Some top ad agency execs are losing hope in Verizon Media's ability to deliver on its goal of rivaling Google and Facebook, though.Read more: Verizon revealed its plans for Yahoo Finance in a meeting with ad-industry insiders, and they include testing a $55-a-month subscription serviceThen, in January, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg walked back the idea that the media arm could use Verizon's phone and Fios set-top customer data to rival Google and Facebook, instead saying the media arm needed to survive on its own merits.Leading the meeting was Jeff Lucas, Snap's former head of sales who joined Verizon last year as VP, head of North American sales and global client solutions.The meeting covered Verizon Media's strategy, from ad products to subscription services and premium-content plans, and was meant to send the message that the Verizon corporate parent is fully committed to its media arm that Verizon spent $10 billion to acquire.But to attendees and agency execs who follow the company, the message is just as muddled as it's been the past year.
Another day, another tale of household brands running ads, perhaps unknowingly, against content they probably don’t want to be associated with.This time, Kraft, Capitol One and Progressive had pre-roll ads running against multiple AOL News articles concerning sexual assault.The articles—one of which discussed the filmed rape of a 9-month-old girl—appeared aggregated from outside publishers like the AP and the New York Daily News.News has always been a crapshoot for brands, especially TV news, as it falls into the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ cliche.But online, as the mechanisms to control the distribution of an ad grow more targeted and precise, the ad industry’s clarion call about the importance of brand safety perhaps belies the veracity of the technology.In response to a request for comment, the AP defined itself as a “B2B company,” saying that it “license(s) its content to customers, such as AOL and Yahoo News.”
The Yahoo spinout created to house Yahoo’s lucrative stake in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, announced today that it will sell its lucrative stake in Alibaba and shut up shop.The entity has long existed as a proxy to Alibaba — some might argue Yahoo was the same in its final years — and the sale is expected to net shareholders around $40 billion.Altaba was formed following AOL’s 2017 acquisition of Yahoo to create Oath — disclaimer: that’s TechCrunch’s parent, and it is now called Verizon Media Group — to keep hold of the 15 percent stake in Alibaba and a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan that Yahoo owned.Those Yahoo Japan shares were unloaded in September for over $4 billion, and now Altaba will shift its remaining Alibaba holdings — that’s around 11 percent of the company following a partial sale last year; Altaba is Alibaba’s second-largest stakeholder — and disappear from the world by Q4.The sale is expected to generate a net return of around $40 billion for Altaba stockholders — the provided range is between $39.8 billion and $41.1 billion based on share prices and associated expenditure — and it’ll happen in two parts.The first will see up to 50 percent of the stake sold, the rest will be traded if Altaba receives approval from its stockholders.
Yahoo Finance is about to launch a new subscription service that it's beta testing at monthly prices of $35 to $55.That's less than half the previously reported amount of $100 a month.Parent company Verizon Media Group shared the details along with other company initiatives at a recent meeting with its Agency Advisory Council, a small group of top agency execs.Verizon Media Group, the Verizon unit that Yahoo Finance belongs to, shared the details of the service along with other news last week at a meeting of the Verizon Media Agency Advisory Council, a gathering of more than a dozen top agency execs that Verizon periodically hosts to share updates with and seek feedback from.The meeting covered the gamut of Verizon Media's strategy, from ad products to subscription services to premium content plans, and was meant to send the message that Verizon the corporate parent is fully committed to its media arm, according to attendees.The unit has been recently laying off staff and losing value since Verizon spent $10 billion to acquire AOL and Yahoo and in 2017.
Microsoft has won a restraining order in a U.S. court in order to take control of domains used by an Iranian hacker group.The software and cloud giant applied to the court in order to take control of 99 websites used by the hacker group, known as Phosphorus or APT 35, in various hacking operations.The court granted the motion earlier this month but it was unsealed this week, said Microsoft’s consumer security chief Tom Burt in a blog post.The granted order allowed Microsoft to take control of the domains from the registrars and host the domains on Microsoft’s own servers, including “outlook-verify.net” and “yahoo-verify.net,” and redirect malicious traffic safely into a Microsoft-controlled sinkhole.“Throughout the course of tracking Phosphorus, we’ve worked closely with a number of other technology companies, including Yahoo, to share threat information and jointly stop attacks,” said Burt.(TechCrunch and Yahoo are both owned by Verizon Media.)
