Handicapping Hollywood’s new power players

Hi and welcome to the Insider Advertising newsletter. I’m Lucia Moses, and this week in advertising and media news:

First, if you got this newsletter forwarded, sign up for your own here.


David Zaslav Sun Valley
David Zaslav, chief executive officer of Discovery Communications.

Hollywood’s new power players

The planned Discovery-WarnerMedia merger now has a name (“Warner Bros. Discovery”), even if it’s not set to close for another year.

Still, talk is rampant about who will help David Zaslav run the entertainment behemoth.

Much has been made of Zaslav’s history as a cost-cutter and who’ll be at risk from plans to find $3 billion in synergies.

But Hollywood insiders told Claire Atkinson and Ashley Rodriguez they expect the proposed company to prioritize restoring Warner Bros.’ past glory and nurturing its relationships within the industry, after the once-creator friendly studio damaged some of its relationships under AT&T’s reign, particularly when WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar shook up the theatrical release schedule.

See what insiders think about who could be in the hot seat – and who Zaslav could eye to replace them.

Read the rest here: Insiders are speculating about the future of these 9 key execs at Discovery-WarnerMedia


openX
A view of the OpenX coffee bar at Advertising Week 2015 in New York City.

Adtech’s next deal?

Lara O’Reilly got a scoop that OpenX, which helps publishers and developers sell online ads, is looking for a buyer.

The pandemic downturn wasn’t kind to advertising-reliant companies. OpenX laid off, furloughed, or cut hours for 15% of its staff in April 2020.

But adtech stocks have soared as those companies have benefitted from the rise of streaming TV and online shopping, attracting private equity investment in particular.

Some are asking how long the good times will last. Google and Facebook still dominate the digital ad market; adtech is largely commoditized; and a new privacy era could challenge many adtech companies’ core business of helping target ads at people.

Read the rest: Adtech company OpenX is exploring a possible sale, sources say


flight attendant mask covid
Flight attendants they have gotten sick less due to pandemic-era cleaning protocols.

How agencies are approaching travel

After a crushing 2020, ad agencies are hiring again as clients start spending.

It’s a welcome sign for an industry that shed nearly 50,000 jobs last year as clients slashed spending.

But after working remotely for a year, some have mixed feelings about going back to the way things were, especially when it comes to in-person client meetings, Lindsay Rittenhouse reports.

Advertising is a relationship-based business where weekly flights used to be the norm, but many have gotten used to more flexible schedules.

It’ll be interesting to see to what extent the industry accepts that a lot of the work that used to be done in person can be done remotely – or if the pressure to show up will prevail.

Read the rest: Marketers are seeking facetime with their agencies again, but some ad execs don’t want to return to crazy pre-pandemic travel schedules


Other stories we’re reading:

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider

OpenX is exploring a sale

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for June 1. I’m deputy editor Lucia Moses, filling in for Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at lmoses@insider.com or on Twitter at @lmoses.


openX
A view of the OpenX coffee bar at Advertising Week 2015 in New York City.

Adtech company OpenX is exploring a possible sale, sources say

Read the story.


David Zaslav Discovery
President and CEO, Discovery David Zaslav.

Insiders are speculating about the future of all these key execs at Discovery-WarnerMedia

Read the story.


Liquid Death Sparkling

Here are the 12 fastest-growing food DTC brands, according to SimilarWeb traffic data for January to April

  • Many direct-to-consumer food brands got a boost from the pandemic as consumers ate more at home.
  • SimilarWeb tracked the 12 fastest-growing DTC food brands from January through April, according to monthly traffic growth.
  • They include companies like Lettuce Grow that sells at-home planters and alcohol-free craft beer brewer Athletic Brewing.

Read the story.


Other stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow. You can reach me in the meantime at lmoses@insider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

MGM deal throws other Hollywood giants in the spotlight

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for May 28. I’m deputy editor Lucia Moses, filling in for Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at lmoses@insider.com or on Twitter at @lmoses.


hunger games 2012

5 Hollywood giants that Big Tech could snap up next in the wake of Amazon’s MGM deal

Read the story.


Sarah Lyons HBO Max WarnerMedia
Sarah Lyons.

A top HBO Max product exec on launching ads, expanding internationally, and keeping focused as the Discovery merger looms

  • 2021 is set to be a big year for HBO Max, which is planning an ad-supported tier and international rollout.
  • Ashley Rodriguez talked to HBO Max product exec Sarah Lyons after WarnerMedia and Discovery’s merger news.
  • She talked about building HBO Max’s new ad-supported and international experiences.

Read the story.


