Media Insider: Vice Names New CEO, Apple Buys Digital Magazine Distributor, Google to Prioritize Stories for Paying News Subscribers

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

Shane Smith of Vice News

Co-founder and former CEO of Vice, Shane Smith. Credit: TechCrunch, used under creative commons.

Nancy Dubuc Named CEO of Vice Media, Shane Smith to Be Executive Chairman

Outgoing A+E Networks President and CEO Nancy Dubuc has been named chief executive officer of Vice Media. She will replace Vice Co-Founder Shane Smith, who is moving to a new position of executive chairman. The appointment comes as Vice has been battling accusations of sexual harassment in the workplace and a pervasive boy’s club culture. Additionally, Vice Media is coming off a major revenue miss last year and has had a revolving door of top executives, raising concerns among investors. Dubuc has worked closely with Vice via A+E Networks’ co-venture Viceland and has been on the Vice Media board.

At a recent Women in Media talk, three women journalists shared their advice on how to make it as a woman in the media business.

Univision Lays off Staffers After Scrapping IPO

Univision Communications last week handed out pink slips to 20 workers, including several at its Fusion Media Group, where many of the English-language assets reside. Univision, which was taken private for about $14 billion a decade ago, is now for sale. But some people close to the company say Univision could first spin Fusion Media Group out and sell that separately. Fusion Media Group consists of the Fusion TV channel, along with satirical outlet The Onion, African-American online magazine The Root, and Gizmodo Media Group, which used to be known as Gawker Media Group.

ICYMI: The Spanish-language broadcaster also announced plans to scrap its IPO and replace its CFO.

Apple Buying Digital Magazine Service Texture, Likely Boost to Subscription Services Revenue

In a SXSW interview, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, confirmed that the company is taking a major step into the digital magazine business by purchasing Texture, a digital magazine distributor that could enhance Apple’s News app. The purchase will give Apple a large catalog of magazines from a range of publishers. Texture currently offers its users content from over 200 magazines for $10 a month — sort of like Netflix for magazines or an all-you-can-eat music subscription service like Spotify, Google Play Music, or Apple Music.

Cue’s SXSW talk also covered the company’s upcoming original series, ad regulation, and more.

Facebook Aiming to Launch News for Watch This Summer

Facebook is getting ready to launch a news section for its Watch platform and is testing different video partnerships with roughly 10 publishers. This would be the first standalone news product for national news in Watch. Facebook previously launched several products, like Instant Articles and Facebook Live, with an array of publishers that included some news companies. With Watch, Facebook is trying to create more meaningful engagement on its platform. While executives have said they don’t know exactly how they will measure meaningful engagement through comments and shares, they hope that creating a news product that’s native to the platform and includes content from vetted publishers will drive less passive engagement and curb the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Facebook also announced a deal with Major League Baseball to exclusively stream 25 weekday afternoon baseball games this season.

Google Said to Be Using Search to Help Media Firms Keep Readers

Users of Google who subscribe to newspapers will soon find articles from those publications appearing higher in their search results. This is part of the tech giant’s efforts to help media companies find and retain paying readers, sources told Bloomberg on Wednesday. According to anonymous sources, Google will also begin sharing search data that show who is most likely to buy a subscription. The moves could help publishers better target potential digital subscribers, and keep the ones they already have, by highlighting stories from the outlets for which they’re paying. Google executives plan to disclose specific details at an event in New York on March 20, the sources said. 

In other Google news, the tech company said it removed 3.2 billion “bad ads” and blocked 320,000 publishers from its ad network in 2017.

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Maria Perez is director of web experience and 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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