MDC Partners Shows Signs Of Life; NBC, BuzzFeed And AmEx Partner On Branded TV

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MDC Surges

Struggling holding company MDC Partners is showing signs of life in the wake of its hire of Silicon Valley vet Scott Kauffman last summer. MDC posted $117 million in net new business wins in 2015, following a decade of net losses, according to Nathalie Tadena of The Wall Street Journal. MDC has a differentiated style of partnership acquisition (where ownership is consolidated over five to seven years), which it pitches as a better long-term option versus the new holding company model. “We are not the soulless bloodsucking behemoth holding company that simply wants to crush businesses together in spreadsheet fashion to create a financial outcome,” said Kauffman. More.

Ready For Prime Time

NBC, BuzzFeed and AmEx are teaming up on a new kind of branded television experience. Bloomberg reports that some NBC programs next week will feature new content (like interviews with stars and extra scenes from the shows) sponsored by American Express. BuzzFeed will also produce content for its site, NBC properties and social media. It’s a sign of how entertainment giants plan to tap the digital media upstarts (BuzzFeed, Vox, Vice, etc.) where they’ve placed some big investments.

AOL’s Media Ideas

AOL content President Jimmy Maymann spoke with Digiday’s Jessica Davies about the company’s plans for its tech media portfolio (i.e., TechCrunch and Engadget). He said the company will add new monetization streams, like native ads for Engadget and corporate partnerships with TechCrunch. Verizon’s new content creators will also help fill out its slow-rolling mobile video platform Go90. “If we see something we could package up and charge for, obviously we owe it to our shareholders to test those scenarios,” said Maymann.

Untilled Fields

Cardlytics developed as a closed-loop play for promoted deals and banking loyalty (with coupon savings deducted automatically from monthly statements), but is pivoting into mobile location and offline data supply. As Kate Kaye writes at Ad Age, Cardlytics’ new product “mirrors a trend across a widening spectrum of players with access to real-world information about consumers.” Such players are seeking better ways to monetize their data as the industry’s web of connective tissue – companies like Acxiom, Neustar and SAP – realize the promise of offline customer matching. More.

Fragmented Platforms

In a column for Tech.pinions, analyst Ben Bajarin charts “the diversity in computing platforms in use today as well as the size of the market.” In 2001, Microsoft controlled about 97% of OS market share. Fast forward a decade and the market has fractured dramatically (though individual players still dominate). It’s an important reminder in a mobile world that feels so powerfully conglomerated that there are still huge, growing markets capable of sustaining entirely new platforms and models. More.

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