Jitters in digital media, ad tech's savior, and the Army's plan to win Gen Z


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It’s a panicky time for media, with consolidation sweeping up digital publishers, reports of layoffs at Splinter, Bustle, and Sports Illustrated, and remaining players scooping up the spoils. At some of these companies, the tensions are reaching a boiling point.

My colleague Ben Goggin reported that this is playing out in the form of fear and falling morale at Bustle Digital Group, based on his interviews with 24 current and former employees.

Why it matters: Bustle Digital Group has been one of the most acquisitive media companies of late, making it a bigger influence on the future of digital media.

Insiders say morale at Bustle Digital Group is cratering as it quietly axes staff and loses focus

Then the controversial Jim Heckman’s Maven, a 2-year-old platform for independent publishers, stirred backlash when it took over the venerable but troubled Sports Illustrated.

Maven said it would hire dozens of contractors to fuel the site, but to many critics, the plan smacked of the model popularized by Forbes and HuffPost that’s been associated with cheap, low-quality content.

How Jim Heckman — the slick businessman behind the mass layoffs at Sports Illustrated — became the most hated man in sports media

Here’s Heckman’s pitch to investors.

Here’s the investor deck that Jim Heckman is using to explain how he’ll grow Sports Illustrated

New to the Advertising and Media Insider newsletter? Sign up for your own here. Send tips or feedback to me at lmoses@businessinsider.com.

Elsewhere, Lauren Johnson profiled Jeff Green, the CEO of ad-tech company The Trade Desk. Green is seen as one of the most important bulwarks to Google’s advertising dominance — but as Lauren reported, The Trade Desk’s growing size is making it a lightning rod for criticism itself.

Meet The Trade Desk’s Jeff Green, ad-tech’s most loved CEO, who thinks he can save targeted advertising

Hot off the presses in marketing, Patrick Coffee reported on Disney’s decision to split its multi-billion dollar ad business — and how it shows the entertainment giant is gearing up to take on Netflix, Apple and others with its Disney+ streaming service next month.

Disney just shook up its $2-plus billion ad business as it prepares to battle Apple, Netflix, and Amazon for streaming audiences

Patrick also reported a series of stories on the US Army’s plans to fix its troubled efforts to win over new recruits. The pitch deck from the winning agency shows that while the Army might have a $4 billion budget and be funded by taxpayers, its game plan is not unlike other marketers trying to sway members of Gen Z.  

Pitch deck reveals how ad giant Omnicom won the US Army’s $4 billion marketing business. Its first ads are about to hit digital and social media.

And Tanya Dua noticed how several of the big DTC marketers are following their bigger brethren in spinning up their own content studios in the latest example of marketers forgoing traditional agencies. It’s likely they won’t abandon agencies altogether, but it’s another example of how that business is being eroded.

Popular direct-to-consumer brands like Away, Dirty Lemon, Glossier, and Mailchimp are pouring money into building content studios as they go beyond performance marketing

Here are other great stories from media, marketing, and advertising. (You can read most of the articles here by subscribing to BI Prime; use promo code AD2PRIME2018 for a free month.)

The top 14 talent managers for YouTube creators and influencers who are shaping the future of digital media

Ex-Snap exec Imran Khan has raised an additional $12.5 million from Rakuten, Lightspeed, and others for his e-commerce startup Verishop

Shopify is quickly gobbling up e-commerce. Its director of product reveals how avoiding the Amazon model helped fuel its meteoric rise.

The top 10 slides from Netflix’s groundbreaking first culture deck that experts say had the most impact

Exclusive data that predicted Netflix’s big Q2 subscriber miss suggests international growth has bounced back 

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