Digital Media Consolidation, WSJ Reorg, Best Life Digital Relaunch, Instant Articles Monetization Options, Women in Media, AEM Mobile Tip: Hiding Projects

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news and tips for media industry pros! This week, we’re sharing stories about Discovery’s $100 million merger of millennial-focused digital media properties, a newsroom reorganization and print update at The Wall Street Journal, the relaunch of Best Life as a digital magazine, new ways publishers and advertisers can make money on Facebook Instant Articles, and more.


  • Consolidation in the digital media business continued with Discovery Communications announcing it is investing $100 million in a new company that will bring together Thrillist Media Group, NowThis Media, and The Dodo, along with Discovery’s Seeker network and SourceFed Studios, Variety reported. Heading the company will be former Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer (pictured). While the millennial-focused brands will maintain their own editorial identity, Discovery will provide shared corporate services: “Each of our brands has found great success independently, but with consolidation of digital content companies around the corner, there is extraordinary value in all existing under one multi-brand roof,” Lerer said in a statement. The merged company, called Group Nine Media, will generate 3.5 billion monthly video views globally, putting it among the five largest digital media companies in the U.S., the report said.
  • Wall Street Journal EIC Gerard Baker announced a major newsroom reorg that shifts operations away from its current print-focused publishing cycle toward a more digital-first approach, according to FishBowlNY. For one, stories will be shorter, with “no excuse for a single otiose word or punctuation mark in our writing,” he said in a memo to staff. Also, high-impact features will be published earlier in the day, when readership is higher, and digital-only stories will get more attention. Along with that, the print edition will get a makeover, including “a better mix of stories of type and length, for a more attractive and varied layout that engages busy readers with new sidebars and boxes, better graphics, more photos, and other ways into stories,” Baker said.
  • Best Life magazine is being resurrected online, led by David Zinczenko, the original editor of the Rodale luxury extension of Men’s Health. Launched in 2004, the magazine ceased publication in 2009 following the financial crash, and in 2012, Zinczenko left Rodale, Adweek said. Since then, he launched his own company, helped with the relaunch of Men’s Fitness, and rebuilt the Eat This, Not That franchise he acquired from Rodale. Still, he remained interested in the Best Life brand and when the opportunity presented itself, Zinczenko acquired the title and is relaunching it as a digital pub, according to the report. Best Life “was built to serve a giant void that existed in the men’s market, and now, more than a decade later, that void is even more evident,” he said. Zinczenko is looking to lure luxury brands like Tiffany & Co., which has signed on for the launch with display ads, native content, and branded videos, Adweek said.
  • Facebook released new ways for publishers to make money using Instant Articles, including video and carousel ads. A VentureBeat post said the move is meant to keep publishers and advertisers from turning to competing offerings, like Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages. One new option is to use direct sold ad campaigns, which let advertisers reuse their content, meaning they’ll be able to save money and ensure the same experience across all properties. Meanwhile, video and carousel options are available for those using the Facebook’s Audience Network. “These high-value native ad formats provide a more engaging experience for people reading Instant Articles, driving performance for advertisers and revenue for publishers,” said Instant Articles product manager Harshit Agarwal.

On the Technology for Publishing Blog

  • Women in Media: This month’s installment looks at why there’s a lack of women running media companies, Adobe’s effort to help women succeed, a National Humanities Medal for “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross, Greta Van Susteren’s next move, and more.
  • In her new Adobe Experience Manager Mobile Tip, Monica Murphy explains the Hide Project feature, which lets you decrease the number of projects shown in the project list.
  • And don’t miss our latest infographic pick! It highlights magazine industry trends with some surprising facts and stats.

Photo: Variety/Courtesy of Ben Lerer

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Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.