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The Brutal, Scary Lessons of Yahoo's Demise

Ad Age “Media Guy” columnist Simon Dumenco’s media roundup for the morning of Friday, April 21:

So today I’ve got good news (see Nos. 1 and 3, below), possibly good news (Nos. 2 and 7) and bad news (Nos. 4 and 5) — and, uh, news that I just don’t know what to do with (No. 6). Anyway, let’s get started …

1. Entertainment Weekly is soooo excited! “The X-Files returns! Fox orders 10-episode event series.”

2. “Uber has extended its internal investigation into sexual harassment claims at the company, according to sources,” per Recode’s Kara Swisher. “Some insiders are skeptical the review will yield results, but now Uber has come under more pressure after the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News led to the ouster of Bill O’Reilly.” Swisher also has the text of a brief memo Uber board director Arianna Huffington sent out to Uber employees last night to update them on the investigation.

3. Burger King Who? “Google Home can now tell users apart just by their voice,” per Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo, who explains,

After connecting their accounts, each user will have to go through the usual hotword training, reciting “OK Google” to the device three times. For future commands, Google Home will then call out the name of the person it detects before it gives a response. So if you ask “What’s my day like?” Google Home will respond with “Good Morning [name],” and then rattle off the weather and calendar appointments.

4. Worrisome overseas-media headline of the day: “Donald Trump has ‘dangerous mental illness’, say psychiatry experts at Yale conference,” per The Independent of Britain (subhead: “Mental health experts say President is ‘paranoid and delusional'”).

5. As Yahoo ceases to exist as a publicly traded company, The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance writes in a post headlined “Yahoo’s Demise Is a Death Knell for Digital News Orgs,”

The company has been unraveling — slowly and spectacularly — for more than a decade now. But this particular moment is a good one for reflecting on how Yahoo’s troubles are likely to be replicated in a wave across the web, and soon, among businesses like news organizations that rely heavily on advertising revenue for their survival. Print newspapers will continue to fold, but Yahoo’s demise is a signal that web-native companies are next. If you run a business that relies on digital-advertising revenue for an outsized portion of your funding, you need to find new streams of revenue. Now. It may already be too late.

And then she adds, “Unless you’re Facebook or Google, that is. Facebook and Google are practically drowning in ad revenue …” You seriously have to read the rest of LaFrance’s post for some rather breathtaking elaboration on that point.

6. “Verizon is rumored to be the public company that is hanging around the hoop on the Time Inc. sales process — waiting to see if it can top any deal for the publisher of People, Time, Sports Illustrated and InStyle,” Keith Kelly reports in his column in this morning’s New York Post.

7. And finally, Comedy Central’s upcoming “The President Show” might turn out to be pretty great, judging from the hilarious Donald Trump impersonation that the spoof talk show’s creator Anthony Atamanuik shared on “The Late Show” last night:

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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