Media Insider: Group Nine Acquires PopSugar, Quibi in High Demand, Washington Post’s Software Shines

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

Double exposure image of a handshake over the New York City skyline

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | BENJAMIN MULLIN AND LUKAS I. ALPERT
Group Nine to Acquire PopSugar, Continuing Wave of Digital Media Tie-Ups

Group Nine Media Inc. will acquire women-focused publisher PopSugar, making this the third digital media deal in the past two weeks. Group Nine is one of several digital publishers bulking up their audience hoping to create a profitable company large enough to takeover marketers’ interest in media giants such as Facebook and Google. The deal values PopSugar at more than $300 million and will give its shareholders more than 30% ownership of the combined company. PopSugar’s top advertising categories of retail, beauty, and consumer packaged goods will complement Group Nine’s existing categories, financial services and travel, to create a well-rounded digital media business.

Read more about how acquisitions are influencing the future of digital media.

VARIETY | BRIAN STEINBERG
’60 Minutes’ Plans New Short-Form Program for Quibi

Quibi, a streaming-video outlet that creates short-form entertainment for mobile audiences, announced that “60 Minutes” has enlisted its team to create a weekly program called “60 in 6.” Launching in April, “60 in 6” will publish weekly six-minute news videos and is expected to expand the “60 Minutes” brand to a new platform. Bill Owens, the executive producer of the series, shared the company’s vision for the new program: “This is a perfect opportunity to bring ’60 Minutes’ style of storytelling, in-depth reporting and investigative journalism to a new audience.”

Another win for Quibi: Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Mobile Start-Up, Quibi, Makes a Deal With ESPN

DIGIDAY | DEANNA TING
Everything you need to know about Firework, the TikTok competitor Google wants to buy

Google is reportedly considering the acquisition of the new social media app Firework. Firework, like its competitor TikTok, allows its users to view curated content and share homemade 30-second videos. Firework’s instant success can be attributed to user benefits such as the ability to share content over multiple online platforms, weekly hashtag contests for cash prizes or donations to social causes, and person-to-person direct messaging. Purchasing Firework would give Google deeper entry into the fast-growing world of short video content shot and shared all via mobile. Google also would benefit from the increasing traction and attention of younger users that new social media platforms receive.

TikTok releases competing news: TikTok’s European business expansion

OBSERVER | SISSI CAO
The Washington Post’s Most Valuable Asset Is Now Its Software, Thanks to Jeff Bezos

After purchasing The Washington Post in 2013, Jeff Bezos purposefully distanced himself from the day-to-day editorial operations but stayed diligently involved in the development of Arc, the publishing software running the Post’s digital content. Arc became a licensed business in 2014 and has proved to be a valuable investment. Although Arc is not yet profitable on its own, Bezos expects the content management platform to generate an annual revenue of $100 million within the next three years and become the newspaper’s third largest revenue stream. Recently, Bezos realized a greater reach outside of the media for the platform and struck a licensing deal with British oil giant BP. He also proposed exploring a serverless architecture that can make the software faster and cheaper to run.

New offerings at The Washington Post: The Washington Post releases ‘Launcher,’ a new section dedicated to video gaming and esports

NIEMANLAB | LAURA HAZARD OWEN
Substack’s first media company is The Dispatch, a center-right site founded by former Weekly Standard and National Review editors

The Dispatch launched under two conservative media figures: Steve Hayes, former editor-in-chief of Weekly Standard, and Jonah Goldberg, former senior editor at National Review. In partnership with Substack, the conservative digital media company will create a new political news space specifically for center-right content. The Dispatch will start small by launching with eight full-time staff members and offering free content (website, newsletters, and podcasts) to build up an audience. The Dispatch’s mission statement states: “We are not launching The Dispatch to change the world, to reimagine news and information, to fix the internet, or to scold those we think have fallen short. We have more humble objectives. We are launching The Dispatch to provide engaged citizens with a community for thoughtful, fact-based reporting and commentary on politics, policy and culture — informed by conservative principles.”

ICYMI: News outlets prepare for the Trump impeachment inquiry

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Erin Wade is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and aspiring world traveler. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @TotalCSR.

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