Media Insider: Advertisers and Digital Media Join Forces on Digital Safety, Vox Media Ratifies Union Contract, Investors Explore Sale of Forbes Media

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

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Advertisers and Digital Media Companies Form New Global Alliance for Responsible Media

Major players in online advertising have come together to create the Global Alliance for Responsible Media to focus on “digital safety.” In this context, that means safety for brand marketers who want to ensure their ads aren’t running alongside hateful, misleading, or otherwise controversial content. This comes amidst broader concern over whether social media companies are doing enough to police the content on their platforms. What the organization will actually do remains vague. For now, the alliance is more notable for who’s involved: advertisers like Adidas, Bayer, General Mills, and NBCUniversal; and big agencies such as Dentsu, GroupM, IPG, Publicis Media, and Omnicom Media Group. Facebook, Google/YouTube, Twitter, and Verizon Media have signed on as well, as have trade groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

ICYMI: Chrome now lets users flag deceptive sites with a new Chrome extension.

Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge, and, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. Represented by the Writers Guild of America East, Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to win a contract included a one-day walkout on June 6 and a 29-hour marathon bargaining session. The three-year agreement includes a $56,000 minimum for exempt employees and a 3.5% retroactive raise to July 1, 2018. The company also committed that 40% of the applicant pool who make it beyond the phone interview stage for open bargaining unit positions will be from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in journalism. 

Also looking to unionize: BuzzFeed staff, who held a walkout earlier this week to demand recognition of an employee-formed union.

Survey: Journalists Call Twitter Most Influential Social-Media Platform

Twitter is the most influential social media platform for journalists worldwide, according to Ogilvy’s sixth annual Global Media Influence Survey. The survey highlights new strategies in digital media and the sentiments of journalists regarding media coverage and brand reputation. Those surveyed found corporate announcements, such as financial reporting, more important than third-party endorsements, such as social media influencers, in shaping earned media coverage and driving brand reputation. In addition, Twitter is the social media platform that most often informs reporters’ coverage, according to 48% of the journalists surveyed. Some 29% cited Facebook or Instagram, and 17% pointed at WhatsApp.

Also making news in the Twitterverse: The company shut down its Twitter Timeline Ads program that helped publishers squeeze out revenue from their tweets.

Forbes Media May Soon Be on the Block Again as Investors Explore Sale

The Asian investors who bought a controlling stake in Forbes Media in 2014 are quietly exploring a sale of the magazine and related web properties, sources say. A spokesman for Forbes didn’t shoot down rumors of a sale — and even went so far as to encourage investors to take a closer look. “We have no comment, but smart investors often express interest in Forbes Media, especially now, coming off our best year ever in 2018 and with 2019 shaping up to be a strong year as well,” said Matthew Hutchison, senior vice president of communications for Forbes. The Asian investors, led by Hong Kong-based Integrated Asset Management, bought their 95% stake in Forbes from the Forbes family and Elevation, an investment group that included Irish rocker Bono.

In other magazine news, Sports Illustrated’s media operations just got sold again.

Six-Second Ads Account for 10% of Video Revenue for Dutch Publisher De Telegraaf

Many news publishers struggle to balance maintaining a good user experience while hitting ambitious revenue growth targets. Last October, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf introduced guidelines on the lengths of its video pre-roll ads to improve user experience. At the same time, it introduced six-second video ad formats — a strategy that has since borne fruit. CPMs have increased by up to 20% and six-second video ads now account for 10% of its daily video income. “A lot of people feared it would lose money,” said Denny Plaggenburg, head of video at Telegraaf Media Groep. “We are strict. We say no to a few ads before serving the content. But it is a matter of supply and demand. It’s about quality, not quantity.” Plaggenburg said that now around 20% of its inventory is six-second ads.

While six-second ads have been getting a lot of media hype, they aren’t taking over pre-roll inventory – yet.

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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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