Stagwell Media Network buys Brand New Galaxy

Stagwell Media Network buys Brand New Galaxy
L: Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell. R: Piotr Morkowski, CEO of Brand New Galaxy Holding
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Updated 22 April 2022

Stagwell Media Network buys Brand New Galaxy

Stagwell Media Network buys Brand New Galaxy
  • Acquisition allows marketing group to accelerate connected commerce and digital transformation for global brands

DUBAI: Stagwell, a US-based marketing and media network, has bought Brand New Galaxy, a provider of scaled commerce and marketplace solutions for over 150 global brands and 500 e-retailers worldwide.

With 600 employees across Europe, MENA and the US, BNG specializes in digital-first connected commerce solutions scaling. By joining the Stagwell network, it will broaden the group’s e-commerce capabilities to service more complex global clients.

BNG has worked with Stagwell since 2021 via the latter’s global affiliate program. The move marks Stagwell's first acquisition of one of its affiliates.

“We are pleased to welcome Brand New Galaxy to the Stagwell platform, expanding the reach of our global e-commerce offerings. Their state-of-the-art e-commerce and digital transformation technology is another reason clients are choosing Stagwell over traditional holding companies,” said Mark Penn, chairman and CEO of Stagwell.

As part of Stagwell Media Network, Brand New Galaxy will continue to retain its brand identity, and will operate independently under the BNG brand as well as collaborate with other members of the network.

Piotr Morkowski, CEO of Brand New Galaxy Holding, said: “BNG was born as an e-commerce-native business and over the last five years of incredible growth, we have built a set of unique, world-class capabilities to support our global clients across the entire path to purchase. Building a global business of 600 experts in less than five years is no small achievement, but we are hungry to do much more.”

Stagwell Media Network now comprises over 3,500 experts across more than 20 countries and 40 offices, managing close to $5 billion in media.


Report: 74% of Saudi shoppers use Google Search to research products before buying

Report: 74% of Saudi shoppers use Google Search to research products before buying
Updated 07 February 2023

Report: 74% of Saudi shoppers use Google Search to research products before buying

Report: 74% of Saudi shoppers use Google Search to research products before buying
  • Google and Kantar study sheds light on Saudis’ shopping habits during Ramadan

The year’s biggest shopping season, Ramadan, is coming up next month and brands are already planning their marketing activities.

In order to help brands better understand their audiences, Google partnered with data analytics and consulting company Kantar to study Saudi consumers’ shopping behaviors across five product categories during Ramadan — consumer electronics, home and garden, fashion, food and groceries, and beauty.

“The shift we’ve seen in consumer behavior has given retailers the opportunity to deepen their relationships with consumers through digital solutions,” Charbel Sarkis, director, Saudi Arabia and Retail at Google MENA, told Arab News.

“Our goal will continue to empower the retail sector in Saudi and the region to accelerate their digital transformation journey and offer tools and solutions to harness their data to achieve business results and enhance customer relationships,” he added.

Nearly 100 percent of consumers in the Kingdom research products online before purchasing. In their online journey, Google Search is the top destination with 74 percent of Saudi shoppers using it to research product information.

The growth in video is also reflected in shoppers’ search journey with 52 percent of Saudi shoppers using YouTube specifically to research product information.

The platform became the top-used video app in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan last year, with the highest number of active users at 18.1 million, marking an increase of 190,000 users from the previous year.

Consumers use YouTube for more than just research with over 11 million people streaming YouTube on their TV in Saudi Arabia last year and the platform reaching more than 20 million people over the age of 18 in the Kingdom in the same period.

The study identified three distinct shopping behaviors among consumers in the Kingdom. People buy different things for different reasons during the holy month. The majority (41 percent) of consumers said that they shop during Ramadan because they want something new — especially for home and garden products, and consumer electronics.

However, when it comes to beauty, 43 percent said they shop for personal reward, 36 percent prioritize sustainability, and 30 percent of fashion buyers want brands to respect diversity and inclusion.

The second behavior is the need for and the shift toward a hassle-free shopping experience. Around two-thirds of Saudi consumers experience various issues with online shopping during the holy month.

For example, 25 percent of consumer electronics shoppers and 23 percent of beauty shoppers said that independent product reviews are hard to find, while 20 percent of consumers buying consumer electronics and 21 percent of people purchasing products in the home and garden category experience online registration or log-in issues.

The need for a smooth shopping experience is not restricted to online channels. Sixty-three percent of Saudi consumers found offline shopping challenging, specifically when buying food and groceries, with the main issues being limited time to research products, not being able to access online information from inside the store, and unavailability of products.

The third behavior, according to the study, is loyalty or the lack of it. Typically, most Saudi shoppers (84 percent) buy from only one or a few retailers during Ramadan, but an inconvenient shopping experience can change that.

