Tracking Financial Times anonymous sourcing

4/12/2016: BuzzFeed missed 2015 revenue targets and slashes 2016 projections

BuzzFeed missed its revenue target for 2015 and has slashed its internal projections for 2016 by about half, raising questions about whether the online news and entertainment network can meet the sky-high valuations put on new media groups by investors.

The company, known for its lists, irreverent content and fast-growing editorial operation, had projected about $250m in revenues for 2015 but generated less than $170m, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

The company has halved its internal revenue target for 2016 from $500m to $250m, the people said.

6/5/2015: Apple rewrites app store economics

Apple is planning a departure from the pricing formula that has defined the economics of digital media for a decade, which would cut the 30 per cent fee music, video and news companies pay on subscriptions through its App Store.

The iPhone maker is discussing new commercial terms with media companies, people familiar with the matter said, to change the 70/30 “Apple tax” pioneered by Steve Jobs when its late founder launched the iTunes music store in 2003.

Status: Unverified

Tracking Recode anonymous sourcing

10/3/2017: Twitter and Facebook haven’t stopped Russia-backed RT from advertising on their websites

In a meeting with House and Senate investigators last week, Twitter executives shared more than 1,800 promoted tweets from Russia Today, known as RT, and its three main accounts on the site. Some of the ads, valued in total at about $274,000, sought to promote RT’s own stories, including those that sharply attacked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Twitter’s decision to share that information with Congress followed a report by the U.S. government’s top intelligence agencies, which slammed RT in January as the “Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.” Despite those concerns, though, the news network’s three Twitter accounts — @RT_com, @RT_America and @ActualidadRT — remain fully operational. And Twitter has not banned RT from advertising, according to a source familiar with the matter.

8/16/2016: Univision is buying Gawker Media for $135 million

Univision has won the auction for Gawker Media.

The TV network and digital publisher has agreed to pay $135 million for the bankrupt blog network, according to a person familiar with the deal.

8/9/2016: Intel is paying more than $400 million to buy deep-learning startup Nervana Systems

Intel is snapping up deep learning startup Nervana Systems in a huge bet that artificial intelligence represents the next big shift inside corporate data centers.

The chip giant isn’t actually saying how much it is paying, but a source with knowledge of the deal said it is valued at around $408 million.

6/22/2016: Twitter wants to sell its NFL ad spots for more than $50 million

These ads packages — which combine the ad inventory Twitter has around NFL highlights that it also sold last year, plus the NFL game footage it bought this year — are selling between $2 million and $8 million per advertiser, according to a person familiar with the deals. That range depends on the number of ads and whether or not they are shown during a game versus alongside other NFL content (more on that below).

6/14/2016: Twitter has invested in music streaming service SoundCloud

Two years ago Twitter thought about buying SoundCloud, but ended up walking away from the music service.

Now Twitter has bought a piece of SoundCloud instead.

Twitter has invested around $70 million in the music service, as part of a round that should end up in the $100 million-range, according to sources familiar with the deal. The round is expected to value SoundCloud at about $700 million — the same value that investors placed on the company in 2014, when it raised $60 million; since then it has also raised a debt round.

4/24/2016: Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ comes to iTunes tonight

Last night Beyoncé debuted “Lemonade” via an HBO special, then began streaming the album exclusively via Tidal.

But if you can wait a few hours, you’ll be able to get “Lemonade” on iTunes. The album, including the accompanying videos that Beyoncé debuted on Saturday, will be on sale via Apple’s download store at midnight ET, according to a person familiar with the release plans.

4/6/2016: It’s Not Just Celebrities — Facebook Is Paying Media Companies to Make Live Video, Too

Sources say Facebook is paying the New York Times, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post, among other publishers.

1/24/2016: Big Exec Departures at Twitter: Media Head Stanton and Product Head Weil Leaving

In a major executive upheaval, two of Twitter’s top executives — media head Katie Jacobs Stanton and product head Kevin Weil — are departing the company, according to sources close to the situation.

