Media Insider: Twitter Adds WSJ Video Content, Vice Media in Talks to Buy Refinery29, Newsday Offers Voluntary Buyouts

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

Hand holding a smartphone with Twitter logo on it

Twitter Adds Video Content From Univision, WSJ

Twitter announced at its NewFront presentation Monday that it has added more content partners, including Univision and The Wall Street Journal, as it ramps up the video offerings available for advertisers to sponsor. With Univision, Twitter is launching a content partnership for Spanish-language audiences in the U.S. The content will range from sports and news to entertainment and include coverage of the 2020 elections, Liga MX, and Premio Lo Nuestro. The Wall Street Journal is launching WSJ What’s New, a new franchise bringing enterprise reporting, business analysis, and market insights to Twitter in an original streaming video format. Other news partners for Twitter include Bloomberg, CNET, and Time.

Also from NewFront: BBC Global News is using object-based media technology to let viewers customize news programming.

Vice Media in Talks to Acquire Refinery29

Vice Media is considering a purchase of women-focused publisher Refinery29. Should the outlets merge, it would join two of the largest venture-backed companies in the country. Vice Media has struggled financially over the past few years and laid off 10% of its workforce in February. Refinery29 also has struggled to meet investor expectations and laid off 10% of its staff and unified its sales team in 2018. However, Refinery29 has managed to grow revenue through diversification of revenue streams over the last year. Vice Media continues to look for ways to increase revenue and under CEO Nancy Dubuc’s leadership, the company is expected to expand its studio business.

In more Vice news, “Vice News Tonight” received the most Emmy nominations for nightly newscasts for the second year in a row.

Patrick Dolan’s Newsday Offers Voluntary Buyouts

Newsday took staffers by “surprise” last week when executives of Long Island’s largest newspaper said it is offering voluntary buyouts. The newsroom staff was addressed by Publisher Debby Krenek and Editor-in-Chief Debbie Henley – and told they have until Aug. 8 to apply for a buyout. “Newsday is transforming from a traditional newspaper into a leading-edge multimedia and multi-platform content generation machine, with expanded video, exciting live events and experiences for subscribers,” said a Newsday spokesman, who confirmed the buyout offer. He did not disclose the current head count in the newsroom or the number of buyouts the publisher is hoping to achieve. The buyout offers come one year after Patrick Dolan became the sole owner of the paper.

Late last year, Newsday sold its headquarters for $54 million and laid off around 300 staffers.

Peak Media Properties Acquires 20+ Print, Digital Properties From F+W Media

Peak Media Properties has acquired over 20 fine arts-and-crafts print and digital properties from F+W Media, focused on the enthusiast quilting, knitting, sewing, sketching, painting, and illustration communities. F+W Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March and put its portfolio of 50 magazines up for auction, which resulted in six separate sales. Macanta Investments put up $2.85 million for F+W’s crafts group of 10 knitting, sewing, and needlework magazines, along with nine quilting titles. It put up another $675,000 for F+W’s artist’s network, which includes Artists Magazine, Southwest Art, Watercolor Artist, and Pastel Journal. Peak Media Properties is a new company backed by Macanta Investments and created to oversee the acquired properties.

While niche media outlets are on the rise, let’s hope they don’t go the way of other VC-backed media companies.

The Athletic Sports News Site Hits 500,000 Subscribers

The Athletic, a sports-news subscription service, said it has reached more than 500,000 subscribers and expects to nearly double that total by year-end. “We’ll end the year somewhere close to a million,” said Alex Mather, co-founder and chief executive officer. The Athletic is an ad-free, online-only network for local sports coverage. Subscriptions cost $10/month or $60/year, though many customers have signed up at lower promotional rates. Since launching in Chicago three years ago, the Athletic has expanded to nearly 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada and hired hundreds of sports reporters and editors, often from local newspapers. It covers roughly 270 teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and college sports and is planning to introduce coverage of English Premier League soccer teams in August.

The Athletic made waves last year when it went on a hiring spree, decimating the sports staffs at area newspapers.

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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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