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G/O Media

G/O, formerly Gizmodo Media Group, is launching a first party data platform called G/O Veritas to sell ads against the data it collects from its 11 websites, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: It's the first new product from G/O Media since being acquired by Great Hill Partners in 2019.

The big picture: The company has been able to recover from pandemic-driven advertising losses, executives say. It's hoping the new data platform will help drive more advertising revenue as the ad market recovers post-pandemic.

By the numbers: So far this year, the company says it has already surpassed 2020 revenues. Executives say it's expecting to be profitable on a full year basis "by tens of millions," which would be a big feat considering its past few years.

  • Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm, acquired Gizmodo Media Group in 2019, reportedly for less than $50 million. The company rebranded as G/O Media and appointed digital media veteran Jim Spanfeller as CEO.

Details: The platform is in its initial stages, and is currently being testing with private partners in beta. It plans to launch fully beginning in Q3. 

  • It leverages new and historical user data from G/O's 11 websites, some of which are around 15-years-old.
  • The data includes proprietary audience insights across everything from its editorial content to commerce and commenting platforms.
  • G/O Veritas is led by chief revenue officer David Spiegel, who joined G/O from L.A. Times last month, and was at Vox Media/New York Media before that. Spiegel worked with Vox Media's first-party data network, called Concert.
  • "G/O Veritas will ingest signals from user behavior across our portfolio to create a richer profile of an audience than context or email alone," Spiegel says.

Be smart: The hope is that the data collection will also help the company gather insights about the types of content its audience likes, bolstering its editorial ambitions, as well as other business lines, like e-commerce and events.

  • The company saw a string of departures in top editorial roles since being acquired by Great Hill in 2019.
  • It's since brought on several new editorial leads, including Jim Rich and Lea Goldman.
  • G/O Media’s most recent diversity report was released on September 8, 2020, which concluded that 64% of the company is white, 14% is Black or African American, 10% is Asian and 10% is Hispanic or Latino.

Be smart: Most web publishers are looking to leverage first-party data, or data obtained directly from their audience, as third-party data becomes obsolete.

What's next: The company says it hired 90 new people in 2020, and has already hired 40 more this year. (There are currently around 30+ active job openings on its site.) It plans to bring back its first two big live events, "The Root Institute" and "The Root 100," in Q3.

Go deeper

May 18, 2021 - Economy & Business

Big media to get a lot bigger

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The megamerger of Discovery and AT&T media assets is likely to trigger a chain reaction of other media giants forming ever bigger combinations.

Why it matters: There was a time when most Americans got their news and entertainment from three broadcast networks, a handful of Hollywood studios and their local paper. Today, Americans get content from hundreds of different sources, but they're increasingly being gobbled up by the same owners.

May 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

AT&T in talks with Discovery to combine media assets

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T is in talks with media giant Discovery about merging its media assets, like CNN, TBS and TNT, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: A potential merger could allow AT&T and Discovery to better compete with entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix in the video streaming wars.

Israeli-Palestinian fight spills over into social media

Credit: Data: Zignal Labs; Chart: Axios Visuals

As outrage about the conflict in Gaza and misinformation about clashes between Palestinians and Israelis snowball online, social media companies face yet another test of their capacity to manage their platforms.

Why it matters: Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians haven't been this high since the last round of combat in Gaza in 2014, and social media has become a much larger part of our everyday lives and media diets since then.