The Long Arc Of WaPo Revenue Leans Toward SaaS; Google Comes To Grips With More Chaos

Comic: In The Publisher's Kitchen

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Mix Of Arc And Science

Arc XP, The Washington Post’s subscription software publisher monetization business, has had outside sales interest in the low nine figures, Axios reports, if it were to spin off the business. But the Post isn’t interested. 

“I personally think that in the long run – and by long run, I mean, three-four years, not 15 years – Arc XP will be the biggest source of revenue for the Post, and certainly the most profitable source of revenue for the Post,” says Chief Information Officer Shailesh Prakash.

Arc XP brings in $40 million to $50 million per year right now, per sources, though the business isn’t stand-alone profitable. 

Arc XP, then just ARC, was created in 2015, not long after WaPo was acquired by Jeff Bezos for $250 million. Not coincidentally, it’s built on AWS – literally a case study. 

The SaaS tech business “is clearly the third leg” of the Post’s revenue, alongside ads and subscriptions, according to Prakash. 

But there are other revenue streams opening up, too. Separately, WaPo announced a deal with Imagine Entertainment that gives the major studio first-look production rights for movies and shows based on its reporting. 

Google’s Smoking Guns

Google claims not to serve firearm ads. But in the weeks before and after mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Google’s ad network placed more than 120 million gun ads, ProPublica reports.

Google prohibits ads for weapons on its owned and operated properties, like Google Search and YouTube. But the same ads can slip through exchanges that use Google’s technology, which creates a loophole for weapons manufacturers as long as they’re retargeting known audiences, according to Zach Edwards, founder of the digital ads consultancy Victory Medium. 

ProPublica used Adbeat and Similarweb to gather impressions for gun ads served by Google ad tech between March and June this year. They found Google’s systems served 120 million impressions, including from 15 of the largest firearm sellers in the US. The ads appeared alongside kid-friendly games, parenting advice, recipes and even on websites where the publisher explicitly banned ads from weapons manufacturers.

Google takes a cut of each ad transaction run through its tech, so it has been profiting from ads it claims to prohibit.

“Google has corporate policies in the front and exchange-of-exchange internet chaos in the back,” Edwards says.

Apples To Androids

Speaking of Google, the Apple-Google rivalry has reached a new level.

As of Tuesday, Apple will support archive transfers for WhatsApp users that want to move their messages over from Android, CNET reports. It almost smells of cross-compatibility – but not quite.

The majority of WhatsApp’s two million users have Androids. But now those considering swapping to an iPhone have one less reason not to.

For all its talk on refusing external app code in its own App Store, Apple developed an Android app specially designed to facilitate poaching called Move to iOS. (Can anyone say NIMBY?) The app, which already supports transferring contacts and text messages to iPhone, will now also encrypt WhatsApp chat history and authenticate the data that’s being transferred to a new iPhone.

The Move to iOS app is compatible with iOS 15.5.

Google seems bullied into acquiescence: A beta version of WhatsApp for Android supports the transfer.

The move comes just a week after Apple announced its plans for iOS 16, which should be released sometime this autumn.

But Wait, There’s More!

Netflix execs have met with Roku, Comcast, to discuss ad sales and tech help. [The Information]

Magna sees an improved outlook for 2022 video advertising market. [B&C]

Firefox rolls out Total Cookie Protection by default to all users worldwide. [blog]

Neustar, which is owned by TransUnion, introduces its data clean room offering. [release]

Consumer insights startup Knit raises $3.55 million seed round. [release]

Cannabis compliance technology platform Fyllo is buying NineSixteen, an interactive retail display network. [Benzinga]

Microsoft Bing aims to rival Google Shopping (not a high bar) and drive $25 million (c’mon … isn’t that peanuts for Microsoft?) in sales by 2023. [Insider]

Incubeta acquires integrated digital marketing agency Bruce Clay MENA. [release]

You’re Hired!

WPP appoints Michael Houston as president of its US business. [release]

Merkle B2B names Roland Deal CEO, Americas. [release]

The Arena Group Names Chris Pirrone as senior vice president/general manager of sports. [release]

Dustin Kwan, former GM of Amazon DSP, joins Viant as chief product officer. [release]

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