Travel by plane

Marketers are seeking facetime with their agencies again, but some ad execs are resistant to going back to crazy pre-pandemic travel schedules

  • Ad execs are starting to travel again as clients seek facetime with their agencies, they tell Lindsay Rittenhouse.
  • Some agencies are prepared to push back if asked to resume hectic pre-pandemic travel schedules.
  • But habits are hard to break, and agencies that don’t show up in person may be at risk of losing the business.

Read the story.


More stories we’re reading:

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend see you Tuesday! You can reach me in the meantime at lmoses@insider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

WarnerMedia execs mourn the Disney deal that never happened

Hi and welcome to the Insider Advertising newsletter, where I go over the big news in advertising and media news, including:

First, if you got this newsletter forwarded, sign up for your own here.


Jeff Bewkes

WarnerMedia dreams of Disney

While the media world awaits an announcement of an Amazon-MGM deal, some WarnerMedia are pondering their history under AT&T ownership and wonder about the mega deals that might have been.

With the news last week that WarnerMedia would merge with Discovery to create a new media giant, the story surfaced that Disney approached Time Warner about a deal in 2016.

From Claire Atkinson’s story:

Executives learned this week through The New York Times that Disney approached their company back in 2016 before AT&T made a deal and are wondering about what could have been if then-Time Warner chief executive Jeff Bewkes made a different call. WarnerMedia is poised to change hands again, after AT&T announced a deal to spin off WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery.

When WarnerMedia executives sold to AT&T in 2018, their company stock converted to AT&T shares. Those shares are worth less today ($29.52) than they were on the day the deal was consummated ($32.60), while Disney shares recently have doubled in value on its growth in streaming subscribers.

“It was a disaster,” one person familiar with the history said. “It is a horribly performing stock. It is a deep disappointment the way it worked out.”

Read the rest: WarnerMedia executives are heartbroken as they imagine the Disney deal that could have been

Also read:


tim cook peace sign
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Agencies dump on Apple’s new ads

As Apple put the squeeze on ad tracking, it rolled out its own new ad format, Suggested Apps, to help developers get their apps discovered.

But advertisers told Lara O’Reilly that the ads were expensive and hadn’t delivered meaningful results.

Thomas Petit, a growth-marketing consultant, said in testing of Apple’s search-tab campaigns, the cost per installations was up to triple-digit percentages higher than Apple’s preexisting search-ads product.

It’s still early days, but if the new format was meant to be a panacea for advertisers who are now having a harder time zapping ads to people on Apple devices, it hasn’t worked out that way just yet.

Read the rest here: Apple just rolled out a new ad format, but advertisers say it’s too expensive and underperforms


instagram covid 19 vaccine misinformation 4x3

Advertisers battle misinformation

Efforts to help advertisers avoid misinformation are gathering steam.

Publicis is the latest big ad holding company to use NewsGuard’s tool to keep ads off shady websites, after IPG and Omnicom.

NewsGuard shared a case study with Tanya Dua showing that for one advertiser, using its tool lowered the cost of its ads while making them more efficient – suggesting that staying off shady sites isn’t just good for brands’ image, it could also be good for business.

But the automated nature of programmatic advertising means advertisers can still wind up on shady sites. And some brands also pull ads in response to breaking news or avoid entire categories of sites, which can harm legit news publishers.

Read the rest: IPG Mediabrands is using a new tool to help advertisers avoid misinformation and says it’s already increasing click-through rates 143%


Other stories we’re reading:

That’s it for today – thanks for reading, and see you next week!

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet the PR firms challenging the giants

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for May 24. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at LJohnson@insider.com or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.


Barbara Bates, global CEO of Hotwire
Barbara Bates, global CEO of Hotwire

9 public relations companies are challenging the status quo and taking on giants like Edelman and BCW

Read the story.


David Zaslav
President and CEO, Discovery David Zaslav speaks onstage during the Discovery, Inc.’s Summer 2019 TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 25, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

David Zaslav is about to shake up Hollywood as the new Discovery-WarnerMedia chief. Insiders describe an aggressive deal-maker and demanding boss.

Read the story.


Key CEO Evan Wayne
Key CEO Evan Wayne

A startup that wants to help creators harness fans’ contact info has raised $3 million in seed funding

Read the story.


Other stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at LJohnson@insider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Where WarnerMedia-Discovery will find $3 billion in cuts

Hi and welcome to the Insider Advertising newsletter, where we break down the big news in advertising and media news, including:

WarnerMedia-Discovery cuts

TV ad prices spike

Anheuser-Busch’s data play

First, if you got this newsletter forwarded, sign up for your own here.


david zaslav sun valley
David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Inc., at the Sun Valley conference in 2016.

