Sunnier Side of the Office

Meredith Corp. Buys Time Inc.

There’s no rest for the media business, even on a holiday weekend. The Meredith Corporation, which owns Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens, said Sunday night that it had agreed to purchase Time Inc. in an all-cash transaction valued at nearly $3 billion. The deal went through, in part, thanks to $650 million from billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The deal is yet another sign of challenging times for the media business, particularly traditional publishers  — whose print ad and circulation revenues have declined, and with online ad revenue not pulling its weight — as tech platforms take bigger shares of the ad pie. We are witnessing unprecedented disruption for these media companies, resulting in consolidation and layoffs as they continue to grapple with the harsh realities of the digital ad ecosystem.

This is the third time that Des Moines-based Meredith was in talks with Time Inc, which publishes Time, People and Sports Illustrated. From the New York Times: “A deal between Meredith and Time Inc. fell apart in 2013 after Meredith reportedly said that it did not want to acquire some of Time Inc.’s best-known titles, including Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Meredith also expressed interest in buying Time Inc. earlier this year before it walked away — in part because it could not secure sufficient financing. The Kochs helped the company overcome that problem.”

YouTube’s Ad Automation Under Microscope

Bloomberg on Friday wrote that a few advertisers pulled their advertising off YouTube after discovering some of their ads were being placed alongside videos that reportedly exploited children. Videos featuring and aimed at kids have come into the spotlight in recent weeks, though YouTube said it is addressing this issue and is taking questionable videos down, according to BuzzFeed.

While YouTube is correcting this and removing channels that provide such content, this situation isn’t completely new: YouTube faced similar scrutiny when advertisers were concerned about their ads running with political extremist videos. It’s yet another example of the challenges that brands can face when using automated ad placement on properties primarily filled with user-generated content.

From Bloomberg: “YouTube said in a statement that it’s working to improve safeguards to block this kind of content of children, including employing thousands of people who review content that’s flagged by users or an automated system.”

OTT: Delivering More Than Just a Video View

By Arthi Veeraragavan

According to eMarketer, in 2017, OTT is expected to see more than 193 million US users, up 3.2% from 2016. By 2021, it’s viewer penetration will approach 3/4 of all internet users.

So what is OTT? OTT stands for over-the-top, a marketing term used for the distribution of film and TV content via the internet – sans traditional cable or satellite service. Providers include Roku, Fire TV, Hulu, etc.

When it comes to OTT viewing behavior, more than 90% of Americans under 65 watch programming with other people. This is referred to as “co-viewing.”

The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently released a report showing how co-viewing can spark conversation and shape perceptions of a brand:

– 56% of respondents talk about the products/brands shown

– 45% of respondents say they would change someone else’s mind about products/brands shown

– 41% of respondents discuss the products/brands on social networks

– 36% of respondents say it’s possible to change their mind about a product/brand shown

All of these metrics are higher than for those that co-view linear TV.

Higher engagement and lower cost commitment compared to linear TV, as well as increasing audience sizes, make OTT a valuable investment for brands that want to be seen on the biggest screen in the house.

Download the full IAB study here.

Fast Food Twitter Beef Continues

By Melissa Santiago

This week, the twitter drama saga between fast food chains continues. Wendy’s is no stranger to attention on Twitter with several big moments earlier this year. Burger King in October a jab at Wendy’s this year by promoting negative Tweets about Wendy’s.

This time around, McDonald’s sent out what at first glance seems to be a posting mistake, and Wendy’s took the opportunity to roast them for their simple mistake. Of course, Twitter noticed, but the question was whether the tweet wasn’t a mistake and was part of the McDonald’s plan all along.

As a social media professional, I’m guessing McDonald’s posted their “mistake” on purpose in order to set up a follow-up Tweet about how integral coffee is to function at work or in life. Less likely, but also possible, is McDonald’s hoping a competitor would call it out and drive attention to McDonald’s posts and boosting their earned media coverage. Clever plan — until it backfires. Looks like Wendy’s wins this round as the headlines are all about  Wendy’s. Better luck next time, McDonald’s.