- In what's the latest sign that marketing and publishing roles are converging, agency entrepreneur and co-founder of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk has acquired PureWow, a digital publisher geared toward Gen X and older millennial women, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Vaynerchuk is creating a new company called The Gallery which will house PureWow and others as it looks to acquire more media properties or build out its existing ones. PureWow CEO Ryan Harwood will preserve his role. The Gallery will be a sister company to digital agency VaynerMedia, according to Vaynerchuk.
- Vaynerchuk told the Journal that the internet has an infrastructure that allows entrepreneurs to get “involved in a lot of things at once," and combining agencies and publishers falls under that umbrella.
As digital advertising has begun to pivot more toward native formats and sponsored content, the line between editorial and branded advertising has become blurrier, both in readers being able to discern the difference between the two and the level of control agencies and marketers have over the production and distribution of that content.
Vaynerchuk’s acquisition of PureWow and creation of The Gallery is a notable extension of this trend, as it's rare for someone agency-side to buy a publisher wholesale. In PureWow’s case, it earns most of its revenue from branded content regardless, so the ethical editorial quandaries are less of an issue.
However, as the Journal’s reporting points out, more journalistically focused publishers including the Journal itself, Time and The Washington Post are putting increased resources into branded content. For PureWow, joining forces with VaynerMedia grants access to increased video capabilities given the in-house teams and resources.
While sponsored and native content is set to be a focus of marketing budgets forging ahead, many publishers are struggling to implement and measure the format for their advertising partners. MediaRadar recently reported that native ad renewal rates from 2016 hit just 33%, with 20% of advertisers using the format posting renewal rates below 20%.