Media Insider: Digital Ad Revenue Rapidly Grows, Cox Sells Majority Interest of TV Group, Hearst Buys Clevver

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


Digital Ad Revenue Tops $26B in Q3 2018

Digital advertising revenue continues to grow at a rapid pace, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s latest Internet Advertising Revenue Report. Digital ad revenue was $26.2 billion in the third quarter of 2018, up a whopping 22 percent compared with the same quarter a year prior. The report, which was prepared by PwC U.S., found marketers spent a total of $75.8 billion over the first three quarters of 2018. With that explosive growth, the first three quarters of 2018 were the highest-spending on record. The data suggests that 2018 will be the biggest year yet for digital advertising revenue and spend.

In fact, digital ad revenue is expected to surpass print and TV for the first time.

Cox to Sell Majority Interest of TV Group to Apollo Global Management

Another big media merger is falling into place. Cox Enterprises, which includes TV stations, newspapers and radio stations, will sell a majority interest of the company’s TV group to Apollo Global Management LLC. Cox is involved in 20 media markets and 100 news outlets that it says reach 52 million Americans. The new company will be based in Atlanta and will include Cox’s flagship powerhouse TV station WSB in Atlanta, along with KIRO (Seattle), WFTV (Orlando), WSOC (Charlotte, North Carolina), WFTX (Boston), WPXI (Pittsburgh), WHBQ (Memphis, Tennessee), and others. Tegna, Scripps, Nexstar and others all expressed interest in buying the Cox TV stations.

Apollo is also in talks to buy a group of local TV stations from Nexstar Media Group.

Defy’s Millennial-Focused Clevver Sold to Hearst Magazines

Defy Media sold its Clevver pop culture news brand aimed at millennial women to Hearst Magazines. The channels being acquired include Clevver-branded Style, News, TV and Music, as well as Spanish-language Clevver TeVe. “Clevver’s content entertains and engages more than 15 million subscribers,” said a spokeswoman for Hearst Magazines, in a statement. “This investment underscores our commitment to premium video.” Terms were not disclosed. Defy Media once soared on the digital scene with revenue close to $50 million. Founded in 2006 as Alloy Media, the company went public and then became private again when Zelnick Media acquired it in 2010. In March, Defy laid off 8 percent of its workforce and sold off properties. By November, the company ceased operations as creditors froze its assets.

In more millennial news, a new study by Atlantic Re:Think finds millennial media is not a good fit for Gen Z audiences.

Post-Dispatch Outsources Its Copy Editing and Design Jobs

Lee Enterprises, which owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, announced it will move the design and copy-editing work at the Post-Dispatch to its design/editing hub in Munster, Ind. The outsourcing comes at a time when the Post-Dispatch already is offering buyouts to employees and is selling the Post-Dispatch building. The Post-Dispatch was among the last chain-owned newspapers of its size to retain its design and editing jobs.

The Post-Dispatch also recently offered buyouts to those who were at least 50 years old and had 10 years of experience.

UK Lawmakers: Facebook ‘Intentionally and Knowingly’ Violated Data Privacy Laws

The UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has accused Facebook of violating data privacy and competition laws in a report on social media disinformation. The lawmakers said a trove of internal Facebook emails it reviewed demonstrated that the social media platform had “intentionally and knowingly” violated both data privacy and competition laws. The cache of documents reviewed by the committee, some of which include correspondence between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company executives, stem from a lawsuit filed in California against Facebook. According to the committee, the documents show that Facebook was willing to override its users’ privacy settings in order to transfer data to app developers. The lawmakers also claim the documents show the social network was able to “starve” some developers of data and force them out of business.

In more Facebook news, more than a dozen children’s advocacy groups have accused the social network of violating child privacy laws.

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Maria Perez is Director, Web Experience & Operations at PR Newswire. An animal lover, she curates content for @PRNPets – that is, when she’s not busy cuddling with her 11-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.

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