Condé Nast Buys Pitchfork Media; Twitter Lays Off 8% Of Its Workforce

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Making Hay

Condé Nast has millennials on the mind – at least that’s the message following its acquisition of Pitchfork Media, a niche music quarterly and website. Ravi Somaiya reports for The NYT that Condé Nast CDO Fred Santarpia (who led the deal) said Pitchfork brings an “audience of millennial males into our roster.” CEO Bob Sauerberg said the purchase reinforces the company’s “high-value millennial audiences.” Terms weren’t disclosed, though it’s clear where the value lies. Read on.

Empty Nest

Twitter disclosed in an SEC filing that the company approved a “reduction in force plan of up to 336 employees.” Those layoffs represent approximately 8% of Twitter’s employee base, though Jack Dorsey said that the engineering team will bear the brunt of the downsizing. In a letter to the company, Dorsey also said the new engineering force will be “a smaller and nimbler team.” (If they can’t get users on the platform, at least they won’t cost so much.) Related from Seeking Alpha: Do layoffs signal that Twitter is gunning for a sale?

Do Unto Others...

In the wake of a failed court case against the Acceptable Ads Initiative at Adblock Plus (the name of its publisher whitelisting program), Axel Springer has turned its attention from its archenemy tech startup to actual readers. A new policy will block all content from Germany’s most popular news publisher to any readers with ad block software deployed, according to Bloomberg reporters. Axel Springer has other tricks up its sleeve, including investments in Blendle, a Dutch company that makes tech allowing publishers to charge micropayments per page view. More.

No Port In A Storm

“Pugnacious” Facebook is gearing up for a “cascade of privacy investigations in Europe,” reports The WSJ’s Sam Schechner. Should an expected ruling in Belgium go against it, the company has threatened to require Belgian users to submit to identity checks before accessing the service. With similar cases pending in Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Italy, the repercussions could be severe. Read it.

Facebook’s Inevitable YouTube Clone

What good are 5 billion daily video views if you can’t monetize them? Re/code’s Peter Kafka reports that Facebook is teeing up on a standalone video destination, à la YouTube. “If Facebook was going to really take on YouTube for video viewers’ time and, eventually, advertisers’ dollars then it would have to offer an experience … where you could go look for things you want.” From a revenue standpoint, pre-roll may be the real enticement here, as video in Facebook’s native scrolling environment is a tougher sell for advertisers and agencies. More.

The Year Mobile Won

PubMatic released its new Quarterly Mobile Index, which tracks trends across mobile ad channels. The news, evidently, is glowing all around. Mature markets like North America and Europe offer promising scale, while Latin America and Asia are bringing on new users at a shocking rate. Mobile web inventory is improving rapidly (though the bar was very low), and Apple app ads are the fastest-growing segment of any category for both price and volume.

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