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Taking A Cut; Alibaba Needs Big Brands


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Telekom Wants A Cut

In a piece posted on LinkedIn, Deutsche Telekom’s SVP of tech strategy, Tomasz Gerszberg, takes fire at Internet giants like Google, Facebook and AppNexus. According to Gerszberg, the advertising strategies of large Internet companies eat into mobile subscriber’s data plans. His solution? Companies facilitating advertising for brands through mobile websites and apps should pay carriers a cut to support the ads that drain subscribers’ data. Financial Times digital media correspondent Robert Cookson highlights an important postscript: “Implicit within the proposal is a threat: carriers could block the advertising of intermediaries that refused to pay.” More.

Battle Of The Brands

Faced with mounting competition from rival JD.com, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is scrambling to sign exclusive contracts with high-profile brands, the WSJ reports. Last week, Alibaba took a 20% stake in Chinese electronics retailer Suning Commerce Group (electronics is JD.com’s strongest foothold), and has signed agreements with more than 160 labels this year, 20 of which will sell their merchandise exclusively on Alibaba-owned property Tmall. Haoyu Shen, chief executive of JD Mall, didn’t sugarcoat JD.com’s position. “We are concerned,” he said. “We don’t think it’s in the brand’s interest to do that.” Read it.

NBCUniversal Banks On BuzzFeed

After putting $200 million into new media publisher Vox (read AdExchanger coverage), NBCUniversal pulled the trigger on a second strategic investment in BuzzFeed – $200 million for undisclosed equity in the viral millennial publisher. In a memo to staffers, BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti also referenced a new joint venture with Yahoo Japan to bring BuzzFeed Japan to Asian markets. BuzzFeed has also inked deals with Facebook’s Instant Articles, Snapchat’s Discover and Apple’s forthcoming news app. “These partnerships allow us to reach a bigger audience and have a bigger impact than what would be possible on our own,” Peretti wrote. As for its broadcast investor, 1.5 billion monthly video views was undoubtedly a draw.

The Market For Markets

Only a month after Paypal and eBay officially split, Re/code’s Jason Del Rey reports that eBay is selling off part of its stake in Snapdeal, an Indian ecommerce powerhouse. EBay led a $133.7 million investment in Snapdeal last year. The Drum also reports that eBay has hired a new CMO, and is “redefining itself with a more aggressive focus on retailing.” The online marketplace plans to use at least some of the newly-available funds to reinvest in eBay India. Read on.

In It For The Short Haul

Writing for Forbes, Avi Dan, the founder of agency search consulting firm Avidan Strategies, predicts a decline in the agency retainer model. According to Dan, marketers are increasingly enlisting agencies on a project-by-project basis rather than signing onto long-term commitments. To name a few, brands like Pepsi, Mondelez, Georgia-Pacific, Frito-Lay, Best Buy, Chobani and Kimberly-Clark are adopting this approach. Dan’s advice: “Agencies should seize on the trend among big marketers to break up their advertising assignments among several shops brand by brand rather than rely on just one agency.” Read on.


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Power Users

According to data from comScore, only 8% of smartphone and tablet users get daily news via apps, but those who do use apps account for 45% of total mobile news viewership. Ken Doctor of NiemanLabs reports on how this is influencing digital publishing. Dow Jones CIO Edward Roussel says, “There’s an intimacy with an app. It’s on your phone and you’ve got limited space, and so it’s an honor to be an app on someone’s phone because they’ve made space for you in the device that’s most personal to them.” Other publishers cite surprising internal numbers on app users. More.

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