Media News Briefing 2/10/2017

Photoillustration by Jo Luijten

Media News Briefing 2/10/2017

This is part of a series of briefings made internally by our staff researcher Dakota Sky Bloom and released on our blog.

Theme: The grass is always greener on the other side of the digital/linear divide. Also, Facebook wishes to devour everything- just this week includes them trying to absorb market share from Craigslist, Snapchat, TV Advertising, weather apps, and using email for password recovery.



  • Snapchat wants 9 figure upfronts. Given that almost all growth in advertising revenue last year came from Facebook and Google, it remains to be seen if Snap can grab a chunk of the pie.
  • Comedy Central trying using branded content instead of commercials, on the notion that people are less likely to ignore branded comedy skits.

Regulatory Issues:

  • FTC has issues with cross-device tracking, which follows on recent European regulator interest. Both inquiries have adtech companies spooked, as the cross-device tracking is an important part of the industry.
  • Ajit Pai, new FCC Chairman, stops zero-rating probe into AT&T /DirectTV Now. By reversing course on zero-rating, or the practice of a carrier not charging customers data for using certain services (in this case DirectTV Now) that it charges competitors to those services. This practice, and the resulting death of net neutrality, would make it more difficult for both major and minor companies (from Netflix to Snap to VRV to Fight Pass) to be able to compete against companies favored by the ISPs. Snap in particular is worried about it, as it might cripple their ability to compete against Facebook (which has historically desired zero-rating).

Major Platforms

Online Business

  • Katzenberg has new investment company- WndrCo. Starts off with $591 million invested, targeted towards tech and media ventures, a la Barrry Diller’s IAC. None of the investors are named, but the minimum to join was $25 million. Given the explicit comparison to IAC (which has a portfolio that extends from Tinder to Vimeo to , keep an eye on WndrCo.

Other Platforms

  • Medium is doing a subscription product. Details TBD, but given they were adamant on finding a new model for a flailing industry, it is a tad disheartening that one of the brightest companies in the media space went directly for one of the oldest business models.
  • Club Penguin is shutting down, being rebooted.  As one of Disney’s largest digital platforms, and a unifying childhood experience for a specific subset of 14-25 year olds, it will be interesting to see if the online community can be successfully recreated for a new generation of kids. Disney mentions this reboot will focus on mobile; would be interesting to see if they get into VR/AR.