In fourth quarter 2020, Verizon Media reported revenue growth for the first time since they acquired Yahoo three years ago. The global tech and media company with a wide variety of assets. To find out what their core businesses are, how they reported revenue growth during the pandemic and where Verizon Media sees growth in 2021, we asked a few questions. Markman is the Chief Business Officer of Verizon Media, who is furthering the company’s business strategy and operations globally.
Previously, Markham had been Senior Advisor at Abundant Venture Partners and a Special Advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors of comScore, Inc.
Markham’s career includes serving as General Manager of Marketing Services at Neustar, a real-time provider of cloud-based information services, following its acquisition of MarketShare where he served as Chief Operating Officer. Before joining MarketShare Iván was with Yahoo! as Global Head of Corporate Strategy.
What are Verizon Media’s core businesses?
Markman: We are a technology and media company with a focus on content, experiences, commerce and advertising.
Our business includes globally recognized brands, like Yahoo, TechCrunch and Engadget. Today, more than 900 million people visit these premium sites every month. We also provide Yahoo Search and Yahoo Mail, which are two of the most popular services in their categories. Commerce
is integrated throughout our brands and products, giving consumers the ability to shop on Yahoo Life, place bets through Yahoo Sports and even buy groceries through Yahoo Mail.
For advertisers and publishers, we are the only independent omnichannel ad platform with a unified tech stack, enabling marketing and monetization across all ad formats and channels, both traditional and emerging. A unified stack means we have a demand-side platform, supply-side platform, and ad exchange — all of which are tightly integrated to work better together, from features and processes, to data and service layers. With our solutions suite, we help advertisers and publishers unlock the full value of their marketing and content. Top brands use us to monetize their content and best reach their audiences.
We also offer a Media Platform that facilitates streaming on mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, Rokus and other connected devices for over 10,000 brands like Disney
, Fox and Discovery. We’re essentially the technology layer that makes streaming work. Right now, our Media Platform powers over 10% of the world’s internet streaming.
Lastly, through 25 years of search experience, we are able to offer supply partners the same demand, and operational and cost efficiencies that power our search O&O business, from hosting, serving, and maintenance.
In fourth quarter 2020, Verizon Media had its best quarter since 2017, with revenues of $2.3 billion, up 11.4% year-over-year, what were the reasons for the strong revenue growth?
Markman: It’s exciting to say that, yes, we are a growth company — and the diverse, connected nature of our business is key to the growth.
With the pandemic keeping everyone indoors and online, we saw a huge jump in shopping across our sites and services. Yahoo Mail-based commerce grew seven times what it was last year and our overall commerce revenue spiked 187%. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles Day in China — we were prepared for all of those key shopping moments.
Paid subscriptions for properties like TechCrunch and Yahoo also surged as more people sought out trusted content during the pandemic. In the quarter, our overall premium subscriptions grew by nearly 20%, carried by triple digit growth for Yahoo Finance Premium and Extra Crunch Premium.
Our properties saw upticks in usage which delivered more ad and commerce revenue. Digital active users increased by over 4%. More active users mean more eyeballs on and engagement with ads. And more users mean more shopping across our portfolio.
Digital advertising was a major revenue driver for us, as well. Our Ad Platform advertiser revenue grew 41% compared to the prior year, powered by political, holiday campaigns and CTV advertising.
CTV is a particular focus area for Verizon Media. Ad spend for the medium grew by 25% last year due to the sharp increase in usage amid lockdowns. There are also a growing number of ad-supported streaming services which are attracting viewers and ad dollars. We help advertisers connect with audiences across a premium CTV environment. Our business in that area grew by 260% in the quarter and we expect even more growth moving forward.
Why did Verizon Media sell the Huffington Post to Buzzfeed last November? How are legacy digital media brands Yahoo and AOL, formerly known as Oath, been faring in today’s media/tech landscape?
Markman: The acquisition aligns the brands to bring new and differentiated content to consumers.
Now, more than ever, people want trusted and premium content. This past year has increased the importance of that content and its where legacy media brands, with an established, and trusted identity, can thrive and deliver value. You see that in our own numbers, with DAUs up 4% year-over-year.
