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Fox tops Wall Street estimates as NFL, politics boost ad sales

Wednesday February 6, 2019

21st Century Fox Inc. reported profit that beat analysts' estimates, benefiting from political ads and the sports programming that will underpin Rupert Murdoch's media company after the sale of its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co.

Second-quarter profit excluding some items totaled 37 cents a share in the period ended Dec. 31, beating the 32-cent average estimate. Sales rose 5.7 percent, meeting Wall Street projections.

The Fox TV unit suffered a loss due to costs for "Thursday Night Football." But the NFL delivered double-digit ad growth, and Fox was also buoyed by political spots in the U.S. The Fox network and local stations will be a big part of the company after Disney buys most of its entertainment assets. Sports will also play a major role, with the Murdoch's media company investing $3 billion in football, baseball and other athletic programming.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Advertising uber-analyst Brian Wieser takes role at GroupM

Wednesday February 6, 2019

Brian Wieser, the prolific senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group whose research reports have been considered required reading across the industry, is headed to GroupM.

He's taking a role on WPP's media agency network's senior leadership team as its global president of business intelligence starting this week, where he'll be reporting to GroupM global CEO Kelly Clark. He'll be tasked with analyzing and distributing marketplace intelligence to give GroupM clients insight into markets, audiences, partners, platforms and supply and demand dynamics, the group said in a statement.

"You can actually contribute to a company evolving," Wieser says of his new job. "The whole sector has had to go through some significant changes in the last couple of years. The consequences of those changes will play out over very many years."

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Spotify bets big on podcasts, snags Gimlet Media, Anchor FM

Wednesday February 6, 2019

Spotify acquired podcasting companies Gimlet Media and Anchor FM, a declaration that their specialty is the next big area of growth for the world's largest paid music service.

Spotify didn't disclose the prices it paid for the companies, though previous reports said it would be paying more than $200 million for Gimlet. That alone would be the biggest acquisition in Spotify's history.

The Swedish company has been investing in podcasting for a few years now, funding exclusive shows from comedian Amy Schumer and rapper Joe Budden. But the deals for Gimlet, a producer of podcasts, and Anchor, a services company, signal the medium has progressed from a hobby to a key focus for Spotify.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Fake followers are hard to shake, according to new report

Wednesday February 6, 2019

Unilever's effort to rid itself of influencers with fake followers hasn't made much difference, at least for its Dove brand, according to a new report. And despite the industry's concern about fakes, the report, from analytics firm Points North Group, says spending on influencers continues to snowball.

Unilever Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed said in June that the company would stop working with influencers who buy fake followers. But despite that, Points North estimates that 25 percent of the followers for Instagram influencers working with Dove last year were fake, ahead of the industry average of 14 percent. Dove's fake ratio fell only slightlyto 23 percent by the fourth quarter.

Weed declined to comment on the analysis, saying he hadn't had a chance yet to review it. But he says Unilever will take another look at Dove's influencers and their followers. He also says he believes both the company and broader marketplace are making progress, with social platforms including Twitter and Facebook eliminating a combined 1.6 billion fake accounts in recent months.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

City Spotlight: Chicago

Wednesday February 6, 2019

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Brand Playbook: The table stakes for sports betting

Wednesday February 6, 2019

New York is on the threshold of legalizing sports gambling, and while it likely will precipitate a rush for legislatures to do likewise throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, the first draft of the proposal seems to have put the kibosh on mobile and in-game wagering.

The New York State Gaming Commission's 33-page proposal to authorize sports betting was released on Jan. 28, and while many see nothing but an upside in mobile wagering, that's not on the table. The commission has instead presented the state with a rather conservative plan that would limit the development of sportsbooks to four upstate casinos.

But for the relatively booming metropolis of Schenectady, New York, the casinos are located in tiny, obscure towns. Among these are Nichols, New York, which rests in a hard bend of the Susquehanna River at the Pennsylvania border, and Waterloo, New York, a village of 5,000 in Seneca County. In other words, New York City gambling enthusiasts will be placing their (legal) wagers in New Jersey, at least for the time being.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Facebook to publishers: We are not here to save you

Wednesday February 6, 2019

When Facebook's Campbell Brown addressed an auditorium full of magazine executives Tuesday, she did not mince words: The social network is not here to save their businesses.

Facebook's head of global news partnerships was addressing an audience of print media professionals struggling to thrive in an era when Facebook and Google, and increasingly Amazon, have taken the lion's share of digital advertising dollars. Just last week, Facebook reported $16.6 billion in ad sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 even as the media industry -- much of which relies on the social network for traffic -- has suffered thousands of job cuts this month.

"Facebook cannot be the entire solution to your problems," Brown said. "By its very nature, Facebook is constantly changing and not dependable."