Also see this: Also Out at Twitter: Engineering Head Roetter (and More to Come)
And this: Another Twitter Goodbye: Vine Head Jason Toff

11/12/2015: Snapchat Signs Another Publisher: The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal is going after a new audience. So, apparently, is Snapchat.

The Journal will soon be joining Snapchat’s group of Discover publishers, according to multiple sources, the first major business publication to join Snapchat since it first launched Discover back in January. It’s unclear exactly when the Journal is set to launch its channel, but the deal is done, these people say. Both Snapchat and the Journal declined to comment.

10/9/2015: Twitter Is Planning Company-Wide Layoffs for Next Week

Jack Dorsey was named permanent CEO of Twitter on Monday, and a big reason he got the job was that as a co-founder, Dorsey isn’t afraid to make the tough, necessary decisions. He isn’t wasting much time.

Twitter is planning company-wide layoffs next week, according to multiple sources. It’s unclear how much of the staff will be culled, but insiders say it will likely affect most, if not all, departments.

9/30/2015: Jack Dorsey to Be Named Permanent Twitter CEO

Jack is back — for good this time.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who has been serving as interim CEO for the past three months, is expected be named the company’s new permanent CEO as early as tomorrow, although that timeframe may change, according to sources. Dorsey will apparently continue to run Square, the payments company he founded where he’s also CEO.

9/29/2015: Twitter Plans to Go Beyond Its 140-Character Limit

Twitter is building a new product that will allow users to share tweets that are longer than the company’s 140-character limit, according to multiple people familiar with the company’s plans.

9/21/2015: Axel Springer wants to buy Business Insider for around $560 million

German publishing giant Axel Springer is closing in on a deal to buy Business Insider, in a deal that would value the Web publisher at around $560 million.

Sources familiar with the two companies think a transaction could close within weeks.

6/11/2015: Twitter employees ‘shocked,’ saddened by Dick Costolo’s departure

“Employees were definitely shocked,” one Twitter employee told Re/code. “He’s loved by all so I think there’s sadness all around.”

Status: Unverified

5/25/2015: Twitter has held talks to acquire Flipboard

Twitter has been engaged in an ongoing series of talks to acquire Flipboard, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, in an all-stock deal that would value the company at over $1 billion.

Those discussions, which have been pushed by Twitter CFO Anthony Noto, have been taking place since the beginning of the year, said sources, as the social communications giant has faced increasing pressure from Wall Street to grow its audience and innovate its products. But despite a flurry of activity more recently, sources said these talks between Twitter and Flipboard — who are partners on a number of different fronts — seem to be currently stalled.

Status: Unverified

5/20/2015: Stripe to land $5 billion valuation in new investment

In Silicon Valley, the rich keeping get richer.

Stripe, the online payments company, is in talks to raise new investment dollars at around a $5 billion valuation, according to multiple sources familiar with the deal. The exact amount of the investment could not be learned. The talks come less than seven months after the San Francisco-based company announced a $70 million investment that valued it at $3.5 billion. Stripe has raised $190 million in total in previous financing rounds.

A Stripe spokeswoman declined to comment.

Status: Unverified

4/20/2015: Nokia plots 2016 return to phone market

As early as next year, the company aims to rejoin the phone market, two sources briefed on Nokia’s plans told Re/code. In addition, the company has a number of other ambitious technology projects, including some in the virtual reality arena, these sources said.

Status: Nokia statement: “Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.”

4/15/2015: Jawbone to launch payments wearable with Amex, as it closes a $300M investment round

And, according to sources, Jawbone has also completed a new round of funding, raising $300 million from investment giant BlackRock. While the company declined to comment on the new money, sources said that it will value the company at about $3 billion.

Status: Unverified

4/15/2015: Sources say Yahoo, Foursquare are not in talks

Yahoo is not in talks to buy local recommendations service Foursquare, according to multiple people familiar with the companies. Earlier today TechCrunch reported a possible deal and floated a $900 million price tag.

Status: Unverified

4/13/2015: Snapchat is no longer selling its original ad unit, Brand Stories

Snapchat is making a few tweaks to its six-month-old ad business.