But it’s also important for these brands to evolve and diversify, as we’ve done, unifying trusted content with unique commerce and advertising experiences.
Verizon Media recently joined the DPAA, a digital out-of-home media (DOOH) trade group. What role does Verizon Media play in DOOH?
Markman: We make it possible for the world’s largest brands to place ads wherever their audiences are — and that includes outside of the home. We were one of the first to make DOOH ad inventory available in an automated way through our Ad Platform. Buying those ads used to be a lot more manual, with less data for targeting. We’ve totally changed that and have made it easier than ever to serve and target relevant ads on digital screens in public spaces.
We’re really excited about the promise for this sector. Pre-pandemic, DOOH had been one of the fastest-growing ad channels. When COVID-19 hit, of course, there was certainly less traffic surrounding major billboards, on the roads and subways. However, there is significantly more foot traffic in essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and patient out-care centers. DOOH has evolved during this crisis to cater to those screens. We recognized this early on and launched a number of unique DOOH partnerships to meet the moment. We partnered with Cooler Screens, for example, to bring targeted DOOH experiences to essential retail locations via internet-connected cooler screen doors. The partnership enhances the in-store experience for shoppers while opening up omni-channel ad opportunities for brands.
With openings on the horizon, DOOH is set to grow this year due to pent-up demand from both consumers and advertisers. People will be traveling and outside of their homes more than ever while advertisers will be looking to connect with them on-the-go. It’s a watershed moment for this category and I expect investments to skyrocket.
What strategic partnerships are Verizon Media looking at?
Markman: One of the areas we’re focusing on right now is supporting advertisers and publishers as cookies go away. We launched an alternative to cookie-based ad tracking called ConnectID and are working on and seeing strong adoption.
ConnectID is a solution to support advertisers, publishers and consumers as the digital landscape evolves away from cookies as a way to manage and reach audiences online. It helps advertisers buy, measure and optimize ads while enabling publishers to manage, monetize and navigate audiences—all without third-party cookies. It can do that by leveraging our company’s strength in direct consumer relationships through our hundreds of millions of users, our diverse ID graph built around billions of daily, consent-based signals across our sites and services, and our full-stack Ad Platform.
We’re uniquely positioned to help advertisers and publishers navigate this moment and will be announcing a number of great ConnectID partners throughout the year.
From Verizon Media’s perspective, what was media consumption like during the pandemic and what do you expect in 2021?
Markman: The appetite for trusted content in 2020 was record breaking and will only continue to grow in 2021. But I also think content will need to offer more value than just being trusted. It will need to become more personalized and more actionable.
We’re working on bringing the best of our ecosystem to consumers through a highly personalized experience that’s unique to each individual’s interests and daily needs. Imagine logging on to any of our Yahoo homepages and seeing content, offers and videos that are specific to your passion points – it’s curation and customization on a whole different level. And experiences that you can trust.
Media brands should also focus on delivering personalized commerce alongside their content. You’re making content more actionable and useful for consumers by doing that. We’ll definitely be deepening our investment in commerce across our brands and products and launching several commerce experiences that will provide new opportunities for consumers and businesses.
Take betting, for example. If you’re checking sports scores on Yahoo Sports, you should also be able to place bets in the same content ecosystem. For sports betting, we’re currently live in six states and expect to be in three more states very soon (Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania). This is an area we believe can drive enormous growth for our company.
The bottom line is that consumer behavior and expectations are evolving. Media companies need to innovate to better serve these multifaceted users and the advertisers and publishers that want to reach them. At Verizon Media, we’ve created a unique and fully connected ecosystem that pairs consumers with their passions, while driving revenue and engagement for our partners.
Sir David Amess: Priest quits social media over MP last rites abuse – BBC News
A priest said he felt forced to delete his Twitter account after being accused of not doing enough to administer last rites to Sir David Amess.
Fr Jeffrey Woolnough said he rushed to the scene on 15 October when he heard the MP – a devout Catholic – had been stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
But the priest said police would not let him enter to deliver the sacrament as it was a crime scene.
Fr Woolnough said criticism he had since received was “hurtful”.
