Major Magazine Publisher Meredith Purchased
The digital media arm of Barry Diller’s IAC, Dotdash, agreed to buy Meredith Corp. in a deal valued at about $2.7 billion. The combined company is to be called Dotdash Meredith.
The deal will combine Meredith’s more than 40 brands, including Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and InStyle magazines with Dotdash’s digital labels such as The Spruce, Byrdie and Brides.
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After reaching 73% six weeks ago, the share of workers who would feel comfortable returning to the office now stands at 51%, the lowest share since early February. Forty-three percent still feel uncomfortable returning at this time, up 9 points from last week.
At the ARF’s Virtual Town Hall on Resuming the Sustainability Agenda, the speakers emphasized that sustainable living and purchasing have become MORE important to consumers as a result of COVID-19. However, additional education of consumers, including sustainability-orientated millennials, needs to be achieved. Making it easy for shoppers to identify and purchase sustainable products through packaging, labeling, optimized websites, and effective messaging is critical.Member Only Access
Good news from Gallup’s survey on Americans’ satisfaction with their lives. The percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered "thriving" on Gallup's Live Evaluation Index reached 59% in June, the highest in over 13 years of ongoing measurement. During the initial COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown, the thriving percentage plunged nearly 10 percentage points to 46% by late April 2020, tying the record low occurring during the Great Recession. Source: Witters, D. and Agrawal, S. (2021, July 7). Americans' Life Ratings Reach Record High. Wellbeing: Gallup (Life Evaluation Index).Member Only Access
FedEx and other firms are leaning more heavily on real-time, live data to gauge demand while paying less attention to measures obtained during the pandemic. Companies reliant on complex algorithms to gauge customer demand, set prices or fine-tune supply chains are putting less weight on data generated during the coronavirus pandemic, as many consider it to be skewed. Companies in sectors such as travel, retail and logistics that saw wild swings in consumer behavior over the past year—from canceled vacations and business trips—to a surge in online shopping and home deliveries. As the economy opens, they are dealing with chaotic trend lines that complicate forecasting efforts. To adjust, many of these companies are leaning more heavily on real-time data to feed predictive software models, including live website activity or online and mobile searches, corporate data chiefs and industry analysts say. Sriram Krishnasamy, FedEx Corp.’s SVP of strategic programs and chief executive of the analytics unit at FedEx Dataworks, said traditional historic data became unreliable during the pandemic. This saw an abrupt increase in home-delivery orders from homebound shoppers and caused shipping delays. Real-time data sources offer a “bird’s eye view” of market changes as they unfold, Krishnasamy said. In a Forrester Research Inc. survey last fall, 64% of (roughly) 200 North American analytics and measurement professionals said their firms relied more heavily on real-time insights drawn from user behavior on their websites. That’s up from less than half in 2019. Beyond replacing older sources of data, about a quarter of companies surveyed are quickly retraining AI-powered predictive models because of data drift. “As customer behavior changed almost overnight, the historical data used to train these models no longer reflected this new reality,” said Forrester’s Principal Analyst, Brandon Purcell. Source: Loten, A. (July 1, 2021). Companies Adjust Predictive Models in Wake of Covid FedEx and other firms are leaning more heavily on real-time live data to gauge demand. The Wall Street Journal.Member Only Access
At DATAxSCIENCE 2021, experts in forecasting and scenario planning presented the latest research on understanding which changes in consumer behavior and attitudes that arose during the pandemic will shape the recovery. They also shared examples of different research methods and models to tap into these signals. Reshaping the Future of Healthcare Post-Pandemic Jane Sarasohn-Kahn — Health Economist, Advisor, Trend Weaver, THINK-Health, Jo Ann Saitta — Chief Digital Officer, Real Chemistry The presenters discussed how healthcare, especially its digital transformation, was exacerbated by COVID-19, and how these fundamental shifts will impact the future. Digital technologies can be co-created to help with health and addressing healthcare inequities based on race, gender, and social determinants of health that are not often discussed (e.g., clean air, water, broadband). Detecting Cultural Trends with Twitter Data Lisa Cowie — Head of Agency Research, Twitter Lisa shared an analysis of billions of tweets over a two-year period that was conducted to examine trends in Twitter conversations. They discovered six trends. Lisa suggested that brands can use those to stay ahead of what's happening. Panel Discussion Priyanka Carr — GM, Market Research, Momentive Mike Menkes — SVP, Analytic Partners Jennifer Pelino — EVP Omni Channel Media, IRI Moderator: Scott McDonald, Ph.D. — President & CEO, The ARF Key takeaways: “Don't lose sight of the fundamentals that made brands successful,” cautioned Mike. He pointed out that price relative to perceived value is essential to understanding this dynamic. During the pandemic, many brands pulled back too much in an overreaction to the marketplace, which influenced their perceived value. “What drives value may have changed for people,” added Priyanka. For instance, she found that while a segment of the population was more willing to pay more for brands that aligned with their own values, another segment valued consistency in availability and reliability more. “The pandemic accelerated anything related to technology and overall health,” observed Jennifer. “E-commerce and OTT have always been on a growth trend - the pandemic just accelerated how and to what degree people are using them.” Scott summarized: trends that became accelerated by the pandemic are likely to continue. He humorously noted that “grandma learned how to use Zoom and there’s no going back.” Coming Up Next Week, Part 2 of our DATAXSCIENCE Coverage. Source: The ARF. (2021, June 23/24). DATAxSCIENCE: Forecasting Post-Recovery Business Recovery. The ARF.Member Only Access