A media empire built on airline points

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How gadget reviewer Lon Seidman amassed 290,000 subscribers and 89 million views on YouTube

Lon Seidman didn't plan to launch a gadget-focused YouTube channel. He stumbled into it after posting a few reviews of cameras to Amazon. [Simon Owens]

The Man Who Turned Credit-Card Points Into an Empire

"Today the business of selling points is more stable and more reliably profitable than the business of actually flying people places."

A fascinating deep dive into the media empire that's grown around The Points Guy. You should definitely read it within the context of the media’s current expansion into affiliate marketing. As more and more companies come to rely on this business model, it’ll generate all sorts of perverse incentives.

In the case of, say, The New York Times’s Wirecutter, you’ll continue to see strong journalistic scruples applied to ecommerce content, but we’re already starting to see examples of smaller publishers recommending sub-optimal products and e-retailers simply because the offer better affiliate rates. [NYT]

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Here’s who owns everything in Big Media today

This chart gives you a pretty good overview of how all the major companies in the TV and film space compare and relate to each other.

Based on this visualization, it’s easy to see which companies are likely to be gobbled up by much larger conglomerates so can they can better compete in the streaming world. MGM, AMC, and Lionsgate seem particularly primed for acquisition. [Recode]

Bustle Digital hires bank to explore deal to go public -source

Bustle Digital Group supposedly generated $100 million in 2020, which is a lot more than I would have guessed. [Reuters]

I constantly find myself scratching my head when reading about Bustle’s strategy, especially in regard to its acquisitions.

Want to interact with me directly?

Join my secret Facebook group. I only promote it in this newsletter, and it has over 400 media professionals who regularly discuss trends and news within the industry. [Facebook]

Sneaker enthusiast group SoleSavy raises $2M, setting the stage for a community-driven commerce boom

More and more media companies are selling access to community. This one started out simply as a series of Slack groups for sneaker enthusiasts and now drives "$1.5 million ARR on $33 monthly subscriptions plus affiliate revenue." [TechCrunch]

One year in, Protocol is starting to move on its global expansion plans

Tech publication Protocol, which is sibling to Politico, is launching overseas verticals, including one in China. [Digiday]

I’m still applying a wait-and-see approach to Protocol, especially since it had such a rocky start. On the one hand, I don’t think you should underestimate any publisher that shares DNA with Politico in terms of its ability to dominate a niche. On the other hand, Politico launched over a decade ago into a much less competitive market. The tech media space today is more saturated.

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