NBCUniversal has launched its ShoppableTV, which displays QR codes during specific moments in TV shows and takes viewers directly to e-commerce sites once scanned, during its coverage of the French Open tennis tournament. According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, a series of such “shoppable moments” are running during games featuring No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic. Viewers of Djokovic’s matches will be alerted to hold their phone cameras up to the screen to scan a QR code that will take them to Lacoste’s website, where they can purchase items from the Lacoste x Novak Djokovic Collection, which includes two "statement outfits" — one in bright orange and one in black and white. Among the NBCUniversal TV brands set to participate in the ShoppableTV initiative over the coming months are NBC, NBC Sports, Telemundo, USA Network, Bravo, E! and CNBC Prime.
Gannett and GateHouse Media, the two newspaper groups with the largest circulations in the U.S., have held talks that could lead to a merger, the Wall Street Journal reports. Gannett recently defeated a bid by hedge-fund owned Digital First Media to win control of the company by installing its own board members. Sources told the WSJ that Gannett has also approached Tribune Publishing and McClatchy about possible deals. Gannett currently owns 109 daily newspapers, including USA Today, the Detroit Free Press and the Arizona Republic. GateHouse’s 156 daily papers and 464 weeklies are largely published in small markets. If the two companies do combine, they would control one out of every six papers in the country. The increased size of the organization would likely give it a bigger market for the digital advertising that is sold through its USA Today network. It would also open the door for a round of cost-cutting as duplicate functions—and jobs—are eliminated.
Hearst Magazines has launched Sample Ignition 360, a social media ad product that lets people request free samples of a product in exchange for their email address and shipping information, according to a report on tech website Digiday. The product is a collaboration with online sampling business SoPost. The ads for the samples can be distributed via Facebook and Instagram, or within Instagram or Facebook Stories pages for specific Hearst publications. Hearst packages and ships the products to customers who submit their information. The publisher, which keeps the contact info, can also get back to those customers via email, soliciting feedback and encouraging users to write reviews for the brand to use, if the advertiser desires. Though Sample Ignition 360 will be limited to social channels for now, the goal is to create versions of the product that can be distributed across Hearst’s other channels, including its owned and operated websites.