Media on the Move: Week of January 27, 2020

By Georgina Rupp

The Year Ahead in Media: Expect Consolidation, Audio, and a Look Toward Brand Equity

Media consolidation was a common theme in 2019, but experts don’t think it’s over. Toward the end of last year, Vice Media Group acquired Refinery29, Group Nine acquired PopSugar, and Vox Media and New York Media combined — all within a two-month period. Looking ahead in the new decade, industry thought leaders say digital brands will continue to be bought up and acquired. 

News consumption is changing, of course. Social media aside, audio is playing a bigger role than before with podcasts on the rise and streaming wars on the cusp of eruption. A report by Forrester predicts that podcast ads will hit $1 billion in media spend in 2020 and, as greater competition appears in streaming services, consumers will drive pricing wars and demand tiered service bundles. 

While media businesses recognize that relying on advertising is not sustainable in the long-term, advertisements are remaining a high-margin business in the space. Sara Fischer, media reporter at Axios, which is an advertising-driven digital company, weighed in on this and more on the Digiday Podcast

In 2020, she predicts, companies will need to tap into brand equity in order to build out a greater focus on consumers rather than relying on advertisements. Consumer subscriptions continue to present a challenge, but some publications are paving the way with successful brand equity– just think about the events led by Vogue with the Met Gala or Vanity Fair with New Establishment.

It will certainly be a year — and a decade — to watch as changes sweep across media players from journalists to major conglomerates.


  • Google launched an audio news service for Google Assistant. The service will offer a customized news feed with content from CBS, Fox News, CNN, as well as other media partners.

New York Times

  • Kevin Delaney joined the New York Times Opinion department after leaving his position as editor and co-CEO of Quartz in October.


  • Guardian Media Group has named a new CEO: academic publishing veteran Annette Thomas will assume the position starting in March.

Business Insider

  • Amanda Perelli has launched a new weekly newsletter at Business Insider, “Influencer Dashboard,” focusing on YouTube, Instagram, and the influencer industry.
  • Martin Coulter has taken on the role of technology reporter, following a similar role as technology reporter at Financial Times.
  • Jennifer Ortakales became the small business reporter and assistant editor at Business Insider. She was previously an associate distribution editor for video at the publication.


  • After five years as a senior health-tech correspondent at Business Insider, Erin Brodwin will join STAT as a health-tech reporter covering the healthcare ambitions of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.


  • Supriya Batra joined Bloomberg News as a digital news editor. She was previously a fact check reporting intern at AFP.


  • STORES Magazine released its final print edition in the December issue.


  • Joe Uchill has departed from his role as Cybersecurity reporter at Axios to operate as a freelancer.

Verizon Media

  • Verizon Media Group laid off 150 staffers last month. Verizon’s portfolio of media brands includes Yahoo, AOL, TechCrunch and HuffPost.

MIT Technology Review

  • Will Douglas Heaven has joined the MIT Tech Review as senior AI editor.

Health IT Answers

  • The media sites HITECH Answers, Health Data Answers, and RCM Answers all merged into

Boston Common

  • Abby Bielagus started as Editor-in-Chief at Boston Common in the new year.

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