Bezos Signals the Changing of the Guard?

Digital publishing news for August 6, 2013

The Washington Post Company has agreed to sell its namesake newspaper and affiliated publications to Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of for 250 million in cash. Bezos will be the sole owner of The Washington Post and it will go back to being a privately held company once the deal goes through.

As you may have guessed, The Washington Post has all the details of the sale. “Seattle-based Amazon will have no role in the purchase; Bezos himself will buy the news organization and become its sole owner when the sale is completed, probably within 60 days. The Post Co. will get a new, still undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without the newspaper.”

On a side note, it seems that this year Allen & Co.’s Sun Valley Conference may have been a catalyst for the deal with The Post. Boston Red Sox owner and new owner of The Boston Globe, John Henry, and The New York Times Company (previous owner of The Globe) President and CEO Mark Thompson were also in attendance at this year’s Sun Valley Conference.

More Comment Innovation

Adweek has a new report on a new commenting system that Atlantic Media’s online publication Quartz has deployed. Their new feature “lets readers weigh in on—and publish comments right next to—individual paragraphs within articles rather than in a separate section relegated to the bottom of the page.” Quartz Publisher Jay Lauf says, “the gist of it is to try to foster more productive and interesting and a higher standard of commenting on the kind of content we do.”

If this commenting style takes off, it could lead to more meaningful discourse and more engagement with our articles.


Diggs Native Approach

Digg is taking a native approach to sponsored content on their site. Digiday has a new article on how Digg staffers have been working closely with brands to create native ads for their site. “The vision is to craft a new type of native advertising that not only involves editorial participation but is driven by the editorial team, which knows best what types of advertisers will resonate with the Digg audience. The ad sits in the editorial stream. The difference between these ads and other native ads that run on other sites is that Digg’s editorial team writes the content.”

Betaworks (parent company of Digg) head of monetization Mike Rothman said,”rather than speed dating, brands can work with a point person at Betaworks to develop custom campaigns using the best parts of products.”

“It looks like a media company where you have some kind of in-house service capabilities in addition to amplification platform,” says Rothman.

Estée Lauder Taps Hearst For Content

Digiday has the scoop on Estée Lauder working with Hearst’s “custom content unit” to create content for their new Flipboard magazine. “Hearst’s custom content unit worked with the brand on developing a slate of both original and recycled beauty and lifestyle content from Hearst pubs Elle, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar in order to create The Estée Lauder Beauty Book.”

The content created for the Flipboard magazine has a special purpose.”The Flipboard magazine is a vehicle to promote a revamped Estée Lauder product, Advanced Night Repair, and includes full-page interstitial ads for it  throughout the publication, along with links to positive reviews of the product from blogs like and”

This type of content creation service could be big business for publishers: “it falls in the “premium” realm, where brands are willing to pay well,” writes Digiday.

New Time CEO is Already Making Moves

Adweek is reporting that Joe Ripp, the newly appointed CEO of Time Inc. has hired Jeff Bairstow as executive vice-president and CFO. “Bairstow and Ripp have a long history of working together, first at Dendrite International, a drug software company where Ripp was president and COO after leaving Time Warner and where Bairstow was CFO. In 2010, Ripp hired Bairstow as CFO at regional newspaper chain Journal Register Co. where Ripp was chairman.”

Adweek points out that, “Ripp is seen as a quasi-insider because of his long history at Time Inc. (he was its former CFO), his pick for CFO may signal that he wants to bring in leaders who won’t have any sentimentality when it comes to making tough financial decisions.”


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