Sunnier Side of the Office

Quartz Acquired By Uzabase for Up To $110 Million

By Coltin Chapman

Last week, news broke that Quartz, a digital global news outlet for affluent, forward-thinking readers, would be acquired by Japanese media company Uzabase.

Quartz was created by Atlantic Media in 2012 as a way to adapt to the mobile and digital age. Since then, the site has rapidly expanded, with 20 million people accessing Quartz on a monthly basis through their sites, apps, newsletters, and videos.

In 2016 Quartz earned $30 million in revenue through strong ad sales and a popular paywall subscription model. The site is on track to increase revenue by 25% to 35% this year.

Quartz is following in the footsteps of media giants like The New York Times, Washington Post, and WSJ by implementing a paywall feature. Paywalls have become pivotal in the media world, publishers no longer need to focus on driving traffic to their pages. Instead, they can focus on what really matters: customer loyalty and quality content.

While details of the acquisitions have not been finalized, Uzabase will hand Quartz the reins to its personalized news app, NewsPicks, USA in the hopes that Quartz can increase usage and subscribers.

YouTube Will Promote and Fund ‘Authoritative’ News

YouTube has found itself in the spotlight over the past year and a half for its algorithm’s practice of surfacing wild conspiracy theory videos, blatantly fake news clips and other questionable content for both adults and kids. This issue is amplified during breaking news cycles, such as during the recent Parkland and Las Vegas shootings, when conspiracy videos quickly surfaced.

Roughly 450 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it nearly possible for human content moderators to monitor what gets posted. YouTube has instead announced tweaks to its algorithm that will prioritize and surface “authoritative” sources and. It will also fund $25 million in grants for news outlets that want to beef up their video presence on the platform, which is part of the larger Google News Initiative announced earlier this year.

The changes YouTube announced Monday “are substantive tweaks to the tools it uses to recommend news-related videos,” according to Wired. “In the coming weeks, YouTube will start to display an information panel above videos about developing stories, which will include a link to an article that Google News deems to be most relevant and authoritative on the subject. The move is meant to help prevent hastily recorded hoax videos from rising to the top of YouTube’s recommendations.”

Read more about the changes at Wired.

Google Launches New Ad Products to Supr e-Commerce, Retail Ad Spending

Shopping ads have been helping Google grow its ad revenue — so much so that the company is doubling down on them, launching a tool “designed to draw even more spending from e-commerce businesses and drive offline sales,” according to Bloomberg.

“With the new feature, Google will make it easier for retailers to run ads for consumer products, like sneakers and speakers, on several popular Google services,” Bloomberg notes. “And marketers will be able to buy these Google ads directly through Shopify Inc., another integration between the two companies that are facing a looming threat from Inc.” (Shopify works with companies to set up their e-commerce websites.)

The tool is one of four new ad products Google announced today. Each product is created to help automate the ad-buying process; they are also intended to help solidify Google as a one-stop marketing shop for advertisers and buyers. “With the retail feature, for instance, marketers can set certain business goals, such as acquiring new customers or driving foot traffic to stores, then spray ads efficiently on Google search, Maps, YouTube and across the web,” said Bloomberg.

Read more about the new ad features here.

New Twitter Functions Bring Appeal, Value to Platform

By Melissa Santiago

There’s no shortage of big news with Facebook and Instagram, but Twitter is slowly and quietly releasing new features to improve the platform experience.

These new features include putting relevant information that caters to a user’s interests front and center on the platform. This is a direct effort to combat the longtime barrier Twitter has faced with new and lapsed users finding the platform cumbersome to navigate and not understanding its value.

According to Keith Coleman, vice president of product, via Bloomberg: “Twitter has recently been taking steps to put live events at the forefront of the experience, so we introduced “Happening now” at the top of the timeline for sports, so if your team is playing you can follow along with Tweets about the game and the score, all in one place. We’re now expanding this to include Tweets about breaking and personalized news.”

The understated updates began to roll out in mid-June and should now be widely available to all users — although you are likely to not notice them unless you’re looking for them. They were most noticeable during the NBA finals, and more recently during the World Cup. For those not into sports, an additional part of the expansion is how “Twitter will predict relevant topics and send breaking-news notifications based on a person’s interests.” Interest areas can range from breaking news to sports to entertainment and more.

Twitter platform changes come at a time when more and more people are getting news from social media but also not trusting of what they see on platforms. Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey describes Twitter’s role, “as a curator of news and a place to discover ‘what’s happening now’ at a time when social-media companies have come under fire for fake news and harassment.” These new features empower users to stay up-to-date on what is happening now and having access to the pulse of what is happening now is Twitter’s true appeal.