The Big Story: BuzzFeed’s First Earnings (OMG) And The DL On Google’s ESP

The Big Story podcast

For years, venture-backed media was buzzy and seductive, with sky-high valuations based on the idea that savvy online publishers could crack the code of digital or develop a formula for going viral.

Following a spate of rapid consolidation into just a few major players, BuzzFeed was the only one among them to go public, with HuffPost and Complex Networks, BuzzFeed’s two pre-IPO acquisitions, along for the ride. But when BuzzFeed rang the bell, it didn’t end up being a digital media debut that will inspire other media behemoths to follow suit.

Although BuzzFeed had positive EBITDA and traded higher after its first earnings, its quest for profitability comes at a cost. The money-losing-but-award-winning BuzzFeed News division is on its way to being dismantled or, at the very least, gutted. Staff is being offered buyouts, and leadership is leaving.

Then, in the second half of the episode, we get into Google Ad Manager’s preparations to accommodate other signals beyond third-party cookies, including encrypted signals from publishers (ESPs), which recently entered open beta. We unpack how to tell the difference between ESPs and PPIDs and all the other signals out there.

We also get into the reason behind why Google made dueling publisher-facing products. It’s trying to give publishers the option to share whatever signals they want, while Google itself has taken a strong stance against any identifiers based on email (see UID2).

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