Ancestry.com Launches U.S. Agency Review After Less Than a Year With Droga5
Patrick Coffee, Adweek
Family history and consumer genomics tool Ancestry.com is seeking new marketing partners less than a year after naming Droga5 as its creative agency of record. While the agency’s London office may continue working with the brand in some capacity, Ancestry.com will choose additional shops to handle its U.S. marketing efforts.
AdRoll Rebrands, Splits Into B2B And B2C Divisions
Kelly Liyakasa, AdExchanger
AdRoll reorganized on Tuesday by splitting its business into two parts: a new unit called RollWorks focused solely on B2B, and the legacy AdRoll business that services small to mid-size ecommerce companies. Each business division has its own P&L and sits under the newly formed parent holding company AdRoll Group.
Facebook Says Trump Paid Slightly Higher Ad Prices Than Clinton
Sarah Frier, Bloomberg
Facebook Inc. wants to set the record straight: presidential candidate Donald Trump spent slightly more per ad on the site than his rival Hillary Clinton did ahead of the general election in 2016. The revelation comes after a former employee wrote an article for Wired that posited a theory: since Facebook ads are sold through a bidding system, and Trump was targeting people in more rural areas, he likely paid less per ad to reach those people.
Media and Entertainment
Discovery Gets Justice Department Clearance to Buy Scripps
Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter
Discovery Communications, the company behind such cable networks as the Discovery Channel, TLC and OWN, on Tuesday reported better than expected fourth-quarter earnings and said it has received clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive. The company, led by CEO David Zaslav, reported adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents for the period, compared with 56 cents on an adjusted basis.
Sinclair Deal With Tribune Hits Complications in Washington
Cecilia Kang and Sydney Ember, The New York Times
When Sinclair Broadcast Group announced its intent to buy Tribune Media in a blockbuster merger last May, the company predicted that regulators would quickly wave through the deal. But 10 months later, Sinclair remains locked in a prolonged battle with Justice Department antitrust officials over how many stations it must sell to get their approval.
Feb. 2018 Ratings: 16 Years And Counting At No. 1 For Fox News
A.J. Katz, TVNewser
Another month, another monthly ratings victory for Fox News. If you’re counting at home, that’s 194 months, since January 2002, as the most-watched cable news network.
Fox News wins appeals ruling over media monitoring company
Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
A media monitoring company is cheating Fox News out of revenue by failing to pay for some content it resells, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in a decision closely watched in the news broadcasting industry. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against TVEyes Inc., a Fairfield, Connecticut-based company distributing television clips and snippets of transcripts to its customers.
Newsweek fires two more editors as turmoil escalates
Keith J. Kelly, New York Post
Another week, another controversy roiling Newsweek. Gersh Kuntzman — a veteran editor who had grilled the magazine’s owners at a town hall meeting about the Manhattan district attorney’s raid of Newsweek’s offices last month, reportedly over alleged ad fraud, IRS tax liens and ties to a California-based church — was fired Friday.
Newsweek Couldn’t Pay Its Rent on Time and Faced Eviction
Maxwell Tani, The Daily Beast
Looming investigations into Newsweek Media Group’s finances have demoralized the legacy magazine’s staff and left a cloud of doubt over the company’s long-term future. But now the company faces another more immediate issue: Whether it can stay in its New York headquarters.
Social Media and Technology
Amazon buys startup Ring in $1 billion deal to run your home security
Jeffrey Dastin and Greg Roumeliotis, Reuters
Amazon.com Inc. has agreed to buy video doorbell maker Ring, the companies said on Tuesday, in what analysts see as a growing bet on delivering packages inside of shoppers’ homes and on home security. The deal valued Ring at more than $1 billion, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Amazon Alexa’s head AI researcher has left for Google
Dave Gershgorn, Quartz
The researcher tasked with dreaming up new capabilities for Amazon’s Alexa is taking his talents to Google. Ashwin Ram, former senior manager and lead for Alexa AI at Amazon, is now technical director of AI for Google Cloud, according to a post on LinkedIn.
Pinterest hires former Square and Google exec Francoise Brougher as its first COO
Matthew Lynley, TechCrunch
Pinterest today is adding another executive to its upper c-suite with the hire of Francoise Brougher, who was most recently business lead at Square and prior to that VP of SMB global sales and operations at Google, as its first chief operating officer. Both of those previous positions are probably going to be of particular interest to Pinterest, as someone with Brougher’s experience dealing with smaller- and medium-sized businesses can help Pinterest pitch itself as an advertising product for those small businesses looking to get off the ground that’s a good alternative to Facebook.
