Media Insider: AP Launches E-commerce Site, Deadspin Staff Laid Off, House Votes to Ban TikTok - Living Strong Television Network
Media Insider: AP Launches E-commerce Site, Deadspin Staff Laid Off, House Votes to Ban TikTok

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

AP launches e-commerce site with Taboola
Axios | Sara Fischer

The Associated Press is launching an e-commerce site called AP Buyline, powered by Taboola. It’s part of a broader effort by the AP to diversify its business by adding more consumer revenue. The company, which has historically made most of its money from licensing its content to other media organizations, redid its website last year to boost consumer traffic and advertising revenue. The new shopping effort will launch on March 18, beginning with personal finance recommendations in categories such as credit cards, investments, insurance and retirement savings. Additional shopping categories, such as home products, beauty and fashion, will launch in April. The content, which includes product reviews, will be created by a team at Taboola that will work closely with the AP to adhere to its standards and editorial style.

Also from Axios: Reddit gets ready for its IPO, setting a top valuation of $6.4 billion.

Deadspin Sells to European Media Company, Leaving Staff Behind
New York Times | Katie Robertson

Sports news website Deadspin has been sold to a European digital media company. Deadspin’s owner, G/O Media, operates several digital media brands, including Gizmodo, Kotaku and The Onion. Jim Spanfeller, the chief executive, told staff members in an email that the company had recently been approached about a deal by “a newly formed digital media company” called Lineup Publishing. Spanfeller said the board accepted the offer because of “the buyer’s editorial plans for the brand, tough competition in the sports journalism sector and a valuation that reflected a sizable premium from our original purchase price for the site.” He did not disclose the deal price. Spanfeller said that the new owner would not be bringing on any of the website’s existing staff members, and that those workers would also not be staying at G/O Media.

This year is looking grim for the news business – but there are some signs of hope.

House Votes to Ban TikTok Unless ByteDance Divests
MediaPost | Wendy Davis

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that could result in a ban of the popular TikTok app. The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which passed 362-55, would prohibit app stores and websites from distributing TikTok unless its parent company, China-based ByteDance, sells the app within 180 days. The measure, largely driven by concerns that the Chinese government may be able to access data about TikTok’s users, now heads to the Senate. TikTok stated after the vote that it hoped the Senate “will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.” Digital rights groups criticized the bill, arguing that banning a communications platform would violate the First Amendment rights of millions of TikTok users. What’s more, the groups argued, banning the app wouldn’t prevent the Chinese government from obtaining data about U.S. residents from other sources.

In more social media news: Meta is ready to drop news in Illinois if the state’s Journalism Preservation Act is passed.

WSJ union files grievance over layoffs
Talking Biz News | Chris Roush

The IAPE Grievance Committee filed two complaints on Friday alleging Dow Jones violated the collective bargaining agreement when it laid off 17 reporters in Washington last month. The union’s grievances specify two sections of the contract ignored by management during the Feb. 1 cuts: the Job Security provision, requiring Dow Jones to follow seniority rules when reducing staff, and the Transfers article which allows employees to follow jobs that are moved from one department to another. The latter, a provision negotiated in 2019 after the elimination of Personal Finance reporting jobs in New York, prevents management from requiring staff to re-apply for substantially similar jobs after claiming to eliminate roles via layoff.

Read next: Houston Landing’s CEO voluntarily recognizes newsroom union, signs agreement with NewsGuild.

A chain of radio stations is launching online newspapers in 18 (or more?) markets
Media Nation | Dan Kennedy

Saga Communications, a Michigan-based company that owns radio stations in 27 secondary markets, is launching digital newspapers in 18 markets by the end of the second quarter. The outlets will be unveiled “across its entire footprint.” Despite the lack of clarity, it sounds like Saga’s eventual goal is to have an online newspaper anywhere it has radio stations. A quick scan of the stations shows they mostly broadcast music, with formats including country, oldies and adult contemporary. The stations will be based on a pilot that Saga is already publishing in Tennessee called Clarksville Now. A quick glance shows the site is newsy and community-oriented.

ICYMI: Thomson Reuters has an $8 billion war chest to spend on acquisitions and investments in artificial intelligence.

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