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How publishers are experimenting with more homepage personalization sections



How publishers are experimenting with more homepage personalization sections

Legacy publishers like The New York Times and The Washington Post are experimenting with more personalization on their homepages to curate and surface content tailored to readers’ interests and behaviors to get them to engage with more of their journalism.

While news publishers have integrated personalization into their apps for some time now, the focus on experimenting with it on the homepage is a newer undertaking. Sections on the page showing articles uniquely tied to a reader’s interests, location or reading history can entice them to click on more stories, which leads to better engagement, subscriber retention and conversion. This is increasingly important as news publishers grapple with dips in traffic and it becomes more challenging to both acquire and keep subscribers. Not to mention the value of gathering first-party data on site visitors for tracking purposes, with the demise of the third-party cookie.

At the end of March, The Washington Post added an individually personalized “For You” section on the homepage to subscribers and registered users, after seeing success with the “For You” tab in its app. The news publisher also plans to roll out a new personalization feature next month aimed at retaining subscribers. While Coleen O’Lear — who was promoted to become the new head of curation and platforms in January — declined to share further details about the upcoming feature, she said it will “make it a lot easier to track what you’ve already read on our website and our apps.”

“Someone who’s coming [to the site] frequently, wants to know whether that story that they read before has been updated, or whether they should read something new. We’re really trying to help people start that journey as well,” she said.

The New York Times created a new “experiments and personalization” team earlier this month to experiment with personalizing the homepage on the Times’ website and app to get subscribers to read more stories. The team is working with editorial desks and product teams to test targeting readers based on their location or reading history, and is doing “active tests” in a module called “In Case You Missed It” — “to showcase some of the breadth of work that we have, as well as amplify some of the strongest pieces,” said Derrick Ho, deputy editor for personalization, who is leading the experiments and personalization team.

The Washington Post’s ‘For You

The Washington Post’s “For You” section combines a reader’s selections made while onboarding (when a subscriber or registered user signs up, they can select their topic preferences), reading history and data on stories’ performance on different platforms (O’Lear declined to share more details about the last signal). The more a reader engages with the “For You” section, “the stronger it gets,” O’Lear said. The algorithm can provide better suggestions tailored to what a person chooses to read.

“Relevance is a really important aspect of building a stronger reader experience,” O’Lear said. “What’s most critical is that we serve the right thing at the right time. That’s really about balancing impactful curation with smart personalization.”


An algorithm powers the “In Case You Missed It” module on the homepage below the Opinion section on The New York Times’ homepage, but editors select the pool of stories to show up in that section. If an article was read in the past 30 days, it will not be shown to a reader again in this section.

The Times has also tested geo-targeted content packages for segments of readers, such as giving visitors from California an extended package during Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election last year. The team has also considered providing local content recommendations, such as showing emergency location information during California wildfires for those who live in the state, said The Times’ associate managing editor Karron Skog.

Much of that is still on the horizon. “We’re still very much in the phase where we are trying to build the tools, and refine the tools. We are researching and doing a lot of user research,” Ho said.

Why news publishers are prioritizing personalization

While executives and editors at both The Times and The Post insisted most of their homepages will rely on manual curation to package the biggest stories of the day, sections and modules with personalized content can help take the pressure off editors and surface relevant content, which those teams believe can lead to better reader engagement, conversion and retention.

The Times, for example, publishes about 200 URLs per day. “No reader can get through 200 pieces a day. We are trying to use some of this work to really put the right things in front of the right readers at the right times,” Skog said.

As the Times’ subscriber base has grown to 8 million digital subscribers, leaders there want to scale a good homepage experience. “And this is one way that we can do it,” Ho said. “We want that experience to be far superior than what they can get from one of our articles that’s found in the wild.”

Personalization gives the Post an opportunity to convert readers to subscribers, as well as provides “good retention value for subscribers,” especially for those who come to the site frequently, O’Lear said. “It’s really important for them to see something new when they come.”

That’s also a priority at The Times. As stories move on and off the homepage, it’s easy for a reader to miss a big story, Skog said. An algorithm can help differentiate between subscribers who are visiting the site once a week or 10 times a day. The new team at the Times is working “to really make sure that readers see the things that we think are important on any given day, no matter when they visit us,” Skog said. “For me, that’s something that we wished we could do for a really long time.” Skog did not say how the team was identifying these readers.

There are two ways personalization can benefit both a publisher and a reader: it helps publishers compete with the algorithms of tech and social media platforms like Amazon and Twitter, and it can surface different content based on what the reader has (or hasn’t) already seen on a publisher’s website, leading to a better user experience, said Adam Singolda, CEO of content recommendation platform Taboola.

In January, Taboola announced a new product called “Homepage for You,” which adds a layer of A.I. to a publisher’s website to surface relevant and personalized content to match readers’ interests, which Taboola says can result in increased readership and engagement. It’s being used by publishers like McClatchy and The Independent. In a beta test, publishers saw a 30%-50% increase in CTR for homepage sections personalized by Taboola, according to the company.

