Media and Marketing News Headline Updated on 20 Apr 2020

The headline on 20 Apr 2020

Amobee hired Jack Bamberger as Chief Commercial Officer. Source: Amobee Names Jack Bamberger Chief Commercial Officer

Madison Square Garden Entertainment has completed its spin-off from Madison Square Garden Sports. Source: MSG Entertainment Becomes New Public Company

The headline on 17 Apr 2020

beIN SPORTS XTRA, the network’s free, 24/7 English-language live sports streaming channel, is coming to Samsung TV Plus in Canada. Source: beIN SPORTS XTRA Launches on Samsung TV Plus in Canada

Reddit will start to publicly disclose its political advertisers. It’ll also show how much money politicians are spending on the platform in a new transparency hub.

Instagram redesigned their IGTV app to focus on creators. They’ve also added a Discover tab. But, er, who’s using the IGTV app anyway?

AAJA-Asia is running a survey to understand how journalists in Asia are coping with covid. Survey answers will be used internally and anonymously to help members and Asia’s wider community of journalists.

AAJA-Asia is also organizing Digital N3 Salons, which takes place on 25th April. The online event will focus on covering and coping with covid.

Do you have a story to tell about an under-represented community? Projek Dialog, with the support of Internews, is offering grants to Malaysian media professionals.

More than 500,000 Zoom accounts are being sold on the dark web. Some are even given away for free.

Zoom put out an infographic on how to secure your Zoom meetings. Important (now common sense) stuff like “don’t use your personal meeting ID for public meetings.”

The Correspondent is putting together a database of surveillance policies, laws and other measures related to covid. They’re looking to work with journos for their Asia coverage.

Solid insights in here by Tom Trewinnard about the benefits of remote, distributed newsrooms — and why they’re here to stay. I especially like the part about people with physical disabilities “for whom required physical presence in a newsroom may mean they don’t pursue jobs in journalism.”

The FT pivoted its entire in-person events business online. “The reality is [virtual events] are high margin. You’re not hiring a venue, you are leaving delegate revenue on the table and relying on sponsorship. The cost base is smaller, it’s a different economic business model, you can make money in a number of different ways. The marginal cost of adding another day online is close to zero.” This is how they’re doing it.

MIT Technology Review also pivoted its events business to streaming. And there’s no better time. “Never will your audience be more understanding of problems and technical glitches and content that doesn’t quite work in digital format. Never will you have more forgiving audience than right now, because everybody understands we’re all in this together.”

Podcast consumption habits are changing. The loss of the daily commute means download times have changed from mornings to the evenings in the U.S. And as these habits change, what becomes of podcast monetization?

Axios pushed out its app ahead of schedule to take advantage of increased demand for news. Grab it here.

YouTube rushed out a new tool to address product demand. The YouTube Video Builder allows small businesses to create quick, simple social videos using images, music, and customized fonts.

And as people stay home, Bloomberg is launching an entertainment vertical. Screentime, which covers TV, movies, music, esports, gaming, and influencers, will include a weekly newsletter and a celeb power ranking leaderboard.

Finland is turning to social media influencers to get public health messages out. “We are aware that government communication doesn’t reach everyone. Before this was possible through traditional media like television, but today especially young people get their news through social media.” So refreshing. Btw, this is also interesting: Finland has defined social media as a critical operator in this crisis.

Facebook asked more than two dozen publishers involved in its news accelerator program for insights into how covid has affected subscriptions, memberships or donations. Quick knowledge:

  • On average, reader revenue has doubled on a month-over-month basis
  • Publishers are seeing a surge in newsletter subscriptions
  • Now is the time to ask the community for support
  • “Connect donations to specific funds or newsroom initiatives, even in the context of supporting coronavirus coverage. Readers are suspicious of vague requests for support, at best, and see it as a reflection of mismanagement, at worst.”

It’s been a tough week for the media industry in India. Times of India cut its entire magazine staff. News Nation let its entire English digital team go. Kasuri shut down. Quint put almost half of its staff on no-pay leave, with an odd-though-practical offering: “You shall be free to take on freelance work, including from our direct competitors.”

Australia’s ACM suspended operations at four press facilities. It also stopped production of a number of non-daily newspapers. “At this stage it is not possible to say when we will be able to resume normal operations.”

