Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles have helped publishers learn key lessons on ad slots, page layouts and load times, Gannett CRO Kevin Gentzel writes in a Media Village column. Now it’s time for the news media to internalize these learnings and go direct to marketers… again. As a next step: “We, as creators of great, trusted journalism with local to national relevance, deserve to be the third meaningful choice to an advertiser’s investment online.” More.
Meet Your Maker
Facebook’s not the only platform to resist easy monetization by outside media companies. Maker Studios, which Disney paid $675 million for in 2014, did just $370 million in ad revenue last year, with YouTube accounting for $300 million of that sum, reports Sahil Patel at Digiday. That’s not chump change, but there are long-term monetization constraints undercutting the business. For one thing, Maker could only meet growth goals by adding more and more content creators, many of whom were lured with upfront guarantees that the ad revenue didn’t cover. Also, Disney doesn’t own the Maker content, so it can’t deploy that media across its many properties or for marketing purposes. More.
Not content with eating Snapchat’s lunch, Facebook is also trying to drink Twitter’s milkshake. Reuters sources say Facebook is closing in on a deal with the MLB to live-stream one game per week, less than a year after Twitter announced similar streaming arrangements with the MLB and NHL. Twitter has “established a coveted relationship with the NFL,” but Facebook can offer broadcasters a far broader, more scaled audience, which is bad news for any other online platform hoping to compete for sports rights. More.
Some of the world’s largest ad spenders are under pressure from investors. A bid from Kraft Heinz to acquire its business has sparked GPG giant Unilever to undergo a strategic review on behalf of investors. “The Bunsen burner has been turned up near the heels of the Unilever CEO,” a big-time investor told The Wall Street Journal. Unilever is considering a range of options, including divesting its spreads business, which is dragged down by struggling margarine brands. If Unilever ends up shaving off its entire foods business, including brands like Knorr and Hellmann’s, Kraft-Heinz may get a bite of the biz after all. More. Weeks ago, Ad Age noted Unilever’s embrace of zero-based budgeting policy for marketing and other expenses. Ouch.