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Edition #307 - Substackerati
One big thing

Substack got the Columbia Journalism Review write up this week. Featuring some of the Substackerati as they’ve been coined.
A few tidbits caught my eye, the discourse on how it's great to work 50-60 hours/week from anywhere OR highlighting the values that a writer got from being in a press room.

“Holy shit, I work anywhere from fifty to sixty hours a week,” Atkin, of Heated, told me. “It’s a lot.” Harvin, the Beauty IRL writer, said she missed the infrastructure—legal and editorial—of a traditional outlet. “I just know how valuable it is to have a second ear to bounce ideas off of, someone to challenge you,” she said. “I’m very not big into writing in a vacuum, and I think that is the thing I miss the most.”

Substack is an enabler, it helps convert that audience and content into a business. The size of that business depends on both of those factors. But you are still running your own business. Which has its own pros and cons. The lower barriers help create new businesses where there weren’t before, as Patrice Peck shows - with Coronavirus News for Black Folks. Not just helping a well-known journalist who wants looser restrictions.

Do give it a read this weekend over coffee. It’s a good piece. And almost hits every note we spoke on in our tech optimism piece.

One takeaway I’m going to dig into more - “newsletters go back at least as far as the Middle Ages”. I’m sure they do but that sounds like an interesting story - the origins of the newsletter. We’ve forgotten that they did precede email.
Notable stories this week
  • A CJR piece on the Substackerati and Substack is piloting its own form of Google Reader.
  • Pivoting to partnerships kept Atlas Obscura afloat amongst a wavering travel market.
  • UFC continues their Snapchat partnership.
  • Bidtellect releases next generation of their DSP. More on what that entails here.
  • OnlyFans chief talks sports ambitions and role of adult content on site.
  • Squarespace adds support for membership and paywalled content. Creating a new avenue for creators to monetize their audiences.
  • In Toronto, former employees of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) want it to be investigated for blurring the lines between advertising and news with its branded content.
  • Behind some of the different strategies used to figure out what content goes behind a paywall.
  • Disney shifts former head of casting for ABC & Disney+ to the Branded Television department. Marking fast moves in the Disney re-org.
  • Netflix is testing a linear tv channel.
  • Twitter launches Fleets into the wild. They also launched Spaces, virtual rooms for audio conversations.
  • The Information finds success in taking its events online.
  • In India, OTT content will now need to be approved by the government. Creators express concern around creative freedom.
  • Apple adds offers inside the settings on the iPhone. More on it here.
  • Google to pull back on preferential treatment of AMP pages.
  • Gmail says its ads are not based on personal Gmail data.
  • Facebook conversion lift measurement issue goes undetected for 12 months. LinkedIn also over-reported video views and ad impressions, impacting 418,000 advertisers. In both instances advertisers were issued credits.
Deals/M&A
  • BuzzFeed acquires founders prior company - HuffPost from Verizon.
  • Pubmatic has filed its S1.
Campaign of the week
  • AirMail (the email newsletter) is doing a brand collaboration with Stubbs and Wootton. Content + Commerce.
  • SalesForce + Muse by CLIO, speaking with Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar. These are a win for SalesForce, distribution + building relationships with key partners or prospects.
  • Submit your own and view the best campaigns of 2020.
Datapoints of note
  • Verizon Media Groups Commerce revenue is up 250% YOY.
  • Television combined with professionally produced long-form digital entertainment content provided better ROAS than other combinations of traditional and new media types. On-demand long-form digital entertainment content, typically viewed on large screens has proven to be a reach extension for linear TV especially with young viewers as well as building ROAS. Television types that exhibited the highest ROAS were branded entertainment and live television events such as sports and news.
That's it for this week!

Thanks,

Ben
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