Media Insider: Instagram Tests Revenue Sharing, Media Staffers Return to Offices, BuzzFeed to Go Public

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

Photo of a smartphone with Instagram app, next to a laptop 

Instagram’s Test of Revenue Sharing Opens Door for Monetized Content

Instagram is said to be testing a revenue-sharing arrangement with publishers that will give them a way to earn money for their video content. The Facebook-owned app contacted a small group of publishers about the pilot program for ads on its IGTV video hub. Group Nine Media, whose digital media brands include NowThis and PopSugar, and content studio Attn: were among the first content providers to be invited to participate in the test.

Meanwhile, a federal district judge has dismissed the FTC’s antitrust complaint against Facebook.

BuzzFeed Announces Plans to Go Public via SPAC, Targets $1.5 Billion Valuation

BuzzFeed plans to go public via a merger with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and is targeting a $1.5 billion valuation. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. BuzzFeed also plans to acquire Complex Networks, a digital publisher that specializes in streetwear, music, and culture, for $300 million. The deal is made up of $200 million in cash and $100 million of equity in BuzzFeed. The SPAC could help strengthen the company’s position to acquire other digital media companies, BuzzFeed co-founder and chief Jonah Peretti told CNBC’s “TechCheck.”

Go deeper: The CEOs of BuzzFeed and Complex Networks explain the merger and what it means for their respective companies.

Publishers Will Start Bringing People Back to the Office After Fourth of July Weekend

The July 4 holiday weekend will mark the end of working from home for some media employees. Since vacating their offices in March 2020, media companies’ office returns have been a moving target. Some companies, such as The New York Times and Reuters, had planned to bring back employees in January but pushed back their timelines to this summer as coronavirus cases rose in the fall and early winter. Now, media companies’ office return timeframes have solidified. In April, a survey of 329 media and marketing professionals found that fewer than half of respondents said they would be willing to return to the office full-time over the next six months.

ICYMI: American Express’ Departures magazine relaunches as a digital property.

Google Delays Plans to Phase out Third-Party Cookies

Google has confirmed it is delaying the demise of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. Citing the complexity of removing cookies and delays to the development and implementation of its own Privacy Sandbox system, Google now plans to complete the phase-out by the end of 2023. Because Google will be developing this new cookie-replacing technology, questions have been raised about whether this gives them an unfair advantage over their competitors. The UK Competitions and Markets Authority was investigating whether this move by Google could result in advertisers shifting more budget into Google Ads. As of this month, Google and the CMA have agreed to work together to develop Privacy Sandbox further. 

The tech giant also announced it’s joining Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter in committing to improve their services to make women safer online.

Bloomberg Leans Into Personality Journalism With New Newsletters

Bloomberg is launching newsletters centered around two of its top reporters, Mark Gurman and Jason Schreier. Gurman will write “Power On,” a weekly newsletter about Apple and consumer technology. Schreier will pen “Game On,” a weekly email that serves as guide to gaming and the gaming entertainment industry. Bloomberg has been using some of its more popular personalities to anchor products around niche beats. The idea is that free sampling of those products will help push more users to subscribe to Bloomberg’s consumer paywall, which costs around $35 per month.  

Read next: 6AM City, the fastest-growing newsletter-first local media company in the U.S., is expanding into 24 cities nationwide.

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing, baking, and cuddling with her dog Toody.

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