Media Insider: CNN Prepares for Layoffs, Vice Media Sued for Pay Discrimination, Major Advertiser Threatens to Pull Ads from Facebook and Google

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media news stories from the week.


Photo by Josh Hallett used under creative commons.

CNN, Despite Trump Bump, Prepares for Dozens of Layoffs

CNN is planning to cut dozens of digital jobs. Since President Jeff Zucker took over the network in 2013, CNN has made huge investments in its digital operations, which generated more than $300 million in revenue in 2016. However, CNN appears to be rethinking its digital strategy ahead of a potential merger of its parent company, Time Warner, with AT&T. The cuts will affect employees who work in premium businesses like CNN Money, as well as video, product, tech, and social publishing. Several high-profile digital initiatives, including virtual-reality productions and a daily webcast on Snapchat, are being scaled back. CNN’s business-oriented MoneyStream app is in the gutter, as well. And a team that works on the digital extensions of documentary-style shows, such as Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” is also being reorganized. In addition, video startup Beme, which CNN acquired for $25 million not long ago, is effectively shut down.

According to AT&T’s CEO, the proposed Time Warner deal is aimed at competing with Netflix and Amazon.

Unilever Tells Facebook and Google: Drain the ‘Swamp’ or Lose Advertising

Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, has threatened to pull ads from Facebook and Google if the tech giants fail to efficiently police extremist and illegal content. In a speech delivered at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting, Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at Unilever, said, “We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing.” Unilever, which owns brands Dove, Lipton, and Ben & Jerry’s, has an annual marketing budget of roughly $9.8 billion, and 25 percent of its ads are digital.

In response, Facebook has promised to fight content that ‘promotes anger and hate’

Vice Media Sued by Former Employee Alleging Systemic Pay Discrimination Against Women

An ex-staffer is suing Vice Media, alleging the company discriminates against female employees — systemically and intentionally paying them less than their male counterparts. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action certification, was filed by Elizabeth Rose, who worked as a channel manager and project manager from 2014-2016 and had access to salary information. According to Rose, females “made far less than male employees for the same or substantially similar work.” Depending on the circumstances, women who were employed by the company within the last six years could be a member of one of three proposed classes, which in total could include more than 700 women, according to the lawsuit. Vice Media said in a statement that it is reviewing the complaint.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a New York Times report that claimed sexual misconduct at the company.

How Chrome’s Built-in Ad Blocker Will Work

Chrome’s built-in ad blocker goes live today. It is the first time Google will automatically block some ads in Chrome, and quite a few online publishers are fretting about the move. The most important thing to know is that it is not an alternative to AdBlock Plus or uBlock Origin. Instead, it is Google’s effort to ban the most annoying ads from browsers. It won’t block all ads, just those that don’t conform to the Coalition for Better Ads guidelines. When Google decides that a site hosts ads that go against these guidelines, it will block all ads on the site – not just the annoying ones, like autoplaying video ads. Ryan Schoen, Google’s product manager for the Chrome Web Platform, says that 42 percent of publishers that were in violation have already moved to other ads, and he expects that many more will do the same once they see the impact.

Meanwhile, Salon is offering an alternative to invasive online ads: a cryptocurrency miner.

Bauer Media Completes Acquisition of The Big One, the UK’s Biggest Fishing Event

The Bauer Media Group has acquired the UK’s biggest fishing show, The Big One. The show is held annually each spring and attracts almost 20,000 enthusiastic anglers who attend the most important event on the angling calendar. The acquisition strengthens Bauer’s market-leading angling media business, which already interacts with 600,000 anglers each month through its portfolio of magazines, digital editions, social media, and websites. The Big One will form part of Bauer’s growing specialist events portfolio, which includes the London Motorcycle Show, the MCN Festival, and Your Horse Live, already attended by more than 100,000 visitors each year. Vince Davies, who launched and owns the event, will continue to work for Bauer as event director.

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Maria Perez is Director of Audience Website Operations with PR Newswire. An animal lover, she curates content for @PRNPets – that is, when she’s not busy cuddling with her 10-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.

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