Venmo reaches FTC settlement over bad security and transaction practices
Russell Brandom, The Verge
The Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement with Venmo, after allegations that the app misled customers and enabled fraud through lax security practices. Charges were first brought against Venmo in 2016 after reports of account hacks and other transaction fraud.
‘A big resurgence’: Publishers get a boost from Twitter video
Lucinda Southern, Digiday
The cyclical nature of media means that Twitter is enjoying some time in the sun with publishers. According to multiple publishers, Twitter has delivered more video views than usual over the last two months, for some making up for the reach lost on Facebook since it made changes to the news feed.
‘Success’ on YouTube Still Means a Life of Poverty
Chris Stokel-Walker, Bloomberg
Do your children dream of YouTube stardom? Do them a favor: Crush that ambition now.
YouTube restores ads to Logan Paul’s videos, but he will be on probation
Johnny Lieu, Mashable
Controversial vlogger Logan Paul will have ads restored to his YouTube videos, but he still remains on probation. With nearly 17 million subscribers, Paul will once again be part of the platform’s monetization program following a suspension, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed.
PR and Marketing
Dick’s, Major Gun Retailer, Will Stop Selling Assault-Style Rifles
Julie Creswell, The New York Times
One of the nation’s largest sports retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, said Wednesday morning it was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles in its stores. The retailer also said that it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines and that it would not sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws.
Firms See Negative Responses to Cutting Business Ties With NRA
Ryan Rainey, Morning Consult
After the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, several prominent companies ended their businesses relationships with the National Rifle Association — and some are facing backlash in public opinion, according to a new poll. A Morning Consult survey of 2,201 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 23-25 found increases in negative views of businesses that severed ties with the NRA after consumers learned of them.
A Georgia Republican’s threat to Delta: Stop boycotting the NRA, or you won’t get your tax break
Marwa Eltagouri, The Washington Post
Days after Delta Air Lines announced it would stop offering discounted fares to National Rifle Association members, a top Georgia Republican retaliated by vowing to kill state legislation that would hand the airline a lucrative tax break. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who leads the Georgia State Senate, demanded Monday that Atlanta-based Delta, one of the state’s largest employers, make a choice: Stop punishing the NRA, or watch Republican lawmakers strike down a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel, of which Delta would be the primary beneficiary.
Papa John’s Is No Longer the NFL’s Official Pizza
Aisha Al-Muslim and Andrew Beaton, The Wall Street Journal
Papa John’s International Inc. will no longer be the official pizza of the National Football League, the pizza chain and the league said Tuesday. “While the NFL remains an important channel for us, we have determined that there are better ways to reach and activate this audience,” Papa John’s Chief Executive Steve Ritchie said on a conference call.
Starbucks opens first Reserve store, sees retail rents easing
Lisa Baertlein, Reuters
Starbucks Corp on Tuesday opened the first of 1,000 planned upscale Starbucks Reserve stores as part of a broad strategy to defend against high-end coffee rivals like Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea and Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Starbucks for the first time in 2017 had more U.S. outlets than McDonald’s Corp.
McDonald’s reunites with Disney on Happy Meals after more than a decade apart
Sarah Whitten, CNBC
Just in time for the release of the long-awaited “Incredibles” sequel, McDonald’s has rekindled its relationship with Disney. The partnership will bring the House of Mouse back to Happy Meals more than a decade after Disney severed ties with the burger brand.
Unilever vows 50% of the startups it works with will be female-led by 2023
Jennifer Faull, The Drum
Unilever has committed to increasing the number of female-founded startups it invests in. Right now, just 23% of its investment goes to female-led businesses; by 2023 it wants that to be 50%.
Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research
As Many Companies Distance Themselves From the NRA, Is This a Watershed Moment for Branding?
Kristina Monllos, Adweek
Major brands have been distancing themselves from the National Rifle Association following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14. In the last week, shooting survivors and gun control advocates have encouraged airlines like Delta and United, car rental companies like Avis, National and Enterprise, insurance companies like MetLife and Lockton Affinity, banks like First National Bank of Omaha and Republic Bank to cut ties with the NRA.
Why GE is making a dramatic overhaul to its board of directors
Jena McGregor, The Washington Post
The corporate boardroom is not a place where change typically happens swiftly. Few board seats have term limits, the job offers a lucrative post for retired executives (albeit one with increasing pressures), and continuity is typically valued as much as new perspectives.
Confessions of an ad exec: Ad agency culture problems start at the top
Shareen Pathak, Digiday
As sexual harassment issues sweep the ad industry, some heads are rolling. But in many cases, it feels like agencies aren’t getting ahead of the problem.