Pubs Seek Alternatives To Facebook Referrals; PE Firm Diversis Capital Buys Marketron

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PE Strikes Again

Private equity firm Diversis Capital has scooped up Marketron, a revenue and marketing software provider used mostly by television and radio stations. “We are excited to see Marketron’s commitment to growing new technologies as well as developing unique opportunities that are important for our company,” Caroline Beasley, CEO of Marketron customer Beasley Media Group, said in a statement. Read the release. Marketron also hired former Adelphic CEO Michael Collins as chief executive, replacing Jeff Haley, who remains on the board. Collins’ experience in mobile and cross-device, first at GroupM mobile agency Joule and then at Adelphic, points to the strategic direction of traditional media companies. Related in AdExchanger: Radio stations have defied downward revenue trends by extending campaigns to phones. More on that.

The Apple Cart

After Facebook said it would deprioritize news content in its news feed last week, publishers are scrambling for new sources of referral traffic. While Apple News is a viable alternative for news, it doesn’t do the same legwork for lifestyle publications because Apple News drives a lot of its traffic through breaking news push notifications. Lifestyle pubs get about 87% of their traffic from Facebook, compared to between 15% and 60% for political and business publishers, according to analytics firm Parsely. Publishers LittleThings and Kiplinger get less than 5% of referral traffic from Apple News, Digiday reports. “It’s called Apple News for a reason,” says one publisher. Plus, Apple News’ targeting and monetization capabilities leave something to be desired. More.

Sotto Voice

Despite the hype about voice at CES [AdExchanger coverage], consumers still generally use Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant for very basic tasks, like playing music, checking the weather or setting timers, according to research from consultancy Activate. The majority of Amazon Alexa users have never used apps outside those pre-installed on their devices. Marketer voice search and audio budgets will probably remain experimental this year, but tech giants are pumping money into connected home devices with voice AI at the core. “The more interesting functionality is yet to come,” Paul Erickson, IHS Markits senior analyst, tells The New York Times. “Part of that will come as more integration happens this year and next year. This is the first year we’re going to see real advances with the assistants because of competition in the marketplace.” More.

Getting Schooled

Researchers at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science issued a report this month arguing that, contrary to common wisdom, big consumer product brands have not lost share or loyalty. Data from people tracked by the institute over the past six to 13 years indicate younger consumers are more likely to buy startup products – but past age 25 loyalty rates revert to historical standards. “Big brands have made strategic mistakes over the past couple of decades … including price discounting at the expense of out-of-store advertising and allocating too much advertising expenditure to overly targeted new digital media,” according to the researchers. More at Warc.

But Wait, There’s More!

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