The Los Angeles Times is in serious trouble. “Due to the unexpected effects of Covid-19, our advertising revenue has nearly been eliminated.”

Vox will reportedly put 100 employees on leave. It’s considering a 3-month furlough, and will focus on employees whose work has diminished in the ongoing quarantine.

Condé Nast is cutting pay and putting staff on leave. Layoffs — possibly affecting about 300 staff — are expected soon.

Fortune mag laid off 35 employees globally. That’s 10% of its payroll. It’s also cutting pay for its execs, with the CEO taking a 50% reduction.

Google launched a global journalism emergency relief fund to help small- and mid-sized newsrooms around the world. There’s no mention of fund size or grant size. But there are a couple of things that I like about this: There’s an emphasis on speed — Google will process applications on a rolling basis ahead of the April 29th deadline. I also like that they’re focused on news publishers employing between 2 and 100 full-time employees. Fast and focused.

The Institute for War & Peace Reporting has financial support available for Southeast Asia orgs and journos to quickly design, test, and launch covid-related projects. These could include fact-checking efforts, radio programs, or even chat bots.

Singapore put together measures to help media production professionals and freelancers. Some of that support will go into video and film production. It also provides grants to help media folks affected by cancelled and postponed projects.

The Australian government rolled out a $54 million package to help the country’s media industry. It suspended the content quota around Australian drama, children’s, and documentary, while waiving the spectrum tax for commercial TV and radio broadcasters.

The headline on 16 Apr 2020

Roku is partnering with Global Citizen to bring users “One World: Together at Home.” Source: Roku Joins Global Citizen to Stream “One World: Together at Home” on The Roku Channel

LiveRamp has hired Jason White, former executive vice president and general manager of global programmatic at ViacomCBS, as its senior vice president and head of publishers. Source: LiveRamp Names Former ViacomCBS Exec Jason White As SVP, Head of Publishers

LinkedIn has released some user behaviour data related to the current global pandemic. Unsurprisingly, user conversations around coronavirus have grown by seven times, largely associated with the hashtags #prevention, #safety and #wellbeing.

Brands themselves are focussing on organic posts, with a 78% increase in videos and a 13% increase in articles from third parties about COVID-19. As we’ve mentioned previously, this isn’t a time for brands to push the hard sell — it’s about being helpful.

LinkedIn Live is becoming an increasingly popular service (check out this guide). When it comes to engagement, Live broadcasts receive 7X more reactions and 24X more comments than regular videos posted by the same business. The World Health Organisation is enjoying the platform’s highest views with its daily COVID-19 updates.

What about search? Google has pinpointed five ways user search behaviour has changed. Now that the global pandemic has changed day-to-day life, search has shifted to; finding critical information, online communication, adjusting to new daily routines, praising everyday heroes and physical and mental health. Can your brand be helpful in any of these areas?

As more people self-isolate, they’re turning to social media for, well, social connections. The numbers are staggering. Facebook has seen a 70% increase in Messenger group video calls while Twitter has enjoyed a 30% rise in daily users. TikTok is experiencing massive growth with more than one billion downloads on the Google Play store alone. It’s become the app of choice for a younger audience coping with the pandemic.

Understanding TikTok. TikTok was growing in popularity well before the COVID-19 lockdown and the trend has continued. Favoured by under-25s, the platform is an effective tool to engage this demographic, but is it right for your brand? With its content geared specifically towards music and humour, businesses need to find ways to connect authentically.

Don’t forget gameplay. Twitch, the live streaming video platform for gamers, is also enjoying huge growth. Last month, 1.2 billion hours of content was consumed, culminating in four million concurrent viewers on the platform. The content does extend beyond gaming so there are plenty of opportunity for marketers.

Volkswagen demonstrates how the tactics used in football (or soccer) can be used to battle COVID-19.

Huawei offers a glimpse into its East meets West collaborative product design process.

3D printing has suddenly become more relevant than ever before as Barry Callebaut presents the world’s first 3D chocolate printing studio.

The headline on 15 Apr 2020

Canadian cable operator Shaw Communications will lay off around 1,000 employees, around 10% of the workforce involved in its Calgary-based operations. Source: Multichannel News > Shaw Lays Off 1,000 Workers

The Vogue Italia cover went minimalist for April 2020.

We know Covid-19 lockdowns have a direct effect on urban air quality. Here are some gorgeous FT infographics telling us exactly how much.

