marketing Platform consultancy Adswerve as its first chief people officer. [release]

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