High Debt At WPP And Publicis Could Spell Trouble; Podcast Ad Revenue Surges

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Hold Up

In the event of an economic downturn, holding companies – specifically WPP and Publicis – could be in a vulnerable position. Both companies are saddled with debt and plummeting stock values that will be difficult to recoup, especially as clients bring more agency services in house and consulting firms such as Deloitte and Accenture become more competitive, Avi Dan, CEO of Avidan Strategies, writes at Forbes. Publicis and WPP are responding by shrinking their massive empires. See: Sapient absorbing Razorfish at Publicis and WPP’s consolidation of Young & Rubicam and J. Walter Tompson under VML and Wunderman, respectively. Financial troubles could prompt them to offload more assets, as WPP recently did with its majority stake in Kantar. Or it could make them into acquisition targets themselves. Publicis, for example, might be of interest to Vivendi, parent of rival holding firm Havas. And it’s not far-fetched to think that WPP might receive a takeover bid from a Deloitte or Accenture down the line. More.

Pod Revenue

Podcast publishers in the United States will generate $700 million in ad sales this year, up 40% from last year, according to Magna’s first podcast report. Within the next five years, Magna predicts the podcast advertising market will reach $1.2 billion, up from $100 million five years ago. Podcasts make up just 4% of the audio market today, but they’re gaining in popularity as the total audio ad market declines, creating massive room for growth. In the next five years podcasting could double its share to make up 8% of the audio ad market. But despite rapid growth – the percentage of Americans listening to podcasts monthly doubled over the last five years – high and varying CPMs and lack of ad measurement are holding back ad dollars. At this point, most advertisers still view podcasting as an experiment rather than as a major line item. More.

In The Land Of The Giants

The merger of CBS and Viacom culminated a multiyear effort by the Redstone family to reunite its media properties into one mega-broadcaster. Or, perhaps, not so mega? If anything, ViacomCBS, as the new company is called, shows how steep a hill even a $26 billion business must climb to compete with the likes of Amazon, Comcast, Disney and AT&T. Shares of CBS and Viacom have shrunk by about 15% since the announcement, and Bob Bakish, CEO of the combined business, is telling investors he won’t be making any major acquisitions, as many analysts expected, Fox Business reports. More. But the tech giants aren’t full-speed ahead either. After it hit the ground running with a deal for AppNexus, AT&T’s Xandr was told to hold off on more M&A until the end of 2019 at the soonest.

Can I Have Your Number?

More than 400 million records of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts around the world were leaked online by a non-password protected server on Thursday. The records contained each Facebook user’s unique ID tied to the phone number listed on their account, with some even exposing information such as the user’s name, gender and country of residence. Facebook restricted access to user phone numbers more than a year ago, and said the data accessed in the breach is likely old. Still, the breach is the latest in a stream of data security issues Facebook has faced since last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it could put Facebook users at risk for spam calls and SIM-swapping attacks, TechCrunch reports. The affected server, whose identity is unknown, was pulled offline after the story ran. More.

But Wait, There’s More

You’re Hired

 

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