The incredible HKFP redesigned their website. It looks like…a news website, which, to be fair, is exactly what it is. The redesign comes after HKFP took a month off to redesign the website that uses the WordPress theme Newspack. From their newsletter: “Several months in the making, it represents a top-to-bottom rebuild and redesign, which should offer a more accessible, beautiful and faster experience when catching up with the news. The new toolkit allows for live blogs and full-width photography, and it also allows our news to be accessed instantly via Google’s AMP and – very soon – Facebook’s Instant Articles.” Here’s a quick look at some usability stuff as well as visual design. The HKFP logo on the masthead is a fuzzy PNG; get some crunchy SVG in there, people! I love that they have a row of topics right up on the nav bar. The article page needs some work: a square ad programmatically appeared in the middle of a paragraph of text, and the text block is way too wide to read comfortably on desktop devices. A personal niggle: The photo captions are aligned to the edge of the text container whereas they should ideally be aligned to the edge of the image. The subhead, a solid navigational signpost and friend of SEO, is barely indistinguishable from the body text at its current style of 20px italic — bump this up to a bold 24 and you’ll have some well-structured sections. But they use a squat well-structured font named Barlow for their body text at a muscular 20px, which is a good size if you like reading without squinting. Is it my imagination or is the kerning (the space between characters) a little too airy for comfort? I feel like tightening it just a touch would allow for the intuitive speed-read we all need for the news these days. According to the Google Fonts descriptor, “Barlow is a slightly rounded, low-contrast, grotesk type family. Drawing from the visual style of the California public, Barlow shares qualities with the state’s car plates, highway signs, busses, and trains.”

The Everything in Moderation newsletter got a redesigned logo. I love it because it is clear, well structured, and has such an elegant logic to it.

What if I told you that a typeface designed for reading should aspire to invisibility? Meet Finder. It was created as a “complete modern multi-script system for user interfaces”, which means it covers nine scripts (“writing systems”): Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. So if you were to use this in your news website design, for example, it would “stay true to the characteristics of each individual language while maintaining visual consistency within the typeface family.” This thing is delicious, and I can’t wait to see it used in a news design system somewhere soon.

Wait, did you know there was an ISO-standard font compliance for reading in a car in motion? Why did nobody tell me this? That said, I’m one of the few people I know who can read in a rapidly moving vehicle (boat in choppy waves, car on hairpin bends, airplane in turbulence—you get the picture) without transferring the contents of my stomach to said vehicle. Now there’s an actual typographical standard for this. What a world.

How do you build the print front page of one of the world’s most digital media companies? With a pen, paper, and a ruler. A happily horrified commenter: “Are you telling me the @nytimes does not use digital templates for front pages? What?” Their Print Planning Editor’s response (also the perpetrator of the video of him sketching out the layout): “i am indeed telling you this!”

Notion. Who doesn’t love it? They now have a mobile app for iPad and Android tablets.

The headline on 14 Apr 2020

Comscore is rolling out a new series of weekly custom reporting options. Source: Comscore Introduces Faster Reporting to Highlight Digital Media Consumption Trends

StarzPlay signed a multiyear deal with Warner Bros. Source: STARZPLAY Continues to Strengthen Content Leadership, Announces Long-term Deal With Warner Bros. M

Tim Alavathil has been named chief financial officer at Firstlight Media. Source: Firstlight Media Taps Streaming Veteran Tim Alavathil as CFO

The headline on 13 Apr 2020

Tegna today issued a fact sheet which it said will “correct the numerous factual errors and false and misleading statements made by Standard General.” Source: TEGNA Issues Fact Sheet to Set the Record Straight

Bob Iger has effectively returned to running Disney to help the company as it struggles due to COVID-19-related business impacts. (New York Times > Bob Iger Thought He Was Leaving on Top. Now, He’s Fighting for Disney’s Life.

