Ben Young
Ben Young
February 23, 2024

Edition #437

Media planners as DJs, Reddit & Google strike an AI deal & X has a bot traffic problem.

Curation is having a moment, in the face of a cookieless future, curated deals are all the talk.

Some compare them to ad networks, which is astute, curated deals sit on top of publishers, and are a selection of the sites/urls to match an audience, contextual target, attention thresholds etc.

The reason it is compelling is you can stack data layers on top of it. Which you couldn’t do in the past.

It’s kind of a neat business model if you think about it, media planners putting together the right curated plan for an objective. They’re like media DJs mixing up the best media. Selecting just the sites and data segments they need to deliver. Ari did a good piece on it recently, followed by Messer.

It’s got me thinking at a wider level, about the analogy of the free market. Big platforms build all this tech in-house and have a competitive advantage with their user profiles and scale. The open marketplace is like the free market, all competing, and finding the best combination of solutions.

We’ve been through a zig of where the closed markets have been winning, are all these changes going to create a zag where the open marketplace delivers better solutions. That’s the threshold. It just depends if our media DJs will save us!

Notable stories this week

  • Meta is extending its creator marketplace to new countries.
  • Publishers test new Offerwall monetization tool from Google. And could a paywall have saved Pitchfork?
  • Publishers say Q1 is off like a rocket after a lousy 2023.
  • How Google is killing independent sites like ours.
  • NYT plans to debut new generative AI ad tool later this year.
  • The majority of traffic from Elon Musk’s X may have b been fake during the Super Bowl.
  • Haleon says attention is a good measure of media quality but it’s too soon to make it a buying standard.
  • Why Snapchat is pitching its platform as an alternative to social media.
  • The most civilized place to look at news online? It might be Reddit.
  • Six months in journalist-owned tech publication 404 Media is profitable.
  • It was adlands worst Super Bowl in years but everyone is too afraid to tell you.
  • The rise of the Curation House.
  • OpenAI’s new generative tool Sora could revolutionize marketing and content creation.
  • DoubleVerify says classifying MFA means considering shades of gray.
  • Marketers are starting to test alternatives to third-party cookies amid Google’s changes.
  • Why New York Magazine’s the Cut is expanding at a time when many media companies are cutting costs.
  • TikToks feud with Universal has music marketers shifting campaigns to Instagram reels while some see an opportunity to plug other artists.
  • Apple launches sports app for scores and stats.
  • Jeff Zucker doesn’t watch much CNN.


  • Walmart buying Vizio for $2.3b. Found money as described to me.
  • LionTree quietly raised $1b+ fund last year.
  • Sports podcast company Blue Wire raises round from Decathlon.
  • BuzzFeed sells Complex for $107m, announces job cuts.
  • Reddit in AI content licensing deal with Google worth $60m/year.
  • Atlas Obscura looks to raise $10m at a $24m valuation with help from smaller investors.
  • RedBird IMI to acquire global production company All3Media.

Campaign of the week

  • How do orders get to the most remote places in the world? Amazon created this short doc.

View all 2024 best campaigns.

Datapoints of note

  • Instagram Ads on Reels payout for 64 million views was $592 for this creator. 15% from profile views.
  • Substack-based Ankler Media eyes $10m revenue next year.
  • 100m users pay for YouTube Music/Premium. And represents 8.6% of viewing on television screens.

View all 2024 datapoints of note.

That’s it for this week.