Posts tagged with "TechCrunch"

Yahoo takes minority stake in digital ad network Taboola

November 29, 2022

Yahoo is deepening its push into digital advertising, even as its competitors warn that the market is faltering, reports The New York Times.

The Internet pioneer, which was taken private in a $5 billion deal last year, is taking a roughly 25% stake in Taboola, the company known for serving up attention-grabbing links on websites, the chief executives of the companies said in an interview.

The deal is part of a 30-year exclusive advertising partnership that allows Yahoo to use Taboola’s technology to manage its sizable business in native advertising—ads that have the characteristics of traditional news and entertainment content.

Shares of Taboola have fallen nearly 80% over the past year, amid broader doldrums in the public and advertising markets—giving it a market capitalization of $455 million. Last January, when Taboola struck a deal to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, it was valued at $2.6 billion.

Executives at companies like Meta and TikTok have warned that advertisers skittish about the economy have pulled back on their spending. But Jim Lanzone, the chief executive of Yahoo, said in an interview that the deal with Taboola puts both companies in a good position for when the ad market revives.

“I’m thinking, you know, five, ten, 30 years,” Lanzone said. “Digital advertising has huge wind at its back over the long term.” He added that while the company will continue to try to bring in money in other ways, such as expanding its subscription business or investing in e-commerce, “we have hundreds of millions of people consuming news and sports and finance on market-leading properties that are heavily monetized through advertising — and will continue to be.”

Yahoo, a giant of the early internet, was eclipsed over the years by tech rivals like Alphabet’s Google and Meta’s Facebook. The company endured a messy power struggle and shaky leadership as it matured, leading to layoffs and shifts in strategy.

The company was taken private by the investment firm Apollo Global Management in the hopes that new leadership and a respite from the public markets would give it a chance to grow. Yahoo says it has about 900 million monthly users of its properties, which include AOL, TechCrunch, and Yahoo Sports, making it one of the largest destinations on the web.

oola, founded in 2007, specializes in native advertising, operating a sprawling advertising network over thousands of well-known websites, including CNBC, NBC News, and Insider.

The deal with Yahoo gives Taboola the exclusive license to sell native ads across Yahoo’s sites, and the companies will share revenue from those ad sales. The companies did not disclose the terms of the revenue split.

Yahoo, which will become Taboola’s largest shareholder, also will get a seat on the company’s board.

Research contact: @nytimes

Calm’s hilarious CNN ad campaign sent the meditation program flying up App Store charts

November 6, 2020

Meditation app Calm sponsored an hilarious marketing campaign during CNN’s coverage of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results this week—and it seems to have paid off for the business, according to a report by TechCrunch.

The app—which on most days offers mindful meditations, peaceful sounds and sleep stories—bought time during CNN’s “Key Race Alert” coverage to remind viewers s of the need to relax while ballots are counted.

According to data from third-party app store analytics and marketing firms, Sensor Tower and App Annie, these CNN advertisements appear to have helped substantially boost Calm’s downloads (as determined by the app’s chart rankings.)

On iPhone in the U.S., App Annie says Calm moved up 20 ranks from the day before Election Day to reach number 79 overall across both apps and games in the United States. It also reached number 1 in the U.S. Health & Fitness category.

Meanwhile, Sensor Tower found that the app moved up again on November 4—climbing 51 spots to reach number 68 among the top free iPhone apps on the U.S. App Store.

The firm notes that this is the highest the app has ranked since July 21, when it hit number 60—a jump that was likely boosted by the release October 30, it didn’t appear to have an impact the way that Styles’ Story had, Sensor Tower told TechCrunch.

A spokesperson for Calm explained the company’s decision to run the CNN ad campaign was about associating its brand with the anxiety that its meditations and relaxing sounds help to address.

“We understand the uncertainty of this election cycle can be a source of anxiety for many of us, especially as it coincides with an ongoing pandemic,” the spokesperson said, adding, “Our goal during CNN’s Key Race Alerts was to provide viewers a moment of Calm, and a reminder to take a deep breath during a stressful night.”

The company declined to confirm the third-party estimates, however.

In addition to CNN, the company ran Election Day ads on MSNBC, E!, HGTV, IFC, Freeform, the Discovery Family Channel and the Discovery Life Channel.

Research contact: @TechCrunch

Pokémon Stay? Niantic is updating Pokémon Go so you can play from home

April 17, 2020

Pokémon Go will soon get a bit easier to play at home—even from that indent you have created in your couch over the past few weeks, Fast Company reports.

The augmented reality mobile game was a smash hit when AR pioneer Niantic launched it in 2016. That may be eons in technology time—but Pokémon Go is still quite popular to

However, the COVID-19 lockdowns have made the most compelling features of Pokémon Go so impracticable, so, San Francisco-based Niantic has announced that it is working on “new and exciting gameplay that can be enjoyed both from home and when we’re able to go out and explore together again.”

According to Fast Company, Remote Raids is the big change coming to players nextRaid Battles, added to the game in 2017, enable players to get together at a physical spot to battle powerful pokémon. “Soon,” Niantic says, “you’ll be able to join any Raid Battle you can see on the Nearby screen or that you can tap on the map.”

Indeed, TechCrunch reports the feature will be “live in the coming days.”

Niantic teased other updates in the works, “including improved battle-screen design” and bonus Field Research “activities that you can complete from home.” Check out Niantic’s blog for more details.

Research contact: @FastCompany

Foul ‘play’? Lawsuit accuses Fortnite developer of designing game to be addictive

October 10, 2019

Epic Games—the North Carolina-based software development company that banked more than $3 billion in profits in 2018, alone, off the game Fortnite, according to TechCrunch—has been accused in a lawsuit of designing the online video competition to be addictive.

The game—which is free to play, but makes money selling digital items—has about 250 million players worldwide; many of them, too obsessed to turn off their screens.

The Canadian lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, reportedly likens the game play to taking cocaine, in terms of dependency, CNET reported on October 7.

A legal notice was filed Friday in Quebec Superior Court accusing US-based Epic Games of designing the game specifically to hook users, Canada’s Global News reported on October 4. Players have had to seek treatment for their addiction, according to the complaint.

Indeed, the filing says, “The addiction to the Fortnite game has real consequences for the lives of players: Several don’t eat or shower, and no longer socialize.”

Jean-Philippe Caron, the lawyer who brought the lawsuit, alleged that the game’s creators enlisted the help of “psychologists to help make the game addictive.”

He accused Epic Games of failing to “warn about the risks and dangers inherent in their product.” Similar accusations have been lodged in lawsuits against tobacco companies.

Epic Games didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by CNET.

Research contact: @CNET