Ben Young
Ben Young
April 19, 2019

Colin Nagy of creative shop FF here covering for Ben while he is down in NZ.

A quick insight to lead off the newsletter this week: it has been fascinating to watch how much migration there has been in recent months to small, niche private networks. Just at the beginning of the web when interest groups self-organized around topics and passions on message boards and forums, the same seems to be happening again. There’s been a huge rise in private Telegram groups where curators are sharing links and commentary, as well as platforms like sub-stack which are powering small niche emails with subject matter expertise. For example, I could read the reporter Ahmed Al Oman covering Saudi at the Wall Street Journal when he writes something in the paper, or see links to that on his twitter or social, but his personal newsletter is actually much more interesting to see that stuff that doesn’t make the story but is useful context or background. It is a more intimate and conversational form of media. Perhaps this is all a reaction to a ton of news feed chugging over the past years, or a reaction to too many algos dictating what we see. Maybe it is based on privacy concerns and issues with the behavior of the big platforms. But for me, it is moving back to some of the most wonderful and inspiring small little micro modes of interesting that I loved about the early internet.

Side note: Noah Brier and I are writing an ambitious daily email called Why is this Interesting? And we would love to have you read.

And now onto the rest!

Notable stories this week

  • [Long read] Marc Pritchard’s landmark speech on creating a ‘new media supply chain’. This is a great read.
  • Facebook is testing to turn News Feed into Story Feed.
  • Viacom to debut 15 channels on Pluto TV to bolster its upfront pitch.
  • Medium eyes media partnerships in pursuit of 1 million subscribers.
  • [Long read] Everyone’s gunning for Netflix, and as they contend with more rivals, Hulu stands out.
  • Content agency Commit launches Propeller, a user-generated platform, to enable brands to build a custom community around the curation of content.
  • Content and native advertising platform Engageya launches Storiya, native ads similar to Snapchat stories.
  • [From us] How the growing audio space can avoid the missteps of the web.


  • Vox Media acquires publisher and producer Epic Magazine, boosting the media company’s video storytelling capabilities.
  • Publicis makes biggest purchase with $4.4bn Epsilon cash deal.
  • Walmart to acquire technology and assets of Polymorph Labs to expand in-house ad technology.

Campaign of the week

  • Beats by Dre, a campaign which features many famous sports personalities, whilst ensuring that their headphones remain front and center.
  • Singapore’s Ministry of Communication and Information on National Geographic, All Singapore under one roof. With this piece, we’re invited to explore Singapore’s hawker centers, a second home for many and a melting pot of cuisines where a number of subcultures have formed.
  • Submit your own and view the best campaigns of 2019.

Smartest commentary

  • “It’s time to invest our brainpower into an ecosystem that builds in quality, civility, transparency, privacy and control from the very start. A new media supply chain that levels the playing field and operates in a way that is clean, efficient, accountable and properly moderated for everyone involved. A new media supply chain that is both a force for growth and a force for good. Good for consumers, our brands, our industry and society.” – Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G

Datapoints of note