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Vice Media Reducing Written Content Results In Layoffs

In a memo to its staff, Cory Haik, Vice Media’s chief digital officer, praised their recent video success. However, she would then reveal the layoffs. 

Eduardo Razo

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A month ago, Vice Media stated that they were switching its emphasis to video and reducing the number of text articles it produced on its website by 40 to 50-percent. 

With the cut in written content, The New York Times reports Vice Media laid off more than a dozen workers, most of them writers and text editors. In a memo to its staff, Cory Haik, Vice Media’s chief digital officer, praised their recent video success. However, she would then reveal the layoffs. 

“As part of this continued global alignment,” the email continued, “we’ve unfortunately had to say goodbye to some of our friends and colleagues today. We wish them well and thank them for their dedicated service over the years.”

One former Vice Media employee spoke to The Times on anonymity about the process of learning that they had lost their job.

“She had been given a few minutes’ notice before a Google Meet call with Ms. Haik, during which she was told she had lost her job. Access to email was cut within minutes, the former staff member said.”

Vice Union would comment on the layoffs that the media outlet made as approximately 20 full-time jobs were cut, mainly in the United States. 

“We have worked in this industry long enough to know today’s metrics are tomorrow’s punch lines, and yesterday’s pivot is today’s clumsy tumble,” the union said in a statement.

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Meta Uses AI to Get Around Apple’s Privacy Regulations

In August, Meta launched Advantage+, a tool that uses artificial intelligence to automatically generate multiple advertisements…

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Meta has been pursuing efforts to adapt its advertising strategy using AI and machine learning technology. This is in response to Apple’s privacy policy which does not allow companies to harvest user data without their permission. Meta has said it lost around $10bn in revenue in the nine months after Apple rolled out its privacy changes in April 2021.

“Driven by powerful machine learning, Advantage+ app campaigns deliver the highest performing creative to the most relevant audience on the most effective placements,” the Facebook Help Center states.

Meta has been investing heavily in applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to navigate advertising challenges. This is to overcome the restrictions introduced by Apple two years ago that force apps to get permission to track users and serve them personalized ads, according to The Financial Times. 

Before Apple’s new policy, Meta allowed advertisers to target users on the Facebook and Instagram apps based on their behavior and data collected from users’ online activities outside the platform. Meta also tracked people’s demographic characteristics such as age and gender to improve ad accuracy. 

In August, Meta launched Advantage+, a tool that uses artificial intelligence to automatically generate multiple advertisements according to the specific objectives of the marketer. For example, if the goal is to make a sale or gain a new follower. 

Advantage+ runs tests of potential ads and selects what they deem most effective, with the option to automatically alter text and images. 

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Hubbard, NAB Study: First Party Data Increases Listening

“There are opportunities for us to engage with our registered streaming audience by segmenting them and executing strategies focused on their past listening behaviors.”

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The NAB Pilot Accelerator study conducted by Hubbard Radio, in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), shows how radio stations can leverage first-party data of listeners to increase listening and time spent. 

This means analyzing the available personal data of listeners, like email addresses used to sign up for subscriptions. Hubbard has a long history of collecting key user info via its websites, live players, and mobile apps. The company holds eight years’ worth of listening sessions history and time spent associated with individual user accounts, all of which have an email address tied to them, according to Inside Radio.

“There are opportunities for us to engage with our registered streaming audience by segmenting them and executing strategies focused on their past listening behaviors,” Hubbard said in NAB’s First-Party Data Direct-to-Consumer Accelerator report.

Hubbard concluded that its first-party database helps the company identify who is listening, and listening patterns overall. “We have a huge opportunity to nurture relationships with those listeners to keep them engaged with our stations,” Hubbard says.

Although access to personal data may open doors for broadcasters, this type of data collection remains a controversial issue among Americans. In a study released in 2022 by the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans reported feeling that all, almost all, or most of what they do online or while using their cellphone is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms, or other companies.

The NAB Pilot Accelerator study was reportedly initiated to address the phasing out of third-party cookies by the digital advertising industry. 

Broadcast radio and the TV industry is projected to lose $2.1 billion in digital ad revenue annually – or 6.3% of total ad revenue – with the elimination of cookies, according to a Borrell Associates study commissioned by PILOT and presented at NAB Show New York last fall.

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FEMA Says AM Radio is Vital to U.S Safety

“When all else fails, radio stations are often the last line of communications that communities have.”

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Seven former FEMA officials have sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, asking the federal government to help keep AM radios in electric vehicles. The group is petitioning the government to seek assurances from automakers to maintain AM radios in EVs, arguing that AM radio transmitters are vital to the federal National Public Warning System.

“When all else fails, radio stations are often the last line of communications that communities have,” former FEMA head Craig Fugate, a signer of the letter, told The Wall Street Journal.

Ford and Tesla have removed AM radios in newer electric models. The automakers reasoning behind removing AM radio is that electric vehicles generate electromagnetic frequencies on the same wavelength as AM radio signals and this causes a buzzing sound interference.

The letter to government officials addresses the severity of removing this communication mechanism from EVs, “Should this continue, it will represent a grave threat to future local, state, and federal disaster response and relief efforts.”

According to FEMA, more than 75 radio stations, most of which are AM signals and cover 90% of the U.S. population, have backup equipment that allows them to stay on the air during and after an emergency.

“Federal law mandates that FEMA always maintain its ability to deliver messages to the American people en masse. The National Public Warning System, the only method the government has to reach every point of the country at once, allows it to do so,” the letter continues.

Antwane Johnson, the director of FEMA’s emergency-warning system, said that removing AM radio in EVs could affect the ability of people to receive critical public safety information while in their vehicles.

“AM radio has been tested over and over during the most devastating natural disasters—and has withstood them all,” Johnson told WSJ.

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