Forty-two percent said they would try a new brand, retailer, or platform if they offer faster shipping; 36 percent would do the same if an item is available elsewhere first, and 33 percent would do so if a product is less expensive.

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Based on these findings, the study suggests that marketers should include detailed information about what they are selling in the advertisement, and create an optimized online experience, especially on mobile.

The report also advises brands to ensure product information is easily available online and accessible from inside the store, with regular updates on stock availability, and to remind consumers of the benefits and conveniences of shopping from their brand by targeting customers who have visited their site before.


Blue tick Twitter accounts spread fake news over Turkiye earthquake

Blue tick Twitter accounts spread fake news over Turkiye earthquake
Updated 07 February 2023

Blue tick Twitter accounts spread fake news over Turkiye earthquake

Blue tick Twitter accounts spread fake news over Turkiye earthquake
  • One misleading video links 2020 Beirut port blast footage to quake destruction
  • ‘So-called news accounts’ should be ‘thoroughly ashamed,’ one user says

LONDON: A blue tick account on Twitter with more than 11,000 followers was accused of spreading fake news after linking a video of the 2020 Beirut port blast to Monday’s 7.5-magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of Syria and Turkiye.

Self-described media and news company CBKNEWS on Monday published a video showing the explosion of ammonium nitrate stored in the Lebanese capital, claiming that the footage showed a nuclear plant that exploded due to the earthquake in Turkiye.

Turkiye has no operational reactors and authorities confirmed that the Akkuyu nuclear site under construction did not suffer any damage during the quakes.

The post was promptly mass reported and Twitter flagged the video to let users know about the misleading content.

CBKNEWS was also reported to have published another video that was also labeled as misleading by the platform.

The page subsequently acknowledged the claims by adding a message about the origin of the video, but it has yet to delete the post.

Since its publication, the video has been retweeted 712 times, including by other blue tick accounts.

The post has sparked anger among users, who called on the channel to take down the post and avoid spreading misleading information.

“This tweet has been reported for misinformation. I suggest everyone else do the same,” one user said.

 

Another described the post as “distatesful,” adding that the “so-called news account” should be “thoroughly ashamed” for posting the content.

 

On Tuesday, Turkish police said that they had detained four people over “provocative” social media posts following the earthquake.

A larger investigation into social media accounts was continuing, police said, without providing further information about the misleading content.


Iran detains journalist whose sister is behind bars for Mahsa Amini coverage

Iran detains journalist whose sister is behind bars for Mahsa Amini coverage
Updated 07 February 2023

Iran detains journalist whose sister is behind bars for Mahsa Amini coverage

Iran detains journalist whose sister is behind bars for Mahsa Amini coverage
  • Elnaz took part in covering the death of Mahsa Amini while in custory of Iran's morality police
  • US-based NGO for journalists' protection urges Iran to release all detained journalists

LONDON: Iran-based journalist Elnaz Mohammadi was detained on Sunday at the Evin prosecutor’s office in Tehran while her sister, journalist Elaheh Mohammadi, also remains in custody following her coverage of Mahsa Amini’s death.

Elnaz, head of the social issues desk at the state-run reformist Hammihan newspaper, was summoned by the local authorities “for an explanation,” Shargh daily reported.

Elnaz is the twin sister of Elaheh, who was arrested in Sep. 2022 for reporting on the Sep. 16 incident involving Iran’s morality police, which sparked country-wide protests.

Elaheh, alongside journalist Nilufar Hamedi, has been behind bars since Sep. 29 for “conspiracy to commit a crime against national security and propaganda against the establishment,” according to Iran International.

Elaheh and Hamedi face the death penalty if charged and convicted of espionage.

Like her sister, Elnaz covered the fallout from Amini’s death in her work at Hammihan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists demanded on Monday that Iranian authorities drop any charges against Elnaz and release her immediately and unconditionally.

It could not be immediately verified where Elnaz was held or whether any charges have been filed against her, CPJ wrote in a statement.

“Iranian authorities must immediately release Elnaz Mohammadi, her sister Elaheh, and all other journalists arrested over their coverage of Mahsa Amini’s death and the ensuing protests,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

“Authorities must let members of the press do their work without fear that they will be summoned and detained,” he added.

The Iranian judiciary has recently expedited the process to sentence — or free on bail — journalists and protesters, sending journalist Hossein Yazidi, who was arrested on Dec. 5, 2022, to prison for a year as well as imposing on him a two-year travel ban, as per Shargh newspaper.


Big Tech not doing enough to remove fake news, activist NGO Avaaz says

Big Tech not doing enough to remove fake news, activist NGO Avaaz says
Updated 07 February 2023

Big Tech not doing enough to remove fake news, activist NGO Avaaz says

Big Tech not doing enough to remove fake news, activist NGO Avaaz says
  • Findings raise doubