Among other implications, Verizon’s planned merger with AOL is raising consumer privacy concerns among critics. “Whether or not the combination of a major online advertiser with the largest mobile-services provider raises substantial antitrust concerns, it raises extremely substantial and urgent privacy concerns,” said Harold Feld, SVP of Public Knowledge, a consumer-advocacy group, tells the National Journal.
On the heels of AOL’s agreement to merge with Verizon, the Web giant is reportedly considering a spinoff of its Huffington Post unit. “The talks have been most serious with Axel Springer, the German media conglomerate, but a number of private-equity firms have also expressed interest in the high-profile property,” Re/code reports. “Sources said The Huffington Post has been valued at above $1 billion in this scenario, which would either be a complete sale or, more likely, structured as a joint venture.”
For publishers, the Knight Digital Media Center pinpoints 10 factors that make a successful digital transition more likely. For starters, “In addition to the expectation of innovation on digital platforms, newsrooms [should] be given a framework and repeated permission to reduce traditional coverage and print production activity as they [see] fit,” writes Michele McLellan, senior programming consultant for the Media Center.
Reed Hastings graciously gives linear TV another 20 years to live. Speaking at the Re:publica conference, last week, Netflix’s CEO said: “We will come to see that linear TV declines every year for the next 20 years … and that internet TV rises every year for the next 20 years.” Along the way, “Netflix will focus more on producing original content and owning the global rights to distribute … shows and movies,” Quartz reports, paraphrasing Hastings’ speech.
Despite a year-over-year revenue increase of 45%, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is getting a new CEO. “Its chief operating officer, Daniel Zhang, will replace Jonathan Lu as chief executive,” The Wall Street Journal reports, adding that the change comes “in the wake of concerns about inefficiency.”
Taking a page from the ad department, editors at The New York Times recently modified a story based on readers’ geography. Regarding the feature, "The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up," Nieman Lab writes: “It knows what county you’re in and alters the story text depending on your location.” Gregor Aisch, a graphics editor at NYT, tells Nieman Lab that he decided to use readers’ IP addresses to get a rough sense of their location.