Media Future of Media TV Media Planning

Future of Media: BuzzFeed's Huffpo plan, TikTok's Euro goals, carbon cost of media


By John McCarthy | Media editor

June 10, 2021 | 9 min read

After a few weeks of Gaming coverage, we're now getting ready for the Creative Transformation Festival and then Mobile deep-dive ahead.


Future of Media: BuzzFeed's Huffpo plan, TikTok's Euro goals, carbon cost of media

BuzzFeed x HuffPost

Like an octopus climbing a tree – that's how one BuzzFeed exec described the news org's arduous ascent into profit. Chris Sutcliffe caught up with BuzzFeed to explore how it's integrating HuffPost's audiences and products into a larger whole after acquiring its media contemporary earlier this year.

Firstly, picture the audiences. There is surprisingly little crossover (10%) between BuzzFeed and HuffPost's readership and in some respects, that's good. BuzzFeed is acquiring new audiences after all. But it has to change tack to address these audiences and that presents a learning curve.

I'm fascinated by how the conversation around reach has changed. BuzzFeed chief Jonah Peretti said: "Our media network will have more users spending significantly more time with our content than any of our peers.” I'm old enough to remember when they'd be boasting about scale, reaching, I don't know, 14bn people, once a year. Rather than, say, a few million loyal readers several times a month with quite good content. BuzzFeed's affiliate and e-commerce revenue is coming to the Huff – but will it be enough?

TikTok's Euros Plan

TikTok decided quite late in the day that its European growth depends on a respectable presence in football – so a fortuitous delay to Euro 2020 allowed it to take up sponsorship of the football extravaganza just months before it kicked-off in 2021.

But unlike many sponsorship badging exercises, there's more than just monetary value to be gained for Uefa from having the hugely popular app spewing official clips to young fans around the world. I talked to James Rothwell, TikTok's head of marketing EMEA, about how the partnership came to life, how the media buys were planned, and ultimately what content will fill those spots.

TikTok, the world's watching. Read it here.

Separately, I also interviewed Just Eat's Marijn Luchtman, head of global sponsorships, who suggested that its Euros sponsorship was more "cost-efficient" than running dozens of separate campaigns across its many target markets.

Notably, both are tech upstarts that have only recently reached the scale required to get the most out of such properties. It's an interesting shift in the sponsorship market, perhaps catalysed by AirBnb's Olympics push.

Explaining the Apple email stuff

Just take a cursory glance at the internet and you'll know Apple's up to something that'll probably make life difficult for people who like to track things and serve ads. If you'd like a slightly deeper understanding than that, you're in good hands with our stateside reporter Kendra Clark's explainer.

She's all over the major announcements from Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote here. That includes built-in VPN access, app privacy reports, less email tracking, and Siri data updates.

Carbon copycats

Here's one that's been in the post for a while. Top media agencies in the UK (and wider) are by default calculating the carbon cost of their campaigns by using tools like the one just launched by the IPA.

I've been digging on this trend for a few months and it has been hard to pin down exactly what this all means. As Jake Dubbins, managing director of integrated ethical agency Media Bounty and co-chair of the Conscious Ad Network (Can) told me, the true scale of these agencies' environmental damage can't be gauged until everyone shares their working in a transparent manner.

The good news is, it appears, that most of the top agencies are on board - aware they have government-enforced carbon commitments to hit. WPP boss Mark Read recently told me (off the top of his head) that media spend comprised about 55% of its total emissions and production about 14% across its $60bn supply chain. Many agencies are just getting to grips with their figures now and I'm enthused to see real progress here.

But Dubbins asked whether it was enough. If these agencies are decarbonising their output, surely they should be ensuring clients do the same, and also ceasing support of climate-skeptic content.

The science is irrefutable. We're heating up. Even here in Scotland, surely an omen of apocalypse. Read it here.

Other Stuff

That’s you all caught up. If you missed the last installment, read it here. You can subscribe to our other briefings here. And if you want to talk to me, I’m on Twitter, Linkedin and email.

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