Media Insider: CBS and Viacom Reunite, Hearst Union Update, Forbes Media Invests in AI

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

Glasses laying on top of a folded newspaper

VICE | ANNA MERLAN
Hearst Set Up a Whole Website Dedicated to Union-Busting

On Nov. 11, employees across 24 brands at Hearst Magazines announced their intention to unionize with Writers Guild of America East and asked Hearst to voluntarily recognize them. This week, Hearst responded with what employees are calling a “classic union-busting” campaign. The campaign has reportedly included pressure to hand over signed union cards during company meetings at each brand with Troy Young, Hearst Magazines’ President. Young also sent a company-wide email which included a link to a newly-created microsite dedicated to union-centric facts — also classified as classic anti-union talking points meant to deter employees from unionizing.

Related: Local media employees at the Post-Gazette withhold bylines to draw attention to working conditions.

LOS ANGELES TIMES | MEG JAMES
Viacom and CBS reunite in $12 billion deal, but challenges abound

Viacom and CBS have reunited once again in a $12 billion merger. With the recent media consolidations, CBS and Viacom suddenly found themselves medium-sized players and decided to reunite to bulk up. However, the two companies have a long history of merging and quickly dissolving their partnership at any sign of financial trouble. The history, and a 20% stock drop since the merger was announced in August, have investors concerned about this union. The combined company will be called ViacomCBS Inc. and be led by Bob Bakish, Viacom Chief Executive. The merger also brings attention to a history-making moment as Shari Redstone becomes Viacom’s first chairwoman.

ICYMI: New York Times overhauls its presidential endorsement process.

DIGIDAY | MAX WILLENS
Forbes Media acquires stock prediction tool to help diversify its revenues

At the beginning of the year, Forbes Media began exploring ways to incorporate artificial intelligence into its operations by adding AI features to its content management system that recommend article topics to its contributors. This week, Forbes Media announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Quantalytics AI Labs, a service that uses AI to predict the performance of different financial instruments, including stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. It is still trying to figure out how to offer Quantalytics insights to its reporters, but the plan is to offer more useful analytics to Forbes readers. Eventually, Quantalytics will be a standalone subscription product and is predicted to cost around $100 for three months.

More on AI from NiemanLab: Artificial intelligence won’t kill journalism or save it, but the sooner newsrooms buy in, the better.

WASHINGTON POST
The Washington Post debuts Spanish-language podcast “El Washington Post”

The Washington Post debuted the first episode of its new Spanish-language podcast, El Washington Post. The podcast will consist of two 20-minute episodes per week that cover three to four global news stories shaping the world. Together, the podcast hosts, Juan Carlos Iragorri, Jorge Espinosa, and Dori Toribio, have over 30 years of experience in print, radio, and television. Iragorri states, “We’re thrilled to introduce a unique podcast from which listeners can get fair and trustworthy analysis of the news from all corners of the world in Spanish.” El Washington Post is the second Spanish-language product launched this year by The Washington Post.

Check out The Washington Post’s Spanish-language opinions section, “Post Opinión.”

DIGIDAY | KAYLEIGH BARBER
How The Dodo is using its animal stars to create new revenue streams

The Dodo continues to expand its series franchises beyond the traditional short video formats on social platforms. Through recent partnerships, The Dodo has found several new content distribution opportunities. These partnerships include: The Dodo’s recent move into more traditional long-form video format with an original series through a partnership with Netflix; collaborating with Airbnb on live events programming by creating live experiences, such as character meet and greets; and breaking into retail publishing with a three-book deal with Scholastic. These brand extensions fit in with the overall strategy to find more ways to engage with its audience and drive consumer revenue streams.

Aiming for audience growth in 2020? Follow Condé Nast’s audience-first strategy.

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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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