Media Insider: News Corp Creating Aggregation Service, The Athletic Launches Free Content, Uniqlo Debuts Print Magazine

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

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Report: News Corp Creating News Aggregation Service to Take on Big Platforms

News Corp is developing a news aggregation service intended to address complaints about Google News and other digital platforms. The venture, currently dubbed, could launch later this year, though no timeline has been set. The service would tap “hundreds” of news sources, including national outlets, digital-native players, magazine publishers, and local newspapers. It would link directly to publishers’ sites, with News Corp not taking a cut of ad revenue generated from the articles; share the consumer data generated with the publishers; favor featuring original articles over “rehashes”; and treat nonpaid and smaller sites the same as large and paid subscription sites for purposes of curation.

ICYMI: Google is rolling out a feature that will give publishers more information when ad traffic is restricted.

The Athletic Announces Launch of Over 40 New Podcasts, Will Move Them Outside the Paywall

The Athletic announced the launch of at least 40 new podcasts and said they would be available outside the paywall. Episodes will be free, with bonus episodes available exclusively for subscribers. Most of the podcasts appear to be football-based, with much of the focus on specific teams. New national-based podcasts also have been launched, including NFL, fantasy football, and college football shows. The Athletic also noted that a Premier League podcast is in the works. Podcasts will have one episode in front of the paywall and one behind, with the free episode containing advertising. The Athletic’s podcasts were previously only available through the site and app — moving them outside the paywall and onto traditional podcast apps is seen as a way to attract new listeners.

Read next: The Athletic now has more than a half-million readers, but can it turn a profit?

Uniqlo Debuts Print Magazine for Fall Collection

Publishers may be faced with inexorable declines in ad pages, but some brands are still showing an appetite for custom-published magazines. Uniqlo Co., the casual-wear designer owned by Japan’s Fast Retailing Co., debuted a free 120-page magazine called LifeWear to coincide with next month’s introduction of its fall and winter collection. The company plans to publish the title twice a year. The first issue features a mix of photo spreads dedicated to the brand, feature articles, and city guides. Takahiro Kinoshita, Fast Retailing’s creative director and former EIC of men’s fashion title Popeye, oversees LifeWear. An English-version of the magazine is available on Uniqlo’s website; the print version will arrive in U.S. stores next month.

In more magazine news, Golf magazine owner Howard Milstein is shaking things up in his bid to stave off competition from Golf Digest.

Bernie Sanders Pledges to Protect News Organizations From Google and Facebook Dominance

In an op-ed for Columbia Journalism Review, Senator Bernie Sanders wrote that as president he would appoint law enforcement officials and regulators to clamp down on Facebook and Google and keep them from exercising too much control over the media industry. Sanders said he would name an Attorney General and officials to the FTC “who more stringently enforce antitrust laws against tech giants like Facebook and Google, to prevent them from using their enormous market power to cannibalize, bilk and defund news organizations.” He also proposed increased funding for programs that support newsgathering for independent local public media and said the country should explore taxing targeted ads and using that money “to fund nonprofit civic-minded media.”

Related: Officials from the FTC and FCC are pushing back against a proposal that would task them with regulating social media companies’ editorial policies.

Podcasts Get That VC Cash

Venture capital money is pouring into podcast companies with roughly three times as many deals being brokered today than 10 years ago. Data has long suggested podcast listenership would explode as more Americans adopt smart speakers and voice assistants in their homes. But before 2017, venture capitalists shied away from investing in podcast startups, fearing that Apple already had too much of a stronghold over the market and because the industry was (and still is) rather decentralized. Those trends are starting to change. Some venture-backed podcasts are experiencing major exits into bigger podcast platforms that are beginning to rival Apple — most notably, Spotify.

Podcasts are expected to be about a $670 million advertising industry this year.

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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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