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts to leave in April

Wednesday February 6, 2019

Apple Inc. said Angela Ahrendts, the head of retail operations, is leaving the company in April after serving in the role since 2014.

The iPhone maker said Ahrendts is taking on new "personal and professional pursuits." Deirdre O'Brien, human resources chief, will also run the retail unit going forward. Ahrendts, 58, joined Apple after serving as the chief executive officer of fashion giant Burberry Group Plc for almost eight years.

At Apple, she overhauled the company's retail operations, redesigning stores into meeting places with more open floor plans and a focus on pushing customer service "geniuses" out from behind formal counters.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Disney beats first-quarter estimates as broadcast results soar

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Walt Disney Co. reported first-quarter sales and profit that beat analysts' recently lowered estimates as gains in the company's broadcast division countered slumping cable results.

Profit in the quarter came to $1.84 a share, Disney said Tuesday, beating the $1.54 a share analysts were predicting. Sales, little changed at $15.3 billion, also exceeded estimates.

ESPN+, its direct-to-consumer service, now has more than 2 million paid subscribers, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts. This is more than double where it was five months ago.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

AT&T snags NBA sponsor title away from Verizon

Tuesday February 5, 2019

AT&T became the next official wireless sponsor of the National Basketball League on Tuesday, a title it snagged from longtime rival Verizon.

At the same time, Verizon isn't completely going away, as it will continue sponsoring the NBA, only not as the official wireless provider.

The news is significant as it comes at a time when the mudslinging between carriers for 5G dominance has escalated.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Small shops seek more independence from holding companies

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Rarely does a week go by that an advertising holding company doesn't announce they're buying a stake in an independent agency. Now, the pendulum might be swinging the other way around.

In just the last few weeks, a number of shopsincluding Johannes Leonardo, O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul and Richard Attias & Associateshave made that move. WPP-backed shop Johannes Leonardo quietly reduced the world's largest holding company's stake in the agency from 49 percent to 25 percent at the end of last year, according to people familiar with the matter. Last week, WPP said it agreed to sell its 49 percent stake in global communication advisory firm Richard Attias & Associates. And similarly without fanfare, Chicago-based OKRP late last year regained its independence from Interpublic Group of Cos., which had held a minority stake in the shop.

At a time when holding companies are struggling to meet the financial demands of shareholders, indies seem to be having a moment. Wieden & Kennedy has been sweeping award shows and topped Ad Age's Agency A-List last year. Speculation has raged that 72andSunny and Anomaly, both owned by MDC Partners, which is in financial disarray and under fire from a dissident shareholder, might consider buying themselves back. (72andSunny didn't respond to a request for comment Tuesday, while Anomaly founding partner Jason DeLand said the agency is not considering that route: "We've never felt the need to be interventionalist, because we see MDC as a partner, not an ownerthat's just the way it's been. There's no truth whatsoever that we were considering buying ourselves back ... we have not entertained that. We don't see the need.")

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Small shops are starting to buy more of themselves back

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Rarely does a week go by that an advertising holding company doesn't announce they're buying a stake in an independent agency. Now, the pendulum might be swinging the other way around.

In just the last few weeks, a number of shops including Johannes Leonardo, O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul and Richard Attias & Associates have made that move. WPP-backed shop Johannes Leonardo quietly reduced the world's largest holding company's stake in the agency from 49 percent to 25 percent at the end of last year, according to people familiar with the matter. Last week, WPP said it agreed to sell its 49 percent stake in global communication advisory firm Richard Attias & Associates. And similarly without fanfare, Chicago-based OKRP late last year regained its independence from Interpublic Group of Cos., which had held a minority stake in the shop.

At a time when holding companies are struggling to meet the financial demands of shareholders, indies seem to be having a moment. Wieden & Kennedy has been sweeping award shows and topped Ad Age's Agency A-List last year. Speculation has raged that 72andSunny and Anomaly, both owned by MDC Partners, which is in financial disarray and under fire from a dissident shareholder, might consider buying themselves back. (72andSunny didn't respond to a request for comment Tuesday, while Anomaly founding partner Jason DeLand said the agency is not considering that route: "We've never felt the need to be interventionalist, because we see MDC as a partner, not an owner that's just the way it's been. There's no truth whatsoever that we were considering buying ourselves back ... we have not entertained that. We don't see the need.")

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Facebook lets people slide out of DMs with new delete option

Tuesday February 5, 2019

People can now erase direct messages on Facebook Messenger up to 10 minutes after they are sent as part of a new privacy push at the social network.

The new unsend feature, which was initially developed specifically for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. was released by the company on Tuesday.

