Publishers Are Pulling Back From Facebook Instant Articles; Altice USA Plans IPO

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Some publishers are pulling back from Facebook’s Instant Articles, Digiday reports. The New York Times, Hearst, Forbes and Quartz gave various reasons for ditching the product (e.g., disappointing ad yield or that it harmed subscriptions). Facebook is trying to win publishers back with call-to-action prompts for things like subscriptions or newsletter sign-ups. But integrating sign-ups and paywalls on Instant Articles raises tough questions about who owns the resulting audience data and how revenue is shared. “Ultimately, it’s about being able to demonstrate we can match or better the performance of links back to our site,” says Kinsey Wilson, executive VP of product at the Times. More.    

Telco IPO

Altice USA, a division of Dutch telecom Altice NV, has registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering that could raise between $1 billion and $2 billion. Read the S1. Going public would give the controlling shareholder of Altice, Patrick Drahi, deeper pockets with which to fund new acquisitions in North America. Within a year, Altice has ponied up $10 billion to buy cable conglomerate Cablevision, followed by (on a smaller scale) digital ad platform Audience Partners and outstream video platform Teads. As a public telco in pursuit of ad tech, Altice could find itself neck and neck with Verizon, Charter and Comcast. As for its interest in content? Less than clear, as Altice has gained a reputation for belt-tightening at some portfolio companies.

Self-Serve / “Self-Serve”

Marketers that bring programmatic in-house with self-serve contracts still wind up relying on vendors to provide services. “This is a problem on several levels, because it stretches vendor teams very thin while ensuring advertisers remain almost fully dependent,” writes Amanda Bleich, director of programmatic at Sizmek, in a MediaPost column. The key issue: Programmatic expertise is in high demand, and brands are seeing painful turnover as some executives hop to positions with better pay. The solutions: better communication with vendors, and better pay for in-house marketers.


In a move that echoes new Safe Harbor data transfer regulations in Europe, the Chinese government has drafted new rules that would forbid large foreign businesses from moving data out of the country without going through a permission process. “The rules would affect all so-called network operators, a term that industry experts say likely encompasses technology companies, as well as other firms that do business through computer networks, such as financial institutions,” reports The Wall Street Journal. More.

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