“Most people have been so kind with messages of support, others have accused me of capitulating at the scene,” he said.
“The police have a job to do. When I say I have to respect it, it doesn’t mean I agree with it.
“But I have to respect as a law-abiding citizen that the police would not allow me in and I had to find plan B, and plan B for me was prayer, and I had to pray on the spot, pray on the rosary.”
Fr Woolnough is the parish priest at St Peter’s Catholic Church, Eastwood, Southend, close to where Sir David was killed.
He said he “foolishly” tried to defend his actions on social media but it “stirred up a hornet’s nest” so he deleted his Twitter account.
“I was trying to let people know I had tried my very best but apparently my best wasn’t good enough,” he said.
Fr Woolnough said he had since had telephone conversations with “some really top priests in the hierarchy” who told him he “did the right thing”.
The “Amess amendment” has since been proposed to ensure access for Catholic priests, including at crime scenes.
The intention is to add it to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The man accused of killing Sir David will face trial next year. Ali Harbi Ali, 25, of Kentish Town in north London, is charged with murder and the preparation of terrorist acts.
An inquest into the death of Sir David is due to be opened by the Essex coroner on Wednesday.
Media Advisory: Minister Abbott to Introduce New Accessibility Legislation – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Honourable John G. Abbott, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, will be available to media to discuss proposed new accessibility legislation prior to debate in the House of Assembly today (Monday, October 25) at 12:00 p.m. in the media centre, East Block, Confederation Building.
Media covering the announcement will have the opportunity to join in person in the media centre or by teleconference. Media planning to participate should register with Khadija Rehma (email@example.com) by 10:00 a.m. today (Monday, October 22).
Prior to the announcement, a technical briefing for media will be provided at 11:00 a.m.
Media participating in the briefing will also have the opportunity to join in person in the media centre or by teleconference. Media who wish to participate in the technical briefing should RSVP to Khadija Rehma (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will provide the details and the required information.
Media must join the teleconference at 10:45 a.m. (NST) to be included on the call. For sound quality purposes, registered media are asked to use a land line if at all possible.
– 30 –
Michelle Hunt Grouchy
Children, Seniors and Social Development
Racism allegations on social media defamed Ottawa women, judge rules – CBC.ca
A judge has ordered an Ottawa woman to pay $100,000 in damages for embarking on what he called a “brutal and unempathetic campaign” against two women in a defamation case centred around a video posted just days after the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.
The defendant’s lawyer, Cedric Nahum, says he plans to appeal the decision, which also subjects his client to a permanent injunction that limits her speaking about the case.
“We found the decision quite disappointing. I think it could do a lot to muzzle conversation in relation to race issues,” said Nahum.
He also says the judge didn’t adequately take into account the perspective of his client Solit Isak, who identifies as Black, in the context of George Floyd’s death in interpreting the case.
The other side, meanwhile, called the judge’s decision a “vindication of their reputation” after a traumatic experience that included the loss of employment and threats against them and their family.
Allegations of racism on social media
The case followed a social media firestorm in June 2020 after a screenshot from the Snapchat account of Shania Lavallee was taken from a May 30 video of her sister Justine being pinned down by Shania’s boyfriend Gilmour Driscoll-Maurice — who held her hands behind her and had his knee on her back.
Isak saw the screenshot just days after Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Isak, who admitted to never seeing the video, proceeded to make more than 100 social media posts accusing the women of mocking Floyd’s death, tagging their employers, and encouraging other people to do the same and share information about them.
Those posts were also republished and amplified.
On June 1, Shania issued an apology online, saying in part, “I meant absolutely no disrespect and didn’t mean to hurt or offend anyone. In the video, they were play fighting as they always do and in retrospect I can see how the video could be taken out of context given the current situation and I now see how insensitive it is.
“It was wrong of me to be inconsiderate of the sensitive times at hand and by no means did I use this as a representation of what happened with George Floyd.”
Shania lost her job at Boston Pizza in Orléans, as well as a teaching job offer at the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Justine lost her job at the Canada Border Services Agency, as well as failed a character check in her application for work with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Lavallees said they also had to leave their home to avoid death threats and vandalism.