“Most of the platforms people are consuming media on are already completely personalized, like Twitter and Facebook,” said Jeff Kupietzky, CEO at multichannel monetization and engagement platform Jeeng (formerly known as PowerInbox), which helps publishers gather reading history data on its site visitors to then be able to match content recommendations with a specific person’s interests. The algorithms that power the content people see on their timelines and newsfeeds are what they have come to expect, Kupietzky argued.

“There is likely a reader for every story we publish, and we’re just trying to find those readers,” Skog said.


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AMD CEO says 5-nm Zen 4 processors coming this fall



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Advanced Micro Devices revealed its 5-nanometer Zen 4 processor architecture today at the Computex 2022 event in Taiwan.

The new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors with Zen 4 cores will be coming this fall, said Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, in a keynote speech.

Su said the new processors with Zen 4 architecture will deliver a significant increase in performance upon their launch in the fall of 2022. Additionally, Su highlighted the strong growth and momentum for AMD in the mobile market as 70 of the more than 200 expected ultrathin, gaming and commercial notebook designs powered by Ryzen 6000 Series processors have been launched or announced to-date.

In addition, other AMD executives announced the newest addition to the Ryzen Mobile lineup, “Mendocino;” the newest AMD smart technology, SmartAccess Storage; and more details of the new AM5 platform, including support from leading motherboard manufacturers.

“At Computex 2022 we highlighted growing adoption of AMD in ultrathin, gaming, and commercial notebooks from the leading PC providers based on the leadership performance and battery life of our Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors,” said Su. “With our upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors, we will bring even more leadership to the desktop market with our next-generation 5-nm Zen 4 architecture and provide an unparalleled, high-

performance computing experience for gamers and creators.”

AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors

The new Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors will double the amount of L2 cache per core, feature higher clock speeds, and are projected to provide greater than 15% uplift in single-thread performance versus the prior generation, for a better desktop PC experience.

During the keynote, a pre-production Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processor was demonstrated running at 5.5 GHz clock speed throughout AAA game play. The same processor was also demonstrated performing more than 30% faster than an Intel Core i9 12900K in a Blender multi-threaded rendering workload.

In addition to new “Zen 4” compute dies, the Ryzen 7000 series features an all-new 6nm I/O die. The new I/O die includes AMD RDNA 2-based graphics engine, a new low-power architecture adopted from AMD Ryzen mobile processors, support for the latest memory and connectivity technologies like DDR5 and PCI Express 5.0, and support for up to four displays.

AMD Socket AM5 Platform

The new AMD Socket AM5 platform provides advanced connectivity for our most demanding enthusiasts. This new socket features a 1718-pin LGA design with support for up to 170W TDP processors, dual-channel DDR5 memory, and new SVI3 power infrastructure for leading all-core performance with our Ryzen 7000 Series processors. AMD Socket AM5 features the most PCIe 5.0 lanes in the industry with up to 24 lanes, making it our fastest, largest, and most expansive desktop platform with support for the next-generation and beyond class of storage and graphics cards.

And AMD said the “Mendocino” processors will offer great everyday performance and are expected to be priced from $400 to $700.

Featuring “Zen 2” cores and RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics, the processors are designed to deliver the best battery life and performance in the price band so users can get the most out of their laptop at an attractive price.

The first systems featuring the new “Mendocino” processors will be available from computer partners in Q4 2022.

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AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores



AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores

AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 chips will mark another major milestone for the company: they’ll be the first desktop processors running 5 nanometer cores. During her Computex keynote presentation today, AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed that Ryzen 7000 chips will launch this fall. Under the hood, they’ll feature dual 5nm Zen 4 cores, as well as a redesigned 6nm I/O core (which includes RDNA2 graphics, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 controllers and a low-power architecture). Earlier this month, the company teased its plans for high-end “Dragon Range” Ryzen 7000 laptop chips, which are expected to launch in 2023.

Since this is just a Computex glimpse, AMD isn’t giving us many other details about the Ryzen 7000 yet. The company says it will offer a 15 percent performance jump in Cinebench’s single-threaded benchmark compared to the Ryzen 5950X. Still, it’d be more interesting to hear about multi-threaded performance, especially given the progress Intel has made with its 12th-gen CPUs. You can expect 1MB of L2 cache per core, as well as maximum boost speeds beyond 5GHz and better hardware acceleration for AI tasks.

AMD is also debuting Socket AM5 motherboards alongside its new flagship processor. The company is moving towards a 1718-pin LGA socket, but it will still support AM4 coolers. That’s a big deal if you’ve already invested a ton into your cooling setup. The new motherboards will offer up to 24 channels of PCIe 5.0 split across storage and graphics, up to 14 USB SuperSpeed ports running at 20 Gbps, and up to 4 HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports. You’ll find them in three different flavors: B650 for mainstream systems, X650 for enthusiasts who want PCIe 5.0 for storage and graphics and X650 Extreme for the most demanding folks.

