The Washington Post Succeeds Under Bezos; Search Fragmentation

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Bezos’ WaPo

In the two years that Jeff Bezos has owned the Washington Post, the publisher’s digital traffic has surpassed that of The New York Times and has begun to close on Buzzfeed. The Wall Street Journal delivers the profile treatment. “The narrative around the growth and the Post ’winning’ is great, but (Bezos) knows the only number that really matters is the digital subscription number,” says one anonymous source, who rightly points to The NYT’s progress on that front (whereas WaPo’s growth has been driven by social media). There are unique advantages, though, including this one: Bezos gets to bundle WaPo into Amazon offers (like a free subscription for Prime members). Commerce/content synergy! More. And Bloomberg has its own WaPo-under-Bezos think piece.

All Engines Go

Search is fragmenting. Although eMarketer estimates that Google will account for 54.5% of the global paid search market in 2015, that share is down from 54.7% in 2014 and 55.2% in 2013. Fracturing the US search triumvirate of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are international companies like Baidu (second behind Google in overall revenue) as well as voice command search, messaging apps, powerhouses like Facebook and Amazon and search-and-intent upstarts like Relcy or Button. Don’t shed any tears though – even if Google’s market share is slimming, the market itself continues to grow. More at MediaPost.

Strategic Shift

Holding companies like Publicis and WPP Group remain the white-hot core of agency M&A, but consulting firms are giving them a run for their money (ICF International recently spent $295 million on a mid-size shop). That’s one takeaway from an AdMedia survey of ad industry merger activity, covered by David Gianastano for Adweek. Another finding: Agencies interested in selling one day should build capabilities in areas such as ad tech, content development and research. “You’ve got a sense that just being a great creative shop, it’s nice, but it’s not enough anymore,” said Mike Alpert, AdMedia’s managing director. “Certainly, if you’re one of the major buyers, you’ve already got plenty of that stuff.” More.


This year’s parade of buyers and investors pumping hundreds of millions into new media publishers isn’t over yet. Anonymous sources tell Ken Doctor, writing for Politico’s Capital NY, that Mashable is being shopped for $250 to $350 million. Time Warner, a previous investor in Mashable, has supposedly considered a bid. The news comes weeks after Vice raised another $200 million from Disney, not to mention the hundreds of millions Comcast poured into Buzzfeed. Read on.

But Wait, There’s More!

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