The company has stopped selling Brand Stories, the first type of ad it released last fall, according to multiple people familiar with the move. Brand Stories are the equivalent of sponsored stories, allowing a marketer to share photos and video content with users that aren’t following them; it debuted in October with Universal Studios, which ran a trailer for its upcoming film “Ouija.”

Status: Unverified

3/31/2015: Andreessen Horowitz invests another $52 million in Tanium at $1.75 billion valuation

Sources familiar with the terms of the deal tell Re/code that the investment values Tanium at $1.75 billion. That’s up from $900 million when Tanium raised $90 million from Andreessen last year.

Status: Unverified

3/24/2015: Google working on project to let you receive and pay bills directly inside Gmail

Google’s mission to organize the world’s information is now targeting your physical mailbox.

The company is currently working on a project that will allow Gmail users to more easily receive bills in their email inbox instead of their mailbox. Called Pony Express, the service also is designed to let people pay their bills within Gmail, rather than having to go to a telecom or utility company’s website to complete a payment.

Those details are outlined in a lengthy document viewed by Re/code. The new service is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter, according to the document. It’s not clear whether Pony Express is a code name or one that’ll be used if it comes to market. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Status: Unverified

2/4/2015: Apple is talking to TV programmers about its own web TV service

Industry executives say Apple is in talks with TV programmers about deals that would allow Apple to offer an “over the top” pay TV, service, like the one Dish has started selling with its Sling TV product, and the one Sony is getting ready to launch.

Status: Still unverified

1/30/2015: Could activist investors take aim at Twitter’s Costolo?

Why all the noisy support? Perhaps, said many sources with knowledge of the situation, growing worries about potential attacks from activist shareholders. Thus, a goal to try to shut down the conversation around Costolo’s efficacy.

Status: Still unverified  

Tracking BuzzFeed anonymous sourcing

8/8/2016: Anti-Trump Republican Launching Independent Presidential Bid

Key players in GOP’s anti-Trump movement are preparing to launch an independent presidential campaign for Evan McMullin — a CIA veteran and the chief policy director of the House Republican conference — sources close to the effort told BuzzFeed News.

6/30/2016: Donald Trump Listened In On Phone Lines At Mar-A-Lago

At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff.

6/26/2016: Nicola Sturgeon Says Scotland Could Veto Brexit


However, two senior Scottish government sources backed up Sturgeon’s comments, with one saying: “Sarah has the wrong end of the stick. We think [Brexit] requires LCM [the Scottish government’s consent] and we obviously wouldn’t vote for something that removed Scotland from the EU – but that would be for Scotland, not to block England.

“It would be up for Westminster how they handle that.”

5/25/2016: Twitter Disbands Commerce Team, Ceases Product Development On “Buy” Button

“People are not buying on social media right now. They are still buying, for the most part, on mobile web,” a source familiar with Twitter’s commerce team’s inner workings told BuzzFeed News. “There’s still an active ‘Buy Now’ card at Twitter, but no one’s putting any work into it. There’s no new product development happening.”

3/18/2016: How Donald Trump Bent Television To His Will

Two network sources also confirmed the unprecedented control the television networks have surrendered to Trump in a series of private negotiations, allowing him to dictate specific details about placement of cameras at his event, to ensure coverage consists primarily of a single shot of his face.

2/5/2016: Twitter To Introduce Algorithmic Timeline As Soon As Next Week

Say hello to a brand new Twitter. The company is planning to introduce an algorithmic timeline as soon as next week, BuzzFeed News has learned.

No source = anonymous source

7/30/2015: Apple will debut new Apple TV in September

Now, as Apple heads toward its annual fall event, the successor to its superannuated set-top box is once again top of mind and at last headed to market — and for real this time.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans tell BuzzFeed News that the company intends to announce its next-generation Apple TV in September, at the same event at which it typically unveils its new iPhones.

Status: Unverified

5/20/2015: After sanctions, Cisco altered sales records in Russia

After Western sanctions began shutting down sales of high-tech internet equipment to Russia’s military and security forces, employees at technology giant Cisco Systems Inc. altered sales records and booked deals under a false customer name, according to internal company documents. The intent, according to a confidential source with deep knowledge of Cisco’s Moscow operations, was to dodge the sanctions by masking the true customers behind more innocuous-sounding straw buyers.

