The Rundown: UTA buys MediaLink, signaling interest in getting deeper into brand advertising and media
With its acquisition by UTA for $125 million overnight, the not-easily-defined MediaLink (is it an agency, a consultancy, a media firm, or a matchmaker-on-steroids?) ascended to another level of power and influence that stretches beyond its media and advertising confines.
And while the sale by MediaLink’s current owner Ascential makes MediaLink founder and CEO Michael Kassan even richer and more powerful, the biggest winner is more likely UTA, which now adds a level of expertise and access in media, ad-tech, mar-tech and brand marketing to its talent and sports base.
The key details
- Kassan, arguably one of the more powerful and influential figures in media, marketing and advertising today, remains CEO of MediaLink but also becomes a partner in UTA. His influence will ostensibly stretch into sports and movies more than it has to date.
- MediaLink will continue to advise and consult in the media space, having had a role in several major mediapalooza part 3 deals this year. It will also absorb UTA’s marketing arm, even though the name of the merged unit will be UTA Entertainment & Culture Marketing.
- The move also signals a greater involvement in the booming creator space, based on a quote attributed to Kassan in the press release announcing the deal. “MediaLink will be deeply immersed in a creator culture represented by UTA — one that pivots on entrepreneurship and an unwavering passion for artists, entertainment and media,” said Kassan.
- Given that the Cannes International Festival of Creativity (aka Cannes Lions), which is an Ascential-owned event, has largely been sidelined by COVID the last two years, it’s unclear how much MediaLink’s imprimatur will remain on it. Kassan is quoted in the release as saying “We will continue our deep partnership with Cannes Lions under our new ownership.”
- The deal, a marriage between the marketing prowess of Madison Avenue and the entertainment jugggernaut of Hollywood, is vaguely reminiscent of 1991’s shock move by Creative Artists Agency to muscle its way into marketing by wresting the Coca-Cola business away from McCann-Erickson — only this move is a bit less hostile.
“This deal really gives [Kassan] a lot more juice,” said the CEO of an independent agency based on the West coast, who declined to speak for attribution. “He’s surrounded by loyalists, but now he’s got access to entertainment and talent at another level.”
But it also gives UTA back-door, through-the-kitchen, table-in-the-front (think the Copacabana scene from Goodfellas) access to brands, media companies, and agencies — along with a strong advisory group.
Newsletter publishers say they continue to see uptick in revenue despite advertising slowdown
At a time when larger media companies are feeling the pressure of the economic downturn and advertising slowdown, newsletter businesses continue to be in a period of revenue growth.
TikTok’s CEO faces bipartisan skepticism in first Congressional hearing on security concerns
The hearing comes amid calls to remove TikTok from government devices and in some cases even ban it entirely.
Media Briefing: What to expect at the Digiday Publishing Summit
As DPS draws nearer, top pain points for publishers are coming to light.
SponsoredHow advertisers are leveraging omnichannel attribution and measurement to power CTV
Sponsored by MNTN Connected TV advertising has joined and expanded the larger ecosystem of campaigns that advertisers deploy. As such, omnichannel marketing strategies now encompass television and mobile devices, tablets and other screens such as out-of-home. And as customers engage across these different touchpoints, brands are seeking and moving their measurement and analytics efforts to […]
New app launches through Apple hoping to win with ‘zero-party data’ when others haven’t
Caden's new app lets users connect data from their Uber, Amazon, Netflix and other accounts in exchange for money. Will it take off?
‘The next level for us’: The New York Times eyes better retention for games in subscription drive
The games division is focusing on finding new ways to mine the inherent competitive nature of games like encouraging people to play multiple games in a single session or through new achievements and rewards for progression.