Gustaf Stenlund
Gustaf Stenlund
February 7, 2020

Gustaf here. I'm stepping in for Ben, who's back in NZ for a wedding.

It's a pretty meaty edition this week, with lots of interesting stories and data-points to dive into. Many of these are on the back of newly released earnings reports from some of our industry's giants, including Microsoft, Google, and Spotify.


Notable stories this week

  • How Morning Brew grew to $13m in revenue with 33 employees.
  • With a new sponsorship deal, BuzzFeed hopes a new attribution model can power commerce growth.
  • The streaming wars heat up, with Disney set to leave Foxtel following the launch of its own streaming service in Australia.
  • Publishers are growing audiences by producing less content.
  • DotDash is building a smart digital media portfolio. Super audience-first. Low ego, high performance brand.
  • Facebook plans to shut down the mobile web arm of its Audience Network.
  • Verizon Media rolls out a personal finance site, Cashay, for millennials.


  • Spotify acquires The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ podcast empire. More, straight from the horse's mouth here.
  • DotDash acquires another two publishers, TreeHugger and Mother Nature Network, to create a new sustainability vertical within its portfolio.
  • Clickhole was just bought out from G/O Media by Cards Against Humanity in an all-cash deal.

Campaign of the week

Branded content by Future and 1800 Tequila on Pitchfork

Smartest commentary

  • "If you think 10 years ago, I think the trend that we're investing in is that radio is moving online because users get a much better user experience," […] "What we really did with The Ringer I think is we bought the next ESPN. We think that's going to be a tremendously valuable property as we look at the development of sports over the next decade."Daniel Ek, CEO at Spotify

Datapoints of note

  • 74 million readers – twice the amount compared to an average Sunday in January 2020 – went online to seek information on brands that advertised during the big game.
  • Google just revealed YouTube's ad revenue, 14 years after acquiring it, and the video site brought in $15 billion last year.
  • The New York Times added more than 1 million digital subscribers in 2019, its largest increase ever.
  • Microsoft reported its fiscal 2020 second-quarter results, including revenue of $36.9 billion (up 14%), net income of $11.6 billion (up 38%) and diluted earnings per share of $1.51.
  • ^ Related, Azure posts 62% growth.
  • Morning Brew’s revenue grew from $3 million in 2018 to $13 million in 2019.
  • Spotify closed 2019 with a positive quarter that saw it add 10 million new paying subscribers (126m). Their podcast push also appears to be paying off, with listens from 16% of its monthly active users. The consumption hours of podcasts were also up 200%.
  • 20% of Disney+ subs came from Verizon.




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