Ben Young
Ben Young
September 13, 2019

One big thing

This week we saw fresh investment in Group Nine and Atlas Obscura, both showing promise that strategic partners see in the space.

The common thread between the two companies is a good mix of uncorrelated revenue. Atlas Obscura has branded content, the Airbnb investment will rapidly grow ‘affiliate-like’ revenue and book deals. Group Nine has tv/content deals with The Dodo, Facebook revenue with NowThis and then affiliate with Thrillist. As well as its first book deal with Scholastic.

If anyone of those revenue sources gets impacted by external changes, others stay intact.

For media brands there isn’t a one-trick pony solution. The common thread is each push off their own unique identity, brand, lens on the world and build monetization from there.

Lastly, we’re continuously investing in and developing new products and we’d love your feedback to help us shape these. Take our brief survey.

Notable stories this week

  • Native advertising may jeopardize the legitimacy of newsrooms.
  • Italian publisher Freeda is expanding to the UK.
  • The Atlantic paywall comes back.
  • Inside Jakk Media, how they’ve built a content business in an unconventional (but smart) way.
  • AppNexus founder Brian O’Kelley announces his next gig… away from the industry and into commodities?!
  • Brands giving products, to unbox, to kids. Without disclosure. Has led to a complaint with the FTC. Children don’t even understand the concept of advertising and to separate the two till they’re about 12-14. So this is disappointing on all fronts, the brand and the parents which let it slide.
  • Google to make a change in the algorithm to improve ranking of original content.
  • LG using ads to subsidize TV.
  • A good wager: Netflix will win the streaming wars.


  • Group Nine raises $50m from Discovery & Axel Springer to continue its quest. Values the group at over $600m.
  • Airbnb invests $20m into Atlas Obscura, to help grow the business and create AtlasObscura trips or events through Airbnb.
  • ^ This is smart, as it works both ways. Creates affiliate income for Atlas Obscura, diversifies their revenue. And provides a potential exit partner.

Campaign of the week

Smartest commentary

  • “Every single client is looking at in-housing”. -Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman, S4 Capital

Datapoints of note

  • The Atlantic audience is up 20% YOY. And readers who visit four or more times/month are up 25%.


  • We’re hosting some informal drinks in NYC this month, lmk if you’d like an invite.




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