Last year, TechCrunch discovered that Zuckerberg had the secret messaging power to unsend communications, and the company said that it would develop a similar feature for all users.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Watch the newest commercials on TV from Geico, Sling, Toyota and more

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Every weekday we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than eight million smart TVs. The ads here ran on national TV for the first time yesterday.

A few highlights: Toyota shows off some of the features of the new RAV4, including Alexa integration. Sling serves up a fresh 15-second TV cut of a campaign starring relationship expert Dr. Ruth that debuted onliine last August. And for some reason a man does some hibachi grilling (and is insanely good at it) in Geico's latest.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Miller Lite responds to Bud Light's corn syrup attack with full-page New York Times ad

Tuesday February 5, 2019

MillerCoors began its counter-attack against Bud Light on Tuesday with a full-page ad in the New York Times that defended Miller Lite's use of corn syrup.

The ad, addressed to the "beer drinkers of America," makes the distinction between corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, which MillerCoors does not use. "To be clear, 'corn syrup' is a normal part of the brewing process and does not even end up in your great tasting can of Miller Lite," the ad states.

Anheuser-Busch InBev used three Bud Light Super Bowl ads by Wieden & Kennedy New York to dramatize MillerCoors' use of corn syrup by showing big barrels of it delivered to mythical Coors Light and Miller Lite kingdoms as part of Bud Light's ongoing medieval-themed campaign. The ads drew a rebuke from the corn industry.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

For Generation Z the digital experience is the human experience

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Today your digital life is every bit as important as your analog life because everything starts online, from the way people connect and interact with one another to how they do business or entertain themselves. The digital experience not only informs our human experience, it is inseparable from it.

Gen Z is responsible for this generational shift in attitude. Those born after 1996 have been digital natives their whole lives and consequently have far higher and different expectations when it comes to the types of digital experiences they will engage with.

If you represent a brand or an agency and you haven't started thinking about Gen Z, your competition most certainly has. Members of this group of consumers already control at least $50 billion in spending power, they've started entering the workforce and by 2020 they will make up the largest bloc of consumers in the world.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Signet Jewelers polishes up its agency roster

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Signet Jewelers has lined up some new agencies to bring in the bling.

The retailer said Tuesday it has tapped WPP's MediaCom for media buying and planning for its Kay, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zales and Piercing Pagoda brands in the U.S. At the same time, Signet appointed Zimmerman as its creative and strategic agency for Kay; and tapped Badger & Winters as its agency-of-record for Zales. The marketer said the appointments are part of its "Path to Brilliance" transformation plan to make it more customer-first, omni-channel, agile and efficient.

Omnicom's OMD and Publicis Media's Digitas previously handled media for the 3,500-store chain.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Campbell trademarks the word 'chunky'

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Brands rarely get the OK to trademark a word that's descriptive rather than proprietary. But Campbell Soup Co. has pulled it off: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office office has approved the company's right to trademark the word "chunky," thanks to decades of pop-culture references cited in its application.

As a result, Campbell's Chunky packaging will start to include the next to the word.

In its submission, Campbell pointed out that it has spent more than $1 billion in advertising for soup products under the Chunky name since 1988, including its sponsorship of the NFL, which has been in place for more than 20 years. Sales of Campbell's Chunky exceeded $450 million annually from 2004 through 2017, it also noted. Other details included results from an online survey finding strong consumer association for the words "chunky" and "soup."

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Digital media layoffs shouldn't come as a surprise

Tuesday February 5, 2019

The current strain of schadenfreude coursing through the digital-publishing ecosystem regarding BuzzFeed is entirely understandable. Not particularly helpful, but entirely understandable.

In late January, the Wall Street Journal reported that BuzzFeed was cutting 15 percent of its global workforce, resulting in about 250 layoffsand plenty of anger directed at BuzzFeed's leadership (as well as lots of sympathy for the fired workers). It hasn't helped that, as various outlets have reported, the layoffs were staggered over several days, leaving many staffers in an agonizing state of uncertainty.

The truth, though, is that BuzzFeed has been operating in a vaguely agonizing state of flux for quite a while now.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Digital media layoffs shouldn't come as a surprise

Tuesday February 5, 2019

The current strain of schadenfreude coursing through the digital-publishing ecosystem regarding BuzzFeed is entirely understandable. Not particularly helpful, but entirely understandable.

In late January, the Wall Street Journal reported that BuzzFeed was cutting 15 percent of its global workforce, resulting in about 250 layoffsand plenty of anger directed at BuzzFeed's leadership (as well as lots of sympathy for the fired workers). It hasn't helped that, as various outlets have reported, the layoffs were staggered over several days, leaving many staffers in an agonizing state of uncertainty.

The truth, though, is that BuzzFeed has been operating in a vaguely agonizing state of flux for quite a while now.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

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