The Weather Channel Seeks New Ownership; Salesforce Marketing Cloud Boost

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Weathering The Cord Cut

The Weather Channel is reportedly seeking new ownership and has hired investment bankers to get the job done. But will the cable network’s digital and mobile properties come along for the ride? Perhaps not. According to Bloomberg’s sources, The Weather Co.’s current consortium of owners – Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and NBCUniversal – could offload its digital properties, collectively valued at $3 billion. It’s unclear how Weather’s ad targeting division, AdFX, would be affected since both its cable and digital divisions tap into its trifecta of weather, location and audience data. Read more.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Soars

On Salesforce.com’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Marc Benioff dropped a few tidbits about the company’s Marketing Cloud performance. Revenue increased by 22% to $157.9 million in the second quarter, up from $122.4 last year. Total revenue in Q2 hit $1.6 billion, a 24% increase YoY. Benioff anticipates the company will surpass $7 billion in revenue by the end of the year. “Microsoft, SAP and Oracle are selling millions of dollars in CRM,” he said. “That’s millions with an ‘M.’ We’re selling billions.” Benioff noted Salesforce doubled its number of large deals for Marketing Cloud year over year. The results.

Spotify Is Listening

Spotify switched up its privacy policy on Thursday, granting itself the right to collect a variety of data from its users. In addition to accessing mobile users’ contacts, photos and device sensors, Spotify’s new policy aims to enhance its advertising. Spotify will now share user information with its advertising partners in order to tailor ads and other promotional content. “We may also receive information about you from our service providers and partners,” reads the policy, “which we use to personalise your Spotify experience, to measure ad quality and responses to ads, and to display ads that are more likely to be relevant to you.” User information will be deidentified via hashing. More via Forbes.

Sourcing The News

According to traffic analytics from Parse.ly, Facebook has usurped Google as the strongest driver of news audiences. The social media giant has gone from “vying” with Google to overtaking it by a significant amount, reports Fortune’s Mathew Ingram. Facebook has been ramping up efforts to absorb news audiences. Meanwhile, Google has instituted new restrictions (such as disallowing publishers from seeing search keyword results) that are pushing news media away from SEO as a traffic source. Parse.ly CTO Andrew Montalenti says that when it comes to article performance, Facebook is “almost as impenetrable” as Google. More.

Not So Fast

According to an April poll of marketers by Mox, approval processes are slowing the adoption and implementation of new tech. Of marketers surveyed, 27.7% pointed to a heavily scrutinized and structural approval process for new tech. And a similar study from Business Performance Innovation Network claims tech managers’ biggest hurdle is gaining approval for the adoption of new technology. In yet another hurdle, a majority of global marketing professionals surveyed in April by the Direct Marketing Association say proving the value of new tech is not easy. EMarketer has more.

A Post-SMS World

Pew Research Center released its first dedicated study on mobile messaging on Thursday and, according to the data, 36% of smartphone owners use apps like WhatsApp, Kik or iMessage, while 17% use ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat or Wickr. Unsurprisingly, younger demographics are leading the trend, with 49% of 18-29-year-olds active on messaging apps. Elsewhere in social, 31% of online adults are now active on Pinterest and 28% are active on Instagram. Per Pew, “The results in this report reflect the noteworthy and rapid emergence of different kinds of communications tools serving different social needs.” Next up for advertisers: figuring out how to master marketing on those emerging channels. More.

GroupM’s Mobile Plans

Medialets vet Eric Litman is now a GroupM mobile exec. A little over four months after GroupM snapped up mobile ad platform Medialets in April, Litman, the company’s former CEO and founder, is officially ensconced within the WPP fold as GroupM’s SVP of mobile worldwide. In a Facebook post, Litman said that he’ll be largely focused on strategy and M&A. He’ll also be involved in a new business inside GroupM called Connect that “brings together the mobile, social, search and transparent programmatic capabilities of the global org under a single umbrella.” Sounds like a big umbrella. Congrats, Eric.

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