Vox Media To Buy Re/code; NBCUniversal's Advanced Ad Sales Hire

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Re/Vox

In the 12 hours since it came to light that Vox Media will buy Re/code, the deal has sparked innumerable hot takes in tech and media circles. Is it about the conference business? Or Re/code's outsized influence in tech? Or perhaps a sign of “turmoil” in tech blogging, as The New York Times would have it? Whatever the reasons, the acquisition provides another window into Vox’s growth strategy in the wake of its $48 million round in November at a $380 million valuation and its earlier snap-up of the Curbed network of sites. CEO Jim Bankoff told the Times’ Sydney Ember these acquisitions are part of an “ambitious plan to create a kind of Time Inc. for the digital age, with a portfolio of publications that appeal to a wide swath of viewers.” Read Re/code’s announcement.

Advancing NBC

Not one to be left in the programmatic TV dust, NBCUniversal is the latest to snag an advanced ads exec. Maxifier CEO Denise Colella will now lead advanced advertising products and strategy for NBCUniversal’s advertising sales division, including the development of data-enabled ad products like the Audience Targeting Platform. Fox Networks Group recently appointed true[x] CEO Joe Marchese to lead advanced ads while ABC snagged Videology’s Mike Dean for a data-driven sales role. “At NBCUniversal, the approach focuses around the total audience and how we can give that experience to the consumer across all platforms, and how we can bring our advertising partners along with us as we do that,” Colella told AdExchanger. Read the release.

Snapchat’s Road Map

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel opens up to Bloomberg about the long game to monetize the popular app and, spoiler alert, it leans heavily on advertising. The firm, which has grown to a staff of 330 and a valuation north of $15 billion in three years, is circulating a 23-page sales pitch to ad agencies this month touting its selling points. In its pitch, the company claims that 60% of 13- to 34-year-old American smartphone users are active on Snapchat and consume a combined 2 billion videos per day. “A lot of people look at Internet advertising as a tax on the system,” Spiegel said. “That’s sort of discouraging if you care about making new products and especially discouraging if you feel like you can solve problems.” Read it.

Mobile’s Mobilization

Despite the rise in mobile device usage, there’s no sign yet that mobile audience numbers are cannibalizing desktop, the WSJ reports. “The key thing to remember is that percentages are not zero-sum,” said Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile. “You can have mobile growing to 50% of your traffic and desktop traffic remaining healthy.” In effect, mobile isn’t eating desktop’s share of the pie, it’s increasing the size of the pie itself. What the post doesn’t address, and is a major focus for global platforms, is the prevalence of mobile phones (often as the sole computer) among users in emerging markets like India and China.

Mall Trackers

In-mall mobile trackers and beacon networks are becoming more sophisticated, Ad Age reports. Mobiquity is one firm driving the market forward, with devices installed in 240 malls and plans to grow its presence to 290 malls by July. The tech is advanced enough to know where consumers entered the mall and which route was traveled from store to store. Geofencing data isn’t new to marketers, but more precise data is bubbling up from beacons placed in food courts or other areas outside specific stores. The aim, according to Dean Julia, co-CEO of Mobiquity, is to monetize that additional data. “We've spoken to numerous ad networks and they all seem to think that adding that piece of data is extremely valuable and they would be able to upsell on CPM pricing,” Julia said.

Newsletters Reflecting On Newsletters

Newsletters, once a way to build incremental traffic, are increasingly valued by media companies. Digiday takes a look at a few newsletters, such as the Quartz Daily Brief and Ozy’s Presidential Daily Brief, that try to make their products consumable beyond the scope of the website. “One of the realities of the digital world is that people aren’t going to consume content on your site,” said Aneesh Raman, VP at Ozy. Despite the fact that subscription numbers can be relatively low, “Newsletters are opt-in, and subscribers tend to be loyalists, which can make them an attractive place for advertisers to be.”

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