In at least one case, the source said, Cisco employees succeeded in actually providing equipment — including sophisticated internet switches — to the feared FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

Status: Unverified

5/20/2015: Clinton super PAC executive director exits amid shake-up

Buffy Wicks, a leading Democratic operative and former senior aide to Barack Obama, will leave her post as executive director of Priorities USA Action, the super PAC working to raise millions in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Wicks, now in the process of arranging her exit from Priorities, is expected to stay inside the larger Clinton operation, three sources familiar with the move said.

Status: Confirmed by “a Clinton aide.”

5/8/2015: Searching for signs of life at TechCrunch Disrupt

The fear also keeps people from criticizing Disrupt itself, at least not on the record. When I asked what he thought of Disrupt’s spectacle, one entrepreneur, well-schooled in reporter-speak, gave me two answers: one on the record, the other on background, without attribution.

On the record: “Great for New York. Great for the startup scene. TechCrunch is great and it’s good coverage for startups. You see great startups and others that aren’t so impressive. Like copycats. But all of a sudden you’ll get some real major ones. It’s not Silicon Valley but it’s got huge attendance. It’s a step forward.”

On background: “You see a lot of startups here that are launching at Disrupt and they’re not even funded. And to spend money on this — I just don’t think it’s the wisest thing. Again, with investors walking by — there are a hundred booths there. He’s walking by. How do you capture the attention? There are very few people who get to captivate the interest of investors. Betting on that off-chance is not a smart decision.”

Status: Unverified

4/9/2015: Clinton staffers meet with diversity hiring group

Top staffers for Hillary Clinton met with members of Inclusv, a diversity hiring effort campaign, in New York on Wednesday to discuss hiring for a wide range of positions in the expected Clinton campaign, sources familiar with the meeting confirmed to BuzzFeed News.

Status: Unverified

4/5/2015: New Apple TV will not support 4K video streaming

When Apple’s next-generation Apple TV finally arrives at market later this year, it will bring a groaning board of new features to the company’s dusty set-top box — as BuzzFeed News first reported. But it will lack one that some Apple watchers had presumed inevitable: 4K video capability.

Sources in position to know tell BuzzFeed News that the 4th generation Apple TV will not support 4K video — a newer high-definition video resolution that delivers a more detailed, immersive picture. “4K is great, but it’s still in its infancy,” said one source familiar with Apple’s thinking.

Status: Unverified

3/29/2015: Harry Reid’s big, complicated Latino legacy won’t end when his career does

Two sources with knowledge of Reid’s plans told BuzzFeed News that even if Reid’s actual retirement was a surprise, his interest in an eventual Cortez Masto candidacy was not. “They really want her in the race, they feel strongly they think she can win. It’s her decision to make but they completely and utterly support her,” one said.

“[Reid] really likes her,” another added. “He has considered her for a long time, she’s a smart individual and somebody that can carry his legacy.”

Status: Unverified

3/23/2015: Latino activists sign on to draft Warren letter calling for contested Democratic primary

Sources with knowledge of outreach by MoveOn.org said other Latino organizations have been approached and are mulling joining the effort, with the announcement of another Latino leader in the pipeline soon.

Status: Unverified

3/20/2015: Here comes the long awaited new Apple TV

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the subscription internet TV service Apple’s been trying to get off the ground since 2009 appears to be finally headed to market. And now sources familiar with the company’s plans tell BuzzFeed News that a successor to its dusty and recently discounted Apple TV set top box is headed to market as well. Apple intends to show the device off at its annual World Wide Developers Conference in June along with a long-awaited App Store and a software development kit to help developers populate it.

Status: Unverified

1/30/2015: Ready For Hillary Ramps Up Its Outreach To Faith Leaders

It went much better than another recent meeting between Democratic leadership and black clergy, sources say.

At least three unnamed sources in this story.

Status: Still unverified