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The Snapchat Monetization Problem

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There’s no doubt that messaging app Snapchat is on the brink of something huge.

The user metrics continue to impress, and the app just recently passed Twitter with 150 million daily active users. Snapchat has also vaulted past Instagram in time spent by users, making it the second-most used app by iPhone users, trailing only Facebook.

With a median user age of 18, Snapchat’s business premise is that it allows marketers to tap into the mysterious Millennial and Gen Z audiences that continue to perplex many brands. However, the jury is out on whether the app is delivering on this promise.

There’s now more than $2.65 billion of venture capital at stake that depends on solving the Snapchat monetization problem.

The Snapchat Monetization Problem

Today’s infographic shows the results from a survey of Snapchat users by NewsCred, a content marketing platform. The data paints a picture of Snapchat as an app that engages users, while whiffing on the branded content it needs to generate revenue.

Snapchat Monetization Problem

Courtesy of: NewsCred

In other words, if Snapchat is counting on advertising as its main monetization driver, it is going to need to get more users engaging with branded content. Then, Snapchat must able to prove that to advertisers through targeting, analytics, and other useful metrics.

Snapchat is Getting Serious

In the first half of 2016, Snapchat raised $1.8 billion in its Series F round at a flat valuation of $16 billion.

This says two things.

First, with an estimated $59 million in revenue in 2015, investors are worried about the Snapchat monetization problem. Otherwise, the company’s valuation would have risen from the previous Series E which took place over a year prior.

Second, this war chest of new capital is going to be used to pounce on revenue opportunities, as well as providing better analytics to advertisers.

To the latter point, Snapchat is now making major moves to deliver on the revenue front. The company recently poached a key ad exec from Facebook. The app also launched a revamped Snapchat Discover portal that allows major publishers like Cosmopolitan or BuzzFeed to get in on the action to share ad revenue. Snapchat is also finally getting serious about metrics, and that’s why the company signed with Nielsen to start measuring the performance of ads like a television network would.

Will Snapchat’s revenues ever measure up to its user growth and marketing promise to advertisers? For now, the Snapchat monetization challenge remains, and investors are divided on the company’s future prospects.

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Animation: How Tech is Eating the Brand World

Changing consumer expectations have created a harsh environment for traditional brands to operate in—will tech companies make them obsolete?

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How Technology is Eating the Brand World

Building a brand with an imperishable competitive edge can be difficult.

Technology companies however, are redefining what that edge means. By hastily responding to emerging consumer needs and leveraging the power of brand, these companies can continuously create meaningful solutions for real problems with scale.

Today’s animated chart highlights the most valuable brands in 2019 versus 2001, according to the annual “Best Global Brands” ranking by Interbrand. It illustrates the degree to which technology companies have been able to scale into massive brands over a short time frame, supplanting some of the best known companies in the world.

What is Brand Value, and How is it Measured?

Interbrand has created and consistently used a robust formula to measure brand value. Brand value is the Net Present Value (NPV) or the present value of the earnings that a brand is forecasted to generate in the future.

The formula evaluates brands based on their financial forecast, brand role, and brand strength. The full methodology can be found here.

Tech Reigns Supreme

In 2001, the cumulative brand value was $988 billion. Today, that value stands at $2.1 trillion and represents an average CAGR of 4.4%. Over the years, global tech giants have swiftly climbed the ranks, and now represent a significant amount of the total brand value.

In fact, with a combined brand value of almost $700 billion, tech companies account for half of the top 10 most valuable brands in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple holds the title for the world’s most valuable brand in 2019—for the seventh year running.

Only 31 brands from the 2001 ranking remain on the Best Global Brands list today, including Disney, Nike, and Gucci. Coca-Cola and Microsoft are the few who have remained in the top 10.

Below is the full list of the world’s most valuable brands:

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)1-Yr Value ChangeIndustry
#1Apple$234B9%Technology
#2Google$168B8%Technology
#3Amazon$125B24%Technology
#4Microsoft$108B17%Technology
#5Coca-Cola$63B-4%Beverages
#6Samsung$61B2%Technology
#7Toyota$56B5%Automotive
#8Mercedes Benz$51B4%Automotive
#9McDonald’s$45B4%Restaurants
#10Disney$44B11%Entertainment
#11BMW$41B1%Automotive
#12IBM$40B-6%Business Services
#13Intel40B-7%Technology
#14Facebook$40B-12%Technology
#15Cisco$35B3%Business Services
#16Nike$32B7%Retail
#17Louis Vuitton$32B14%Retail
#18Oracle$26B1%Business Services
#19General Electric$25B22%Diversified
#20SAP$25B10%Business Services
#21Honda$24B3%Automotive
#22Chanel$22B11%Retail
#23American Express$22B13%Technology
#24Pepsi$20B-1%Beverages
#25J.P Morgan$19B8%Finance
#26Ikea$18B5%Retail
#27UPS$18B7%Logistics
#28Hermes$18B9%Retail
#29Zara$17B-3%Retail
#30H&M$16B-3%Retail
#31Accenture$16B14%Business Services
#32Budweiser$16B3%Alcohol
#33Gucci$16B23%Retail
#34Pampers$16B-5%FMCG
#35Ford$14B2%Automotive
#36Hyundai$14B5%Automotive
#37Gillette$14B-18%FMCG
#38Nescafe$14B4%Beverages
#39Adobe$13B20%Technology
#40Volkswagen$13B6%Automotive
#41Citi$13B10%Financial Services
#42Audi$13B4%Automotive
#43Allianz$12B12%Insurance
#44ebay$12B-8%
#45Adidas$12B11%Fashion
#46Axa$12B6%Insurance
#47HSBC$12B5%Finance
#48Starbucks$12B23%Restaurants
#49Philips$12B-4%Electronics
#50Porsche$12B9%Automotive
#51L’oreal$11B4%FMCG
#52Nissan$11B-6%Automotive
#53Goldman Sachs$11B-4%Finance
#54Hewlett Packard$11B4%Technology
#55Visa$11B19%Technology
#56Sony$10B13%Technology
#57Kelloggs$10B-2%FMCG
#58Siemens$10B1%Technology
#59Danone$10B4%FMCG
#60Nestle$9B7%Beverages
#61Canon$9B-9%Technology
#62Mastercard$9B25%Technology
#63Dell Technologies$9BNewTechnology
#643M$9B-1%Technology
#65Netflix$9B10%Entertainment
#66Colgate$9B2%FMCG
#67Santander$8B13%Finance
#68Cartier$8B7%Luxury
#69Morgan Stanley$8B-7%Finance
#70Salesforce$8B24%Technology
#71Hewlett Packard Enterprise$8B-3%Technology
#72PayPal$8B15%Technology
#73FedEx$7B2%Logistics
#74Huawei$7B-9%Technology
#75Lego$7B5%FMCG
#76Caterpillar$7B19%Diversified
#77Ferrari$6B12%Automotive
#78Kia$6B-7%Automotive
#79Corona$6B15%Alcohol
#80Jack Daniels$6B13%Alcohol
#81Panasonic$6B-2%Technology
#82Dior$6B16%Fashion
#83DHL$6B2%Logistics
#84John Deere$6B9%Diversified
#85Land Rover$6B-6%Automotive
#86Johnson & Johnson$6B-8%Retail
#87Uber$6BNewTechnology
#88Heineken$5,6264%Alcohol
#89Nintendo$6B18%Entertainment
#90MINI$5B5%Automotive
#91Discovery$5B-4%Entertainment
#92Spotify$5B7%Technology
#93KFC$5B1%Restaurants
#94Tiffany & Co$5B-5%Fashion
#95Hennessy$5B12%Alcohol
#96Burberry$5B4%Fashion
#97Shell$5B-3%Energy
#98LinkedIn$5BNewTechnology
#99Harley Davidson$5B-7%Automotive
#100Prada$5B-1%Fashion

Since 2001—the first year the report featured 100 brands—several tech companies have joined and climbed their way to the top of the list, while 137 notable brands dropped off entirely, including Nokia and MTV.

In an interesting turn of events, Facebook dropped out of the top 10, and into 14th place after a volatile year. The move however, is not surprising. The tech giant has been mired in controversies, ranging from data privacy issues to prioritizing political influence.

Which Brands Are Growing the Fastest?

2019’s fastest growing brands also signals tech domination, with Mastercard, Salesforce and Amazon leading the charge.

The companies in this ranking experienced a significant increase in their brand value year-over-year (YoY).

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)YoY Growth
#1Mastercard$9B25%
#2Salesforce$8B24%
#3Amazon$125B24%
#4Gucci$16B23%
#5Starbucks$12B23%
#6Adobe$13B20%
#7Visa$11B19%
#8Caterpillar$7B19%
#9Nintendo$5B18%
#10Microsoft$109B17%

According to Interbrand, the success of these brands may be attributed to their ability to anticipate rapidly changing customer expectations.

While the relationship between business performance and brand equity has been a widely debated topic for decades, it is clear that customer satisfaction bolsters brand equity, and encourages impressive financial results.

Disrupt, or Be Disrupted

Beyond anticipating changing needs, some of the most successful brands also cater to a younger customer base. This is the most evident in luxury and retail—the two fastest growing sectors for the second consecutive year.

This audience is tech-first in their buying habits and increasingly demand more elevated and shareable experiences. As a result, traditional brands across all sectors are innovating to keep up with this audience, and some are essentially becoming tech companies in the process.

For example, Gucci attributes their success to finding the perfect blend between creativity and technology. The company that once relied on its heritage, now focuses heavily on ecommerce and social media to engage with their Gen Z customers.

Similarly, Walmart recently announced that they are employing virtual reality headsets and machine-learning-powered robots in an attempt to compete with Amazon.

Will traditional companies ultimately become tech companies, or simply get eaten alive?

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Who Owns Your Favorite News Media Outlet?

A revealing look at consolidation and ownership of news media outlets in the United States. See who owns news media, and where ‘news deserts’ exist.

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who owns U.S. news media outlets

Who Owns Your Favorite News Media Outlet?

It’s no secret that news media is a tough industry.

For various reasons — from tech disruption to changing media consumption habits — the U.S. has seen a net loss of 1,800 local newspapers over the past 15 years. As regional newspapers are bundled together, and venture-backed digital media brands expand their portfolios, the end result is a trend towards increased consolidation.

Today’s graphic, created by TitleMax, is a broad look at who owns U.S. news media outlets.

Escaping the News Desert

As outlets battle the duopoly of Google and Facebook for advertising revenue, the local news game has become increasingly difficult.

As a result, news deserts have been springing up all over America:

What happens when times get tough?

One option is to simply go out of business, while another traditional solution is to combine forces through consolidation. While not ideal, the latter option at least provides a potential route to revenue and cost synergies that make it easier to compete in a challenging environment.

Nation of Consolidation

Though the numbers have decreased in recent years, regional news media still reaches millions of people each day.

Below is a look at the top 20 owners of America’s newspapers:

Parent CompaniesTotal PapersExample brands
New Media Investment Group451Patriot Ledger, The Columbus Dispatch, The Providence Journal
Gannett216USA Today, Detroit Free Press, Arizona Republic
Digital First Media158Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Denver Post
Adams Publishing Group144The Charlotte Sun, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
CNHI114Niagara Gazette, The Huntsville Item, The Lebanon Reporter
Lee Enterprises100Arizona Daily Sun, St. Louis Post Dispatch
Ogden Newspapers81The Maui News, The Toledo Chronicle, Salem News
Tribune Publishing77Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun
Berkshire Hathaway Media75Buffalo News, Winston-Salem Journal, Omaha World-Herald
Shaw Media71Suburban Life Magazine, Putnam County Record
Boone Newspapers66The Austin Daily Herald, The Charlotte Gazette
Hearst Corp.66San Francisco Chronicle, Seattlepi.com, Houston Chronicle
Paxton Media Group58Daily Corinthian, Connersville News-Examiner
Landmark Media Enterprises55Citrus County Chronicle, The News-Enterprise
Community Media Group51Lafayette Leader, The Wellsboro Gazette
AIM Media50Odessa American, El Nuevo Heraldo
McClatchy49Idaho Statesman, Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee
Advance Publications46The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, The Oregonian, NJ.com
Rust Communications44Cherokee Chronicle Times, Southeast Missourian
News Media Corp.43Cheyenne Minuteman, Brookings Register, Newport News Times

Source

Turnover in this segment of the market has been brisk. In fact, more than half of existing newspapers have changed ownership in the past 15 years, some multiple times. For example, the LA Times is now in the hands of its third owner since 2000, after being purchased by billionaire biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong.

The industry may be facing another dramatic drop off in ownership diversity as the two largest players, New Media Investment Group and Gannett, are on the path to merging. If shareholders give the thumbs-up during the vote this November, Gannett will have amassed the largest online audience of any American news provider.

The Flying Vs: Vox and Vice

It isn’t just regional papers being swept up in the latest round of mergers and acquisitions — new media is getting into the mix as well.

Vox Media recently inked a deal to acquire New York Media, the firm behind New York Magazine, Vulture, and The Cut.

I think you’re going to see that trend [of consolidation] across the industry. I just hope it’s done for the right reasons. You see too many of these things done for financial engineering.

– Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media

Meanwhile, Vice recently acquired Refinery29 for $400 million, giving it access to a new audience skewed towards millennial women. This match-up seems awkward on the surface, but it allows advertisers to reach a broader cross-section of people within each ad ecosystem.

Both companies announced layoffs in the past year, and this restructuring may help both companies win as they consolidate resources.

The Bottom Line

While news media isn’t quite as consolidated as the broader media ecosystem, it’s certainly trending in that direction. Thousands of American communities that had local newspapers in 2004 now have no news coverage at all, while remaining papers are increasingly becoming units within an umbrella company, with no direct stake in community reporting.

That said, until the issue of monetization is definitively sorted out, consolidation may be the only way to keep the presses from stopping.


About the Graphic

This list of top 100 news sites was compiled using the following criteria:

– The top “digital-native” news outlets by monthly unique visitors (Pew Research and ComScore, excluding sports)
– The top newspapers by average Sunday circulation (Pew Research and Alliance for Audited Media)
– Alexa’s top sites under the category of news (U.S. only, excluding user-generated)

Note: The graphic has been updated to reflect changes in ownership for Refinery29, Gizmodo, and Jezebel.

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