On June 5, the sisters’ lawyer asked Isak to take down her posts and issue an apology threatening to sue for defamation. Isak had filed a counterclaim by the end of that month.
In the summary of his decision, Justice Marc Smith said Isak “blindly embarked on a brutal and unempathetic campaign to destroy the lives of two young women” and didn’t have the factual basis for her claims of racism.
Shania had told court they had posted similar “play fighting” videos in the past and at no point in the video did they mention Floyd or refer to “police brutality.”
While they were not able to recover the video, which Snapchat deletes automatically after 24 hours, the plaintiffs provided statements from two friends who saw the video supporting that claim.
The judge accepted the plaintiff’s story and it wasn’t challenged by the defendant.
However, Isak’s lawyer said the particulars of the video were less important than the context of when it was published.
The defendant’s submissions noted around the same time, other viral images were being circulated online of a so-called “George Floyd challenge” where social media users appeared to imitate the kneeling position in jest.
“I don’t think that the judge was able to put himself in the place of a young Black person in the days after the murder of George Floyd,” Nahum said.
“He likely wouldn’t be able to do so as a white judge.”
Sisters ‘sensitive’ to acts of racism
The Lavallees’ lawyer Charles Daoust said it has been a “long, traumatic year for them, but they are happy now to be able to vindicate their reputations.”
“The message from the court is clear that people really should be careful before levelling very serious accusations on the internet, especially to have evidence,” said Daoust.
In a statement, the sisters said as members of the Indigenous community they are sensitive to acts of racism, but the events in 2020 “did not, in any way, relate to racism.”
In court, the plaintiffs filed Native Alliance of Quebec (NAQ) membership cards to claim they are Inuit. NAQ cards are not federally recognized identification.
The CBC asked which land claim organization they belong to, which is how official identification as Inuit is recognized, and Daoust said his clients had no further comment.
Limits of free speech
Isak is not required to issue an apology, but the permanent injunction prevents her from publishing any further “defamatory statements” about the Lavallees.
Nahum said his client is now saddled with $100,000 in debt at the beginning of her adult life and this raises concerns about other people who might seek to speak out against racism.
“When we’re looking at who has been told not to speak here, we’re looking at the voice of a young Black woman, as opposed to all the other news media outlets or other people who had commented on the situation,” Nahum said.
Hilary Young, a law professor at the University of New Brunswick, argued she doesn’t think the decision will have a chilling effect on people calling out racist behaviour.
“I think the law is clear that if there is some basis for you to conclude that someone is racist, there are protections of fair comment that will protect your right to state that opinion. But that’s not unlimited.” she said.
“If you harm someone’s reputation, your good intentions aren’t good enough to get you off the hook.”
Young said the judge did weigh Isak’s intention of denouncing racism in assessing damages and didn’t call for punitive damages to be paid on top of the general damages.
Social media has increased the use of permanent injunctions so defamatory posts can be removed in an effort to repair damaged reputations, she said.
It’s also become more common for private individuals to be involved in defamation cases, which used to primarily play out between public figures and journalists or publishers.
“Now in the internet era, you see a lot more cases where you just have individuals making allegations about other individuals and they haven’t done their research or done a lot of effort to get their facts right,” Young said.
Employers’ due diligence
The judge also said third parties not directly involved in the case should have done more diligence to review the evidence and the sisters’ version of the story.
Daoust said his clients are considering their options regarding the employers who fired the sisters or rescinded offers of employment.
In a statement, the Canada Border Services Agency said as a law enforcement agency its employees must be held to the highest standard of conduct, including in day-to-day activities. The agency said it has “no intention of revisiting its decision in this case.”
The RCMP said it could not comment on an individual’s security clearance for privacy reasons, and should an individual re-apply they would be evaluated according to Treasury Board standards.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board declined to comment on the judge’s decision. Boston Pizza did not respond to CBC’s request for comment.
Ottawa Morning7:54Racism allegations on social media defamed Ottawa women, judge rules
Manitobans can now get federal proof of COVID-19 vaccination for travel – Winnipeg Free Press
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