Given that Intel still won’t have a 7nm desktop chip until next year (barring any additional delays), AMD seems poised to once again take the performance lead for another generation. But given just how well Intel’s hybrid process for its 12th-gen chips has worked out, it’ll be interesting to see how it plans to respond. If anything, it sure is nice to see genuine competition in the CPU space again.

While Ryzen 7000 will be AMD’s main focus for the rest of the year, the company is also throwing a bone to mainstream laptops in the fourth quarter with its upcoming 6nm “Mendocino” CPUs. They’ll sport four 6nm Zen 2 cores, as well as RDNA 2 graphics, making them ideal for systems priced between $399 and $699. Sure, that’s not much to get excited about, but even basic machines like Lenovo’s Ideapad 1 deserve decent performance. And for many office drones, it could mean having work-issued machines that finally don’t stink.

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Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront



Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront

With Disney+, Disney is looking to set a new high-water mark for ad prices among the major ad-supported streamers. The pricey pitch is representative of a broader rising tide in streaming ad pricing in this year’s TV advertising upfront market, as Disney-owned Hulu, Amazon and even Fox’s Tubi are looking to press upfront advertisers to pay up.

In its initial pitch to advertisers and their agencies, Disney is seeking CPMs for Disney+ around $50, according to agency executives. That price point applies to broad-based targeting dubbed “P2+,” which refers to an audience of any viewer who is two years old or older (though Disney has told agency executives that programming aimed at viewers seven years old and younger will be excluded from carrying ads). In other words, more narrowly targeted ads are expected to cost more based on the level of targeting. A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.

At a $50 CPM, Disney+ is surpassing the prices that NBCUniversal’s Peacock  and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max sought in last year’s upfront market and that gave ad buyers sticker shock. The former sought CPMs in the $30 to $40 range, while the latter sought $40+ CPMs. By comparison, other major ad-supported streamers like Hulu, Discovery+ and Paramount+ were charging low-to-mid $20 CPMs that major ad-supported streamers charge. As a result, Peacock’s and HBO Max’s asks ended up being price prohibitive, with some advertisers limiting the amount of money they spent with the streamers because of their higher rates.

Unsurprisingly, agency executives are balking at Disney+’s price point. “They’re citing pricing that no longer exists, meaning Peacock and HBO Max recognized they came out too high and they’re reducing it. Disney+ is using earmuffs to pretend that second part didn’t happen,” said one agency executive.

However, Disney+ isn’t the only streamer seeking to raise the rates that ad buyers are accustomed to paying. Hulu is also seeking to increase its prices in this year’s upfront, with P2+ pricing going from a $20-$25 CPM average to averaging in the $25-$30 CPM range, according to agency executives. And during a call with reporters on May 16, Fox advertising sales president Marianne Gambelli said that the company will seek higher prices for its free, ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi in this year’s upfront market. It’s unclear what Tubi’s current rates are, but FAST services’ CPMS are typically in the low to mid teens, said the agency executives.

“We have to get the value for Tubi. Tubi has grown to a point — it’s doubled, tripled in size over the past couple of years. So we are going to obviously make that a priority and look for not only more volume but price,” Gambelli said.

Meanwhile, in pitching its Thursday Night Football package that will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Amazon has been pressing for a premium on what Fox charged advertisers last year, according to agency executives. The e-commerce giant will be handling the games’ ad placements like traditional TV, meaning that it will run the same ad in each ad slot for every viewer as opposed to dynamically inserting targeted ads. “It’s streaming broadcast,” said a second agency executive.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on pricing but did provide a general statement. “Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and Twitch is a purely digital broadcast, and we’re excited to bring fans a new viewing experience. There are 80MM active Prime Video households in the U.S. and, in a survey of our 2021 TNF audience, 38% reported they don’t have a pay-TV service – meaning TNF on Prime Video and Twitch enables brands to connect with cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Brands can also reach these viewers beyond TNF. Our first-party insights enable them to reengage TNF audiences across Amazon, such as in Freevee content.”

One of the agency executives that Digiday spoke to said the latest ask is for a plus-10% increase on Fox’s rates, though what Fox’s rates were are unclear and other agency executives said the premium that Amazon is asking for varies. Ad Age reported in February that Amazon was seeking up to 20% higher prices than Fox’s rates. “I don’t know if it is consistently plus-10, but it is definitely more. Which is crazy because Fox couldn’t make money on it, which is why they gave it up for this fall,” said a second agency executive.

“Someone was eating way too many gummies before they put the pricing together,” said a second agency executive of Amazon’s Thursday Night Football pitch.

Ad-supported streaming service owners also see an opportunity to push for higher prices as advertisers to adopt more advanced targeting with their streaming campaigns, such as by using the media companies’ and/or advertisers’ first-party data to aim their ads on the streamers. 

Said one TV network executive, “You’ll see premiums, especially as it relates to advertisers that really want to hook into [their company’s streaming service] and buy those targeted audiences across the platform and either use [the TV network’s] first-party data or bring their own data to the table. That’s the biggest business we’re in, and that’s where we see great growth from a pricing standpoint.”


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