Former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is getting a $60 million payout package from Verizon.The so-called golden parachute follows Armstrong's departure from the company in October, and comes after Verizon wrote down about about half of Oath's $9 billion value.The integration of AOL and Yahoo has never been on solid footing and Verizon is now taking a new direction with its recently re-named Verizon Media Group.Tim Armstrong, the former CEO of AOL and later Verizon's media and advertising business, Oath, is getting a $60 million payout package from Verizon, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.The so-called golden parachute follows Armstrong's departure from the company in October, and includes $31.1 million founders award and $16.6 million he's expected to get in June, according to The Journal.The Oath business unit, now called Verizon Media group, formed as a combination of technology and media assets gained through a 2015 AOL acquisition and a 2017 Yahoo acquisition, and has seen seismic changes in its roughly one year of existence.
Tim Armstrong will leave Verizon Communications with an awards and benefits package worth more than $60 million.The Wall Street Journal calculated the total amount based on a securities filing from last Monday by combining Armstrong’s compensation in 2018, severance and a special incentive package he was given by Verizon when it acquired AOL in 2015.Armstrong was head of Oath (now called Verizon Media), which took a write down of $4.5 billion last year and laid off seven percent of its workforce as it struggled to compete with other digital media companies.Oath, the company’s digital media unit, was created in 2017 by merging AOL and Yahoo, two companies acquired by Verizon Communications.(Disclosure: TechCrunch was part of AOL, then Oath and now Verizon Media).Verizon Communications announced Oath’s $4.5 billion after-tax write down at the end of last year.
Verizon today announced the launch details of its first standards-based 5G wireless service.Starting on April 11 5G will be available throughout areas of Chicago and Minneapolis.Current subscribers can expect to pay an additional $10 a month for access, and at launch, the only supported device is the Motorola Z3 with the 5G Moto Mod.Later in the year, once they become available, Verizon will support the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and LG’s V50 ThinQ.Prices start at $85 a month for the base Go Unlimited plan and go up from there.When in 4G, the three eligible plans are subject to data throttling after a set amount of data, but when in 5G, that is not the case.
Verizon Media will close its Oath Ad Platform ad server next year as part of the telco unit’s strategic review of the business, Adweek has learned.The strategic review was first revealed publicly at the end of 2018.According to multiple sources familiar with the developments, Verizon Media began contacting concerned industry partners, including those publishers that used the ad server, in recent days informing them of the intended closure of the unit.A Verizon Media spokesperson confirmed, telling Adweek in a statement: “Following a strategic review of our business, we have decided to close the Oath Ad Platforms Ad Server, effective 2020.We are working with our customers to ensure they are supported as they migrate from the Ad Server platform.This does not affect our Oath Ad Platforms SSP business.
Holding company IAC just released its fourth quarter earnings report, which includes positive numbers for Dotdash, the rebranded company formerly known as About.com — revenue increased 32 percent in the quarter (to $40.2 million), and it was up 44 percent (to $131 million) for the fiscal year.This comes after big layoff announcements from BuzzFeed, Vice and Verizon Media Group (which owns TechCrunch).Unlike those companies — and unlike The New York Times, which actually seems to be doing well — Dotdash isn’t really a news publisher.Instead, it focuses on the same kinds of evergreen, informational and how-to content that you used to find on About.com, now divided up across more vertically focused brands like Verywell (health and wellness) and The Spruce (home improvement).Still, it’s worth highlighting a media business model that seems to be working.IAC attributes the improved financials (adjusted EBITDA was $21.4 million for the year, compared to a loss of $2.8 million in 2017) to “strong advertising growth across several verticals,” as well as affiliate commerce revenue.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news.When contacted by TechCrunch, a Vice spokesperson confirmed the story but declined to comment further.This comes after a brutal couple of weeks in the media business, as companies began the year with major cuts.BuzzFeed is trimming its staff by 15 percent.Verizon Media Group (which owns TechCrunch) laid off 10 percent of its workforce.And traditional media wasn’t immune, with Gannett eliminating as many as 400 jobs.
Verizon (TechCrunch’s parent company) just released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2018.The company generated $34.3 billion in revenue with an adjusted EPS of $1.12 that excludes special items.Verizon’s actual EPS for this quarter is 47 cents.The reason the company had to adjust its EPS is that the company wrote down $4.6 billion in Q4 2018 for the value of its media division, Verizon Media, formerly known as Oath.The company also took a $2.1 billion charge following a voluntary redundancy program.Wall Street analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.09 and $34.44 billion in revenue.
