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Situational awareness: After years of ridicule, Tronc may finally change its name back to Tribune Publishing, according to The Chicago Tribune. The newspaper publishing company has faced a year of high-profile turmoil, including disappointing revenues, union fights, layoffs and sexual harassment allegations.
On Monday, the company completed the sale of some of its largest assets, The Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune, for $500 million to to biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Several major acquisitions have helped Google and Facebook on their way to unprecedented dominance over the advertising supply chain, antitrust analysts argued at the Open Markets Institute forum in Washington last week.
Why it matters: Many blame these two companies for absorbing the majority of ad revenue that would've gone to traditional media.
The big picture: A new global advertising forecast from Magna, an Interpublic agency, forecasts that Google and Facebook's ad revenue will grow 31% this year. Every other traditional ad medium is seeing growth declines or plateaus.
There are six acquisitions that experts cited as missed opportunities by regulators at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to curb the advertising market dominance of Google and Facebook.
Be smart: Efforts to be more transparent in light of recent privacy news are shining a light on how dominant both platforms are over entities dependent on their networks, especially news publishers. Google's GDPR policy and Facebook's political archiving policy are examples of this.
Go deeper: Read more in the Axios stream
U.S. digital ad sales will be the only type of ad medium to grow significantly this year, and much of that growth can be attributed to the rise in social, video and search advertising bought on Google and Facebook-owned properties, according to the latest global ad forecast by Magna, an agency within Interpublic.
The big picture:
The figures in the chart above exclude major cyclical events taking place in 2018, like The World Cup and midterm elections. If included, TV ad spend increases significantly.
For kicks: When it comes to political ad spend, Vincent Létang, EVP, Global Market Intelligence at MAGNA and author of the report, tells Axios you shouldn't expect to see such high spend numbers outside of the US.
"It's unique to the U.S. In other parts of the world, political advertising is regulated in some cases (Europe) or completely banned. Since the Citizens United decision in 2010 made political advertising in the U.S. basically unregulated, it's a real bonanza for local television every other year. During election year, political ads can be up to 10-15% of local stations' ad revenue."
Screen shot from Vox's YouTube channel
Racked, the retail website that was acquired by Vox Media in 2013, is going to be converted from a standalone website into a vertical that will live within Vox (the website), Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The move suggests that Vox Media feels that some of its eight standalone brands may be easier to market and sell as verticals under its flagship news site, Vox.
Sources say Vox Media has struggled to find a considerable voice or growth model for Racked — which were a part of Vox Media's acquisition of Curbed Network in 2013.
Go deeper: Read the full story on the Axios stream.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Comcast and Disney are about to engage in a bidding war for the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, and analysts tell Axios that Comcast is likely to win because it's more desperate for what Fox is trying to offload.
For Comcast, this is all about large-scale international diversification, which relatively difficult to find elsewhere. Media analyst Rich Greenfield, a managing director at BTIG, explains:
"They've done well being vertically integrated in the U.S. but they realize that business is slowing. You want to add a little to your business in the U.S. but what you really want is to replicate that success globally. No other assets let you go global like Fox's stake in Sky Broadcasting, Star in India and Fox's Latin America assets. It's very hard to see another obvious fallback plan if you're Comcast.... you can see why [it] feels it must ultimately win."
Disney, on the other hand, views Fox's Sky, Star and Hulu assets as critical to its direct-to-consumer subscription video ambitions as it attempts to catch Netflix. However, it may have other less costly options like Spotify and/or Twitter (whose current combined market cap is almost exactly what Comcast is offering for Fox).
Go deeper: Why Comcast needs Fox more than Disney.
Technical experts and their peers are considered the most credible for information on social media, according to the latest 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer survey. By comparison, celebrities, corporate executives and journalists are considered far less credible.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Now that AT&T has successfully completed the transaction of Time Warner, it's moving quickly to get its ad business up and running.
Why it matters: AT&T hopes it will bring them a new revenue stream that can help subsidize Pay-TV losses as more people cut the cord. Marketers hope it will give them a new way to more seamlessly target consumers across many screens and devices.
Here's what it will look like. The new AT&T will be separated into four businesses: 1) Media; 2) Advertising and Analytics; 3) Communications (broadband/wireless); and 4) International. Their media business has been renamed "WarnerMedia."
One challenge AT&T may face in competing with the likes of Google and Facebook is scale. Addressable (targeted) advertising only works when you have a large numbers of people to create niche targeting categories.
What's next? To solve the scale problem, sources say AT&T's ad network could eventually bring on other media and technology partners to combine their inventory. With the acquisition of Turner, they are inheriting a property that is already a part of a joined TV-targeting effort called Open AP.
Want more? I discuss more about the merger on Adlandia's bi-weekly marketing podcast hosted by Laura Correnti and Alexa Christon. Subscribe.
Photo: Mike Allen/Axios
Excitement over the biggest annual global media and marketing conference seems to be waning as media, marketing and agency execs decide to sit this year's festivities out.
Why it matters: The lack of enthusiasm is a reflection of backlash towards the over-the-top, lavish nature of Cannes Lions, which many executives feel is too expensive and impacting creativity.
The trend has been happening for a while, with embattled ad chief and former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell saying last year that he thought the festival was becoming too expensive. "People feel they are being ripped off." (Sorrell is expected to take the stage with "Frenemies" author Ken Auletta at the end of the week.)
What's next? Other high-profile events, like VidCon, are starting to gain popularity in the media/marketing world.