Axios Pro: Media Deals

November 23, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Good morning, Media Deals readers!

🦃 Situational awareness: We're off tomorrow and Friday for Thanksgiving. Be back in your inboxes on Monday!

1 big thing: Lightspeed's Mignano chats apps

Photo illustration of Michael Mignano next to a speech bubble pattern.

Photo Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed Venture Partners' Michael Mignano invested in Circle Labs, a startup building AI-powered virtual characters, earlier this month. The product offers a fun application of generative AI, a sector he's been closely tracking.

Why he matters: Mignano joined Lightspeed earlier this year to help lead consumer investments. Prior, he co-founded podcasting platform Anchor, which Spotify acquired in 2019, and then ran Spotify's podcast, live audio and video teams.

  • Mignano discussed the year's media trends with Kerry. The interview has been lightly edited for length.

What are three trends that you've found most fascinating this year?

1. Recommendation media: Social platforms did content distribution through friend graphs for the past 15 years or whatever, and now, led mainly by TikTok, we're seeing that all the major platforms are shifting to be algorithmic in terms of content distribution.

  • Machine learning-based algorithms have just [been] found to be way more efficient in terms of matching the right content with the right person at the right time. ... Plus, social graphs have created all sorts of abuse problems. ... It feels like social is no longer social for the major platforms.

2. Emergence of new social apps: Whereas the past 15 years, if you wanted to start a new social network, you never really stood a chance because you were going to go up against Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat.

  • Now that these platforms are moving away from social graphs, it feels like there's an opportunity for a challenger to emerge because, at the end of the day, people are still going to want to socialize and interact with each other on the internet. I think that's why we have seen a platform like BeReal break through. ... This other app called Unfiltered brings people together based on throwback photos.

3. Video taking over: What we saw as I was leaving [Spotify] and what Spotify is now leaning pretty heavily into is the notion of video podcasts. I think pretty much every creator in every type of format is realizing that video just opens up a window of new possibilities to whatever type of content you're creating.

  • Today if you publish just an audio podcast, you're effectively at a disadvantage to everyone who's now adding video to the podcast because you can't upload it to YouTube, where there's a ton of potential distribution. You can't easily cut it up into clips that you can now upload to TikTok or Instagram Reels.

What are you watching in 2023?

  • Applications of generative AI and reframing the creator economy as the creativity supply chain.

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