Journalists around the U.S. were hit hard by layoffs, from HuffPost to BuzzFeed News to Verizon Media Group, which owns this very site.The government entered day 35 of the shutdown before President Donald Trump agreed to a short-term deal to reopen it for three weeks.And in the startup world, a once high-flying, venture-subsidized food delivery startup crashed and burned, leaving a cluster of small businesses in its wreckage.Called “The Dropout,” a new ABC documentary and an accompanying podcast about Theranos features never-before-aired depositions.The round was led by existing investor Sequoia Capital, with participation from other top-tier VCs Index Ventures and Benchmark.Wag founders ditch dogs for bikes
It’s been a little over three weeks into the year, and hundreds of journalists are either already without jobs or are on the cusp of losing them.Verizon Media, formerly known as Oath, will lay off 7 percent, or 800 employees, including HuffPost’s entire opinion section.Gannett made cuts in local newsrooms throughout the country, from The Arizona Republic to The Coloradoan to The Record in New Jersey.And staffers at BuzzFeed head into next week knowing that 15 percent, or about 220 of them, will be let go.“It has been a tough week and a tough year for the news industry, and I think it’s going to continue be a rocky period for the course of 2019,” said Tim Franklin, former president of The Poynter Institute and senior associate dean at the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing at Northwestern University.In a memo to employees, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said that while the news organization saw double-digit growth, the cuts were necessary to put the company on “a firm foundation.”
HuffPost started laying off employees on Thursday.Verizon Media chief executive Guru Gowrappan emailed staff a day before to announce that 7% of staff would be laid off.Verizon announced in December that the integration of its other media properties Yahoo and AOL never achieved the benefits it anticipated.HuffPost started laying off employees on Thursday following the news that its parent Verizon Media Group would slash staff by 7%.HuffPost employees started receiving calendar invitations to meet with human resources in the morning, according to HuffPost reporter Andy Campbell.Among the areas impacted was the opinion editorial team, which was eliminated, according to Chloe Angyal, one of the opinion writers affected.
Following a $4.6 billion write down during the last quarter, Verizon has announced it will be laying off 7% of staff, roughly 800 people, at the media business.In an email seen by CNBC, Verizon Media Group CEO Guru Gowrappan positioned the cuts as part of a broader strategy to turn around the disaster, focusing on three key areas:Increasing usage/spending on its B2B productsIncreasing video supply and distribution“Last quarter, our leadership team worked to create the strategy that will propel Verizon Media,” Gowrappan said in the email.“We honestly assessed where we are and outlined ambitious but achievable goals that poise us for growth.
Verizon confirmed the job cuts to Ars and provided the text of an email sent to employees Wednesday.The cuts were reported yesterday by The Wall Street Journal."This week, we will make changes that will impact around 7 percent of our global workforce across the organization, as well as certain brands and products," Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan wrote in the email to employees.Verizon told Ars that the cuts will apply broadly, "involv[ing] the group's global organization across all areas."Yahoo and AOL were initially combined into a subsidiary called Oath, which was renamed to Verizon Media this month.Verizon's media division hasn't been able to compete effectively against Google and Facebook in the advertising market.
Welcome back to TechCrunch Mixtape, the podcast that goes a bit behind the headlines to bring tech to culture.This week Megan Rose Dickey and I welcome Tiana Kara, the head of partnerships and growth at builtbygirls (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon Media Group).The organization connects girls and women between the ages of 15 and 22 with mentors of all stripes in the tech industry based on their interests.The idea here is that not all tech jobs include coding, and builtbygirls wants all young girls who want in the industry to know that.The question that always comes up is why is it so hard hire diverse staffs.“What we’re doing is making it a little bit polarizing,” Kara tells us.
Verizon is laying off 7 percent of its employees in its digital business as the phone company comes to grips with the hard realities of building a major media and advertising business to compete with Facebook and Google.Verizon Media had a total of about 11,400 employees at the end of 2018."These were difficult decisions, and we will ensure that our colleagues are treated with respect and fairness, and given the support they need," Guru Gowrappan, Verizon Media's CEO, said in a letter to employees.He continued, "Now is the time to go on the offensive, go deep on our big priorities and do everything we can to advance the business."The layoffs come at a time when Verizon is struggling to make its transition from a wireless and broadband company into a media brand to create an alternative to digital advertising juggernauts Google and Facebook.In 2017 it merged AOL and Yahoo into its business, creating the media division dubbed Oath.
On the heels of news that TechCrunch parent company Verizon Media Group (formerly Oath) would lay off roughly 800 workers, BuzzFeed has announced its own substantial staffing cuts.And though they were anticipated, Gannett also made substantial cuts to newsrooms around the US on Wednesday.In a memo to employees, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti explained that the layoffs would hit next week, reducing its workforce by 15% or about 250 positions.“We’ve developed a good understanding of where we can consolidate our teams, focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure to support our multi-revenue model.”Peretti added that he is “confident” that the layoffs would chart a sustainable course of growth for the new media giant — likely one that aims to turn the maturing media company’s revenues into a profit.We’ve developed a good understanding of where we can consolidate our teams, focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure to support our multi-revenue model.
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