Charter’s CTO discusses how the network has been holding up under increased demand. Source: Interview > How Charter is Meeting Higher Demand for Reliable Internet During COVID-19 Crisis

The headline on 10 Apr 2020

Disney, Fox and NBCUniversal are among the media companies reportedly postponing their upfront presentations again. (AdWeek > May Upfronts Week Collapses as Most Media Companies Delay Their Virtual Events

Zixi is integrating with Elecard. Source: Elecard Releases Integration With Zixi Software-Defined Video Platform

Torque Esports’ virtual esports racing series will be shown live on TV for the first time in a new broadcast partnership with ESPN. Source: ESPN to deliver live coverage of Torque Esports’ online racing

McKinsey put out a piece on the importance of forward planning in these covid days. This is worth saving and reading. Some key points:

  • Launch a Plan-Ahead team to work on the next stage of the crisis
  • Have them develop scenarios for multiple versions of the future
  • Set trigger points to drive decision making at the right time
  • Current budgets are dead in the water, with no way for companies to credibly set new ones. “This will force a much more agile, real-time approach to resource allocation, perhaps one of working in quarterly sprints.”
  • “Bias toward speed rather than perfection; and the sooner you start, the better. Accept that the first pass won’t be 100 percent right but that you are going to get better answers after each iteration.”

If you’re looking to move your community online (not that you have many other options this year!), here are some great tips to get going. “Don’t try to copy in-person. You can’t. Instead, go back to first principles of why you organized the in-person events. Ask yourself: What problem are you solving?” A must-read.

Outriders put out a fantastic guide to building online events. “The shitty story is still shitty in 4k – remember to focus on curation, talking to speakers, doing test broadcasts, rehearsal – everything you would do on a regular event.”

Fathm, a support lab for journalism, has a playbook on building distributed newsrooms. Everything from management to tools and workflows.

The Membership Puzzle Project has case studies on how member-driven organizations are adapting their appeals. One key point: “It’s important not to appear opportunistic in this moment after we’ve worked so hard to build audience trust.”

Laura Oliver, a freelance journalist, set up a Slack support group for freelance journalists. “It’s not intended as a replacement for all the other amazing freelance journalist communities out there, but a way to pull together things that might help us professionally during this period.”

Folks from ProPublica and OpenNews set up a micro-lending service to help journalists help other journalists. It’s all based on good faith — borrowers are expected to pay the lender back within a year.

Vox put out a call for financial contributions. “While the economic crisis continues, advertising dollars will shrink as the public need for our service grows. That’s why we are turning to you, our loyal audience, for support.”

The Online, that bold, edgy news site, is done. All staff were laid off — some of whom found out on Twitter. Bustle Digital (the owner), blamed it on the “unprecedented impact of COVID-19”. The probable real cause of death: chasing a mass audience without a differentiated editorial voice.

There’s a story in the Washington Post about the collapse of city-level newsrooms across the U.S. “People don’t understand how thin the margins are that we have to deal with at any of our newspapers, and how little it takes to upend everything.”

Google is giving $6.5 million in funding to covid-focused fact-checkers and nonprofits fighting misinformation around the world. There’s a lot to sift through in the announcement, so check out the details here.

Desktops are back, at least for now. As Americans spend more time on desktops at home (like the rest of us!), mobile traffic on Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube has all slipped or stagnated.

YouTube banned all conspiracy theory videos linking coronavirus symptoms to 5G networks. “Now any content that disputes the existence or transmission of Covid-19, as described by the WHO and local health authorities is in violation of YouTube policies.”

A group of distinguished journalism professors signed an open letter to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, calling on the owners of Fox to, well, tell the truth about the virus. “Yet by commission as well as omission — direct, uncontested misinformation as well as failure to report the true dimensions of the crisis — Fox News has been derelict in its duty to provide clear and accurate information about COVID-19.

BuzzFeed is exiting the German and Brazilian markets. They’re looking for a buyer. But “If we aren’t able to identify partners, we will unfortunately have to cease operations.”

There’s no better and worse time to launch a new video streaming service, depending on how you look at it. Quibi, the short video service backed by $2 billion in cash, is live. On the one hand, with everyone at home, people are more likely to consume snackable videos… but then again, you already have YouTube and Netflix. And for some reason, Quibi only works on your phone.

The announcement of this year’s Pulitzer Prize has been postponed by two weeks. Many of the judges are focused on covering covid, leaving little time to pick the winners.

Google says it’s now adding 2 million users a day on its Meet video platform. Better Meet than Zoom, we say.

UNESCO is looking for partners to support under its $500K Global Media Defence Fund. They want “innovative projects” that will improve legal protections for journalists and their access to legal help. (Thanks for this, Jiahuan.)

CNN bought Canopy, a content recommendation engine. Canopy blends human curation, on-device machine learning, and “differential privacy” to help with content discovery.