Media snippets of the week - Twitter’s ad revenue challenge

The new Twitter CEO, who started this Monday, is likely to have a challenging job ahead. The New York Times reported that Twitter continues to struggle to attract advertisers back to the platform and that US ad revenues are falling sharply despite Elon Musk’s opposing statement to the BBC in April and GroupM removing it from their “high risk” list in May. Meanwhile, in the UK, it is rumoured that Britain’s well-known media assets, the Telegraph newspapers and The Spectator magazine will be auctioned off as the Barclay family loses control. Also in the UK, commercial broadcasters are challenging Ofcom’s proposal to allow PSBs more flexibility on ad time, claiming the change could be bad for news. Unsurprisingly, PSBs, who are facing fierce competition and eager to boost ad revenue, dismissed the claim. In other news, Spotify announced more job cuts in its podcast division and LiveRamp, the owner of RampID, is rumoured to be negotiating a sale.


News of the week

Twitter US ad sales down 59% before new CEO starts
According to the New York Times, Twitter’s US ad sales plummeted by 59% for the five weeks from 1 April and the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon. There have been mixed messages in terms of advertisers’ attitudes towards the platform. In April, Elon Musk claimed that advertisers were starting to return to the platform in his interview with the BBC. Following the announcement of the new CEO Linda Yaccarino in May, GroupM removed Twitter from their ‘high-risk’ list, while IPG advised clients to stay cautious. The NYT data indicates that a meaningful return of advertisers has yet to happen. The main concern that drove advertisers away from Twitter is its brand safety risks. The platform has become increasingly unpredictable since Elon Musk took over. In addition to Musk’s own tweets, which have attracted much attention, Twitter also allows political ads, online gambling and marijuana ads, which are highly controversial topics. NYT


Telegraph titles to be sold as Lloyds seizes control
It has been reported that the Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator, which are assets of Telegraph Media Group (TMG), are facing a possible sale for £600m. According to Sky News, these assets could be auctioned at £600m. TMG’s parent company B.UK, owned by the Barclay family, was put into receivership by Lloyds Banking Group over £1bn of debts. Lloyds acquired the family loans with the takeover of HBOS in 2008, and is believed to have written them off as bad debts, meaning the sales proceeds could be a capital boost for the bank. TMG reported revenue of £245m and PBT of £30m last year, both grew from the year before. The Barclay family’s spokesman said that TMG is trading well and will “continue to operate as normal” despite change of ownership. TMG itself or its direct parent Press Acquisitions won’t be put into administration. Sky, FT


Commercial broadcasters challenge Ofcom’s plan to boost PSBs’ ad time

Coba, an association of commercial broadcasters, has criticised the UK media watchdog Ofcom's proposals to increase the amount of advertising allowed on public service broadcasters (PSBs) such as ITV and Channel 4. In April, Ofcom has proposed to align the rules for advertising minutes on all TV channels while limiting the number of ad breaks in PSB programmes. This proposal could give PSBs such as ITV and Channel 4 more flexibility to show ads on their primary channels, which helps them compete with other channels and online platforms. However, Coba argues that this could result in less news coverage by PSBs, a claim that PSBs have dismissed. Coba’s reaction reflects commercial broadcasters’ concerns about losing ad revenue to PSBs if the plan goes ahead. Campaign, FT


Spotify to cut 200 podcast jobs
Spotify has announced structural changes to its podcast business, including laying off 200 employees, or 2% of its workforce, and merging its Parcast and Gimlet studios into a single Spotify Studios division. Amid these changes, five Parcast and one Gimlet show will be cancelled. The move comes after Spotify has already cut 6% of its workforce earlier this year and one-third of Parcast/Gimlet union members last year. Spotify has invested heavily in podcasts since 2019, however the company has struggled to turn it  into a profitable business. CEO Daniel Ek said that podcasting business is a drag to the company’s gross margin and expects it to break even in several years’ time. Reuters, Digiday


LiveRamp potentially negotiating a sale to Experian

LiveRamp, a data onboarding company that offers identity solutions for online advertising, is exploring the possibility of a sale, according to Digiday. The potential buyer in negotiation is credit bureau Experian. Digiday sources suggest that the talks began in late 2022 when LiveRamp's stock price dropped significantly, but have cooled as the company's value recovered this year. LiveRamp faces challenges from the demise of third-party cookies and competition from other identity solution players, despite its well-adopted RampID as one of the third-party cookie alternatives. It is unclear whether the negotiation is going to proceed since sources said that the deal should have been completed in 1Q23. Digiday


Other news

  • Forsta and Cint partner to eliminate survey fraud. Research-live 
  • Autotrader: Used car price rises for a 38th month in May. Autotrader