Street Fight Daily: Uber Closes $3.5 Billion Round, Mary Meeker’s 2016 ‘Internet Trends’

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…

Uber Turns to Saudi Arabia for $3.5 Billion Cash Infusion (New York Times)
In its quest to build a global empire, Uber has turned to the Middle East for its biggest infusion of cash from a single investor. Uber said on Wednesday that it had raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s main investment fund. Uber views the Middle East as an important area in its expansion.

7 Key Data Points from Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report (Recode)
Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins and a longtime tech industry analyst, says that growth of internet businesses is slowing down, and that image sharing and messaging apps are the future. Here are some of the key data points from her talk that you should know about. AdWeek: This year’s presentation underscores the growth of mobile, particularly on social platforms that now control the bulk of ad spending and time spent by users. Nieman Lab: Meeker’s deck indicates that print advertising is not coming back. It will fall substantially further. All newspaper planning for the coming few years needs to reckon with that basic fact.

Moz CEO: Establishing Attribution is About Building Businesses’ Trust (Street Fight)
A lot of local marketing companies are operating in the shadow of prior practices and companies that created a lot of distrust in the market, says Moz CEO Sarah Bird, who will be a speaker at Street Fight Summit West next week: “Part of the vision of online-to-offline attribution is to overcome that snake oil effect and build trust so you can point to data.”

Facebook Says Its New AI Can Understand Text With ‘Near-Human’ Accuracy (Mashable)
Facebook is using its latest AI project to get a lot smarter at understanding text. In fact, the social network says DeepText, its new “text understanding engine,” is so good, it can interpret “several thousands posts a second” with “near-human accuracy.” Introduced Wednesday, DeepText offers an intriguing look into how Facebook is using artificial intelligence.

Lee Enterprises and Okonjo Team Up to Match Ads to News ‘Sentiment’ (Street Fight)
Up until now, most digital ad targeting has focused on marrying the right ad with the individual user. But that kind of targeting can be hit or miss. This new partnership will try and connect the right kind of ad messages to the right editorial content across Lee’s 20 million monthly visitors.

B2B Firms Turn to Marketing Technology to Court Buyers (eMarketer)
Business to business (B2B) marketers are doubling down on various marketing technology tools in 2016 as they look for new ways to attract the sector’s increasingly savvy customer base. According to research from B2B content platform Kapost, mid- and senior-level marketers from a wide variety of B2B firms increasingly rely on marketing technology to fulfill a variety of needs.

The Stage is Set for a Gannett and Tribune Publishing Showdown Here’s What Could Happen (Poynter)
Faithful followers of Gannett’s operatic takeover fight to acquire Tribune Publishing will know that this is decision day — Tribune’s annual meeting will determine whether Gannett got any traction in urging a no-confidence vote in the company’s management.

Survey: More Than Half of Local Online News Sites Sell Sponsored Content (Nieman Lab)
Local independent online news publishers are still heavily dependent on advertising as their primary form of revenue, but they’re experimenting with more ad formats, especially sponsored content, according to a new survey of 93 local news publishers.

Mass Media Is Over, But Where Does Journalism Go From Here? (The Guardian)
Roy Greenslade: Clearly, given that Google and Facebook are now the largest distributors of journalistic content, we journalists – providers of the raw material from which they benefit – need to reach an agreement with them. Unlike our current “big media” publishers, they know more about their users than we ever did about our readers. That’s a great help to us. But does anyone recognize the urgency of reaching an agreement?

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