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TikTok is launching an ad product for publishers
Here’s the latest in digital media:
TikTok is launching an ad product for publishers. The offering, Pulse Premiere, will allow ($) select publishers like Condé Nast and BuzzFeed to earn a 50% cut on ads shown directly after their TikTok posts. The product builds on the company’s Pulse program, which provides a 50% revenue split to top TikTok creators.
TheSkimm cut 22 more jobs. The layoffs, which represent about 13% of the roughly 150-person company, are the second round of cuts this year. In January the company let go 17 people, or about 10% of its staff at the time.
US digital video ad spending grew 22% YoY in 2022. According to a new IAB report, this market grew twice as fast as the overall US digital advertising sector. Looking ahead, digital video advertising in the US is projected to grow by 17% this year to $55.2 billion.
The 2023 World Press Freedom Index paints a bleak picture. This year’s Index reports that the press freedom environment is “bad” in roughly 70% of the 180 countries surveyed (the US ranked 45th with a “satisfactory” rating). The report cites AI-generated fake content and propaganda as two of the largest threats.
The Acquired podcast released historical download numbers. The show’s cofounder and cohost Ben Gilbert tweeted out a chart showing downloads for every non-interview episode dating back to 2015. What began as a side project with a tiny audience now commands around 200,000 downloads per episode (the show is currently #9 on the Apple Podcast’s Technology charts).
Let’s talk about the Acquired podcast.
A coworker turned me onto the show several years ago, and I’ve been a fan since.
Each episode focuses on a single company, weaving together history and analysis in an hours-long conversation between the show’s two investor cohosts. In their own words: “Acquired tells the stories of great companies.”
As a digital media business, Acquired contrasts with many of the companies we’ve discussed here lately. While BuzzFeed, Vice, and their peers chased scale on social platforms, Acquired has slowly built a loyal audience that’s more insulated from the whims of an algorithm.
Of course, Acquired is playing a different game. The podcast started as a side project between two friends and never injected significant capital into growth. And so, the show has grown listenership and revenue at its own pace.
As cofounder Ben Gilbert tweeted: “The audience has basically 2x’d every year since we started. This seems to be Acquired's ‘natural’ growth rate since our only real growth lever is ‘make the best content possible, consistently.’”
This focus on content shows. Their episodes are uniformly excellent, unique and well-crafted. After listening, I often find myself compelled to share it with friends or coworkers (the New York Times episode from two years back is particularly relevant for Business Side readers).
If you have the luxury of a long time horizon, modest yet consistent growth can build a strong brand and lasting audience connection. But even with shorter-term pressures, publishers can take inspiration from Acquired’s focus on the fundamentals.
Either way, it’s a good reminder: Quick, scaled growth is exciting but, for most, overnight success takes a long time.
And here’s more news from around the industry:
Dow Jones is planning to launch WSJ Radio, a 24-hour streaming radio channel, on the platform TuneIn.
The BBC plans to streamline ($) its US websites and apps this fall.
Nicole Avery Nicols was named the top editor at The Detroit Free Press.
Two journalists launched The Stopgap, a decidedly old-school internet blog.
Gmail is adding blue checkmarks to verified email accounts.
Google announced eight new top level domains, including “.dad”, “.phd”, and “.prof”.
A California bill requiring Google and Meta to pay for news advanced in the state assembly.
Elon Musk threatened to transfer the @NPR Twitter handle to “another company.”
Kamala Harris is hosting the CEOs of Google and Microsoft at the White House to discuss AI safety.
Microsoft’s Chief Economist warned ($) that AI “will cause real damage” (such as election interference) and “clearly” sees a need for regulation.
The Writers Guild of America wants to restrict ($) the use of generative AI in script writing as a condition of their ongoing strike.
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