WarnerMedia and Discovery deal synergies

Now that WarnerMedia and Discovery have announced their planned merger, many employees no doubt are jittery about the prospects of job cuts.

The companies said they’d be seeking $3 billion in savings, and as much as 75% of the pledged cost savings can come from cutting staff and overhead in big mergers like this, sources told Insider.

Key points:

  • Some cost savings could also come through sharing resources, such as deduplicating subscription costs for sales software and professional services fees.
  • One media analyst pointed out that Warner already went through robust cost-cutting and that advertising sales could be somewhat spared because of the importance of client relationships.
  • The content side is expected to be relatively secure, since there’s little overlap between the two companies’ assets and content is how they’re pitching the merger as a way to compete with Netflix and Disney.

Read more:

WarnerMedia-Discovery merger is expected to create $3 billion in savings – here are some of the jobs at risk

Now that Jeff Zucker’s golfing buddy is set to run Discovery-WarnerMedia, insiders say his retirement plans could be put on hold

Amazon had tapped WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar to run its burgeoning media empire, but he turned it down

Inside the massive WarnerMedia-Discovery media marriage: The bankers and lawyers who played key roles, and how it came together


Extra Gum commercial

TV ad prices spike

Brands like Bud Light and Mars Wrigley are out with new campaigns, hoping to capitalize on the return to normalcy, Lauren Johnson reports.

But the increased demand for TV inventory, coupled with a decline in ratings as people cut the cord, has led to a spike in prices – as much as 30%.

However, advertisers are wary of paying too much, and there are other ad outlets like audio and streaming services are calling.

Read more: TV ad prices are soaring as brands like Mars embrace the return to normalcy


FILE PHOTO: Anheuser Busch's Budweiser and Bud Light Beer on display at a Wal-Mart store in Chicago, January 24, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress
Anheuser Busch’s Budweiser and Bud Light Beer on display at a Wal-Mart store in Chicago.


Anheuser-Busch taps into data

The privacy era is leading advertisers to change how they target and measure their ads and get their data house in order.

One is beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has prepared for the shift by beefing up its first-party data, adding information about more than 2.5 billion consumers over the past two years.

The company told Tanya Dua having this data has helped it improve its ad targeting, leading to spikes of up to 80% in some cases. It’s also helping with things like new product research.

Maybe most important, it’s reduced its dependency on the walled gardens like Facebook and Google.

Read more: Anheuser-Busch InBev is doubling down on consumer data to get around new ad targeting limits, and it’s already seeing sales spike as much as 80% in tests


Other stories we’re reading:

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading, and see you back here in a week!

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider

HBO Max, Chip and Joanna Gaines, and ‘Shark Week’ are just some of the 100-plus brands included in AT&T and Discovery’s massive streaming deal

zack snyder's justice league
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” aired on HBO Max this year.

AT&T announced plans on Monday to merge its WarnerMedia content arm with media company Discovery.

When complete, more than 100 brands – including HBO Max, Warner Bros., and Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Network – will exist in one unit as one of the largest content libraries in the world, one that would give AT&T a strong edge in the streaming wars against the reigning Netflix.

Here are the brands that have been publicly announced as part of the merger:

  • HBO
  • Warner Bros.
  • Discovery
  • DC Comics
  • CNN
  • Carton Network
  • HGTV
  • Food Network
  • The Turner Networks
  • TNT
  • TBC
  • Eurosport
  • Magnolia Network
  • TLC
  • Animal Planet
  • ID

A WarnerMedia spokesperson said the company is working to compile a full list.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav said Monday that WarnerMedia and Discovery had spent heavily, to the tune of $20 billion annually, on content. That’s larger than the $17 billion that Netflix plans to spend on content in 2021.

Zaslav said the proposed company would announce a new name soon, and news surfaced on Tuesday that Zaslav has signed a new contract to act as head of the company through 2027, sources told Axios. The merger is expected to close in mid-2022.

Read more: The 19 most powerful WarnerMedia execs running its studios and networks

Discovery’s streaming unit launched in January with prices starting at $4.99. The Discovery Plus subscription includes shows from well-known brands like Food Network, HGTV, TLC, BBC, and Discovery Channel, which airs the popular “Shark Week” program each year. It also features a reboot of “Fixer Upper” from the beloved home renovation duo Chip and Joanna Gaines, as well as more content from the couple’s Magnolia Network.

HBO Max launched in 2020, when the pandemic had driven people into their homes and quickly grew its subscriber base. That growth was buoyed by the company’s decision to release “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously on the streaming platform and in theatres.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery has at least $3 billion in ‘cost synergies,’ a phrase that often means layoffs

John Stankey, WarnerMedia
AT&T CEO John Stankey.

  • The merger of AT&T’s WarnerMedia with media company Discovery includes at least $3 billion of annual “cost synergies.”
  • AT&T didn’t detail these cost cuts when it announced the merger on Monday.
  • Cost “synergies” often mean layoffs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US telecom giant AT&T on Monday announced it would merge its content unit WarnerMedia with media company Discovery, creating a new streaming giant that could go head-to-head with Netflix and Disney.

In the press release, AT&T highlighted that the deal had “at least $3 billion in expected cost synergies annually.” These “synergies,” or cost reductions, would allow the newly formed company to invest in its content and scale its business, AT&T said.

Cost “synergies” are a common feature of big deals, especially when companies have overlapping operations, as is the case with WarnerMedia and Discovery. They can take many forms, including layoffs, the consolidation of suppliers, or the sharing of office space.

WarnerMedia – which includes HBO, TNT, CNN, and Warner Bros. – and Discovery both have entertainment and news assets. Both have streaming platforms: HBO Max for WarnerMedia, and Discovery Plus for Discovery.

AT&T did not detail the cost savings when it announced the deal Monday. Insider has reached out to AT&T and Discovery for comment.

AT&T shareholders would receive stock equating to 71% of the new company, while Discovery shareholders would own 29%, the companies said in the press release.

Read the original article on Business Insider

AT&T is combining WarnerMedia with Discovery to create a new streaming giant

WarnerMedia Stankey
AT&T CEO John Stankey

  • AT&T said Monday it would merge its WarnerMedia content unit with Discovery.
  • The deal paves the way for a new streaming giant that could compete with Netflix and Disney.
  • AT&T would receive $43 billion in cash, debt securities, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt under the proposed deal, according to an SEC filing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

AT&T on Monday announced plans to merge its WarnerMedia content unit, which includes HBO, TNT, CNN, and Warner Bros., with Discovery.

The deal paves the way for a new streaming giant that could compete with Netflix and Disney.

AT&T intends to split off the assets it acquired when it bought Time Warner for $85 billion in 2018.

AT&T would receive $43 billion in cash, debt securities, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt under the proposed deal, according to an SEC filing. AT&T shareholders are set to receive stock equating to 71% of the new company, with Discovery shareholders owning the remainder.

The transaction, which has already been approved by both the AT&T and Discovery boards, is anticipated to close in mid-2022.

In its SEC filing, AT&T said that it expects the new company to have a 2023 revenue of around $52 billion.

AT&T said that the deal would create at least $3 billion in expected “cost synergies” annually for the new company, which could mean job cuts.

Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav is set to lead the proposed new company. Its board of directors will have 13 members: seven appointed by A&T, and six appointed by Discovery.

The company said it would combine WarnerMedia’s entertainment, sports, and news assets with Discovery’s entertainment and sports businesses to create “a premier, standalone global entertainment company.”

AT&T said that the new company would be able to invest in more original content for its streaming services, create new opportunities for under-represented storytellers and independent creators, and create more family-friendly nonfiction content.

AT&T had been planning to expand HBO Max internationally, and the Discovery combination could be a big boost to those plans. Discovery owns European rights to Olympic Games and owns Eurosport.

AT&T, which has been led by John Stankey since July 2020, has seen steady growth of HBO Max since it launched last year. It gained almost 3 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, bringing total subscribers to 9.7 million. The platform is set to expand its reach from just the US, launching in Latin America next month. In total, HBO Max and HBO combined have about 64 million subscribers globally, compared to Netflix’s 208 million.

Discovery Plus launched in the increasingly crowded streaming market in January. The streaming platform is home to 55,000 episodes of shows from brands like HGTV, Food Network, TLC, A&E, History Channel, and the Discovery Channel, which airs the popular Shark Week series each year. Discovery Plus also features content from the BBC.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

AT&T is reportedly spinning off its media assets to Discovery

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for May 17. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at LJohnson@insider.com or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.


wonder woman 1984
“Wonder Woman 1984” debuts on HBO Max and in theaters on December 25.

AT&T is in deal talks to create a new streaming giant with Discovery

Read the story.


meeting

Inside the lucrative and murky world of advertising search consultants

Read the story.


nike ceo john donahoe
Nike CEO John Donahoe

Nike workers confess excitement and dread as the company plans to require thousands to return to the office

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Other stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at LJohnson@insider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

Read the original article on Business Insider