Thanks for subscribing to Media Trends. Tell friends to follow along by signing up here.
Today's newsletter is 1691 words, a ~6 minute read.
Situational awareness: Disney has extended its summer winning streak with a healthy opening for "Toy Story 4." Disney Studios has earned nearly 40% of all box office revenue this year.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The world’s biggest tech companies have found a new way for marketers to buy video ads that won’t show up next to shady user-generated content.
Why it matters: For a while, advertisers shifted digital budgets away from more expensive ads on premium publisher websites and TV, to cheaper ads at scale on tech platforms, because it was efficient.
What it looks like: Tech platforms are charging advertisers more to run ads within pools of vetted videos. Advertisers, in turn, can be assured that their ads don't run against things like terrorist content or hate speech.
Be smart: The big complaint about buying ads this way is that they mimic the buying strategy of television. Advertisers can choose a show, channel or content type to run their ads around, but they can't always target ads by user.
The bottom line: Platforms can fund all the original content that they want, but it will be very hard to scale these types of opportunities without licensing content from publishers.
Photo: Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch
BuzzFeed Chairman Ken Lerer is stepping down after overseeing the viral internet publisher for over 10 years, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Why it matters: Under Lerer and CEO Jonah Peretti's leadership, BuzzFeed has grown to become one of the largest digital-native publications in the world.
Details: Lerer informed the BuzzFeed board that he would officially step down last Thursday.
Between the lines: Lerer departs as BuzzFeed is undergoing major changes to sustain its growth, including layoffs, and new product launches.
What's next: BuzzFeed is the second board that Lerer has exited in order to focus on his venture fund, Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Lerer exited Viacom's board early last year.
Note: Lerer Hippeau is an investor in Axios.
Linkedin will today announce algorithm changes made over the past 12-18 months to favor conversations in its Feed that cater to niche professional interests, as opposed to elevating viral content, its executives tell Axios.
Driving the news: Users may have noticed their notifications or engagements on LinkedIn have increased lately.
The big picture: News feeds that were fundamentally built to connect one voice to many people are struggling to deliver on value as communication trends move to more personal and ephemeral conversations.
Be smart: If this sounds familiar, it's because LinkedIn is the latest social network to change its feed algorithm to get people to engage more, instead of just passively scroll through the app and website.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Top news executives tell Axios that a real Trump slump is hitting digital, cable and more.
Why it matters: The shock factor around Trump's unplanned announcements, staff departures, taunting tweets and erratic behavior is wearing off, and media companies are scrambling to find their next big money-maker.
Be smart: 2020 Democrats don't have a knock-out media star to drive interest in the election. To date, the Democrats' biggest media attraction has been Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who isn't running for president.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Crooked Media, a progressive political media company known for its "Pod Save America" podcast series, is launching a polling partnership with progressive polling firm Change Research, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The partnership marks an expansion into content that’s not totally opinion-based.
Details: The two companies have struck a deal to produce 12 polls between now and the end of the 2020 cycle.
Be smart: "Everyone should be more cautious in 2020 about what the polls can tell us and what they can't," Axios managing editor David Nather writes in a handy 2020 election poll guide.
Over the past year, a record number of news magazines have shuttered or reduced circulation, with others going for fire-sale prices.
Driving the news: Texas Monthly, the acclaimed news magazine, is exploring a sale, the Financial Times reports.
Why it matters: Print isn’t dead, but it’s leaning into its aspirational roots by becoming a luxury good.
Of all the hardware options consumers can use to access over-the-top television, Smart TVs are experiencing the highest level of growth, according to Comscore's latest State of OTT presentation.
Why it matters: Smart TVs face the same data privacy vulnerabilities as other internet-connected devices.
1 fun thing: Comscore attributes a vast amount of smart TV growth to Roku, as more TV hardware providers are using Roku's new operating system (OS) to power their smart TVs. Last year, Roku's operating system was featured in 15% of smart TVs. That number has increased to 25% this year, according to Comscore.
Years ago, "choose your own adventure books" were all the rage for young millennials. Today, Gen Z has taken the concept of "choosing your own adventure," or interactive storytelling, to a whole new level.
Driving the news: A Twitter thread featuring a chose your own adventure tale about Beyonce has gone viral.
The big picture: The "choose your own adventure" concept has penetrated everything from books, to movies to TV shows.
Yes, but: Interactive storytelling requires a dramatic increase in production budgets, making it unlikely the trend continues to expand in a major way in the entertainment sector at this point.