Ben Young
Ben Young
December 6, 2019

Next week I’m hosting some drinks for smart folks in the sports media industry. LMK if you’d like to join us. Informal, small group.

I shared my top books of 2019, what were yours?

One big thing
The Columbia Journalism school has been undertaking a multi-year study on the relationship between large-scale technology companies and journalism.

In their latest update, they summarize the present state of affairs.

A couple of takeaways:

  • How publishers use the word diversification has swapped from ‘being everywhere’ as diversification to “squeezing revenue from their own properties in as many ways as possible.”
  • Publishers are working on getting closer to the reader through better understanding of their interests, “they are segmenting them with the aim of better focusing on serving their core readers, while strategizing around converting more casual readers.”

Read the full report.

What this is is the Zag. If the industry zig has been to going everywhere else, the Zag is going deeper in to owned properties. Smarter content. Smarter ways of engaging users (and monetizing).

Worth thinking about as we all confer on our end of year reviews and 2020 plans.

Notable stories this week

  • The rise of the Chief Content Officer. An exciting trend to watch/see.
  • For the first time since 2015, GroupM says television ad spend will be less than $65b this year.
  • A behind-the-scenes with DJ Giles Peterson and his partnership with WeTransfer. In short, he was given the remit to play/explore/research where he wouldn’t otherwise get that. A win/win. Similar to Mathew McConaughey with Wild Turkey.
  • ^ An upside of the social media world, celebrities are often also very good content creators.
  • BuzzFeed SponCon lets advertisers request content for their audiences.
  • How Minute Media plans to expand The Players’ Tribune.
  • A discussion on the implications of Apple’s data war on the value of ads.
  • News UK creates a new branded social video studio – The Sun Social Studio.
  • [Long read] Platforms and publishers, the end of an era.
  • IAB CEO, Randall Rothenburg and Scott Galloway on the brand era. Randall: “The “brand era” was actually the “distribution lockout era”: 3 cos. had 90% share of prime-time TV viewership, and only 200 cos. could afford to advertise on network TV. (Google by contrast has 10 million advertisers.) Similar lockouts @ retail distrib. advanced CPG oligopolies.”
  • Click Farms and buying traffic trickle into podcasts.
  • Amazon is partnering with Verizon to improve 5G speeds, bringing content closer to mobile users.


Campaign of the week

WP brand studio, branded content

Smartest commentary

  • “As far as the numbers go, vanity metrics look great on paper,” says Daniel Hochuli, LinkedIn’s Content Solutions Manager APAC & China. “But the sheen on these numbers fades when you try to use them to explain important business outcomes like ROI or customer lifetime value (CLTV); they become hollow digits that contribute little substance to proving your marketing is making money.”

Datapoints of note


  • None on our radar, let us know of any we should pay attention to. 




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