CMO Today: Google Reports Strong Growth Despite YouTube Headaches

By Mike Shields Features Dow Jones Newswires

GOOGLE MACHINE: Alphabet Inc. delivered another gangbuster quarter, as the Google owner recorded a 29% jump in net profit and 19% growth in Google's ad revenue to $21.4 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal. And if you were wondering if the company's executives would sound flummoxed over the recent string of marketers pulling spending from YouTube following some very unfortunate ad placements, you've got the wrong company. There was no sign of a financial impact so far, and they touted YouTube's revenue growth as a strength. (To be sure, the ad pullback could still be felt in the second quarter.) Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company had done "thousands and thousands of calls" with advertisers to address the issue and point to new safeguards. In the meantime, the company talked up the growth of mobile search and mobile shopping, as well as the budding impact of machine learning for both consumer products and better, smarter ads, CMO Today reports.

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APPLETUBE: Can a product with 20 million subscribers be seen as an underdog? Especially if it comes from Apple? It doesn't make sense, but Apple Music often feels like an afterthought in the streaming world in light of Spotify's ascent (50 million subscribers) as well Pandora and even Tidal. For its part, Apple is thinking much bigger than being a digital jukebox. It wants to turn Apple Music into a music-oriented video hub, reports Bloomberg. "A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists," says Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine. "I'm trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture." Sounds like the wannabe heir to MTV. But it's not easy to turn a background listening medium that people consume during commutes and workouts into a lean-forward entertainment vehicle. Just ask Spotify, which made a splashy push into video content last year and seems to have little to show for it. Regardless, Apple Music may release up to 10 original series by the end of the year. If there's anything the world needs, it's more TV shows.

NEW WORLD SERIES: We've heard of mergers in the cable business, but not many like this. Starting next month, ESPN 2 will start airing a show from the MLB Network, "Intentional Talk," for an hour each afternoon during the baseball season, and a half hour each day during the off-season, reports Variety. If you were wondering what a leaner ESPN might look like in an increasingly anti-cable-bundle world, apparently it includes renting shows from other networks. Don't expect a wave of such outsourcing. The sports network is still going to air all of its high-profile shows like "Monday Night Football," but the MLB/ESPN pact could represent an interesting sign of things to come. Why spend money programming afternoons, even with reruns, when it's hard enough to get people to watch shows live in primetime? Of course, the danger is if and when viewers (and then cable distributors who really pay the bills) start to notice.

GOODFUL MOVE: BuzzFeed has continued to roll out new video brands, often on Facebook, that may or may not carry the BuzzFeed brand. The textbook example is Tasty, known for its short clips of eye-catching pastries and brunch dishes being prepared at high speed--which has become a monster hit. Another food-oriented video franchise focused on healthy dishes, Goodful, has also proven quite popular among the Facebook crowd. But in this case, it was conceived and launched as a joint venture between BuzzFeed and the consumer snack giant Mondelez International, reports CMO Today. This origin was hardly evident to consumers, as the only Mondelez branding was the occasional close-up on products like a box of the healthy snack Good Thins. This collaboration would seem to prove that brands can produce content that works, with the right help. Alas, Mondelez is now handing Goodful over to BuzzFeed. In this case, the two companies are sticking with what they are best at, and Mondelez will revert back to being just another BuzzFeed advertiser.

Elsewhere

A federal probe focused on Fox News is looking beyond settlement payments paid to women who made sexual harassment claims, to the overall environment at the cable network. [ CNN]

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NBC News President Noah Oppenheim talks about his plans for Megyn Kelly and his reaction to the recent turmoil at Fox News. [ Hollywood Reporter]

Cheddar sat down with WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell, who talked about how ad agencies are grappling with the power of Facebook and Google and his hopes for Snapchat. [ Cheddar]

Facebook will now let video creators make money from ads when people pirate their videos, via a product called "Rights Manager." [ Recode]

Only a handful of former Yahoo executives are set to play a leading role once Verizon Communications fully completes its acquisition of the web portal in the coming weeks. [ Recode]

Following Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly's recent departures, Fox News host Sean Hannity's star continues to rise at the network and in the talk radio industry. [ Bloomberg]

The ad holding company MDC Partners Inc. reported a first quarter loss and fell short of Wall Street's expectations. [ Yahoo Finance]

If you want to hang out at swanky hotel bars in Cannes during the upcoming advertising festival, you'd better pay for a pass to the official event. Festival organizers are considering restricting bar access during the day to badge-holders (i.e. people who shell out a few thousand dollars for passes). [ CampaignUS]

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2017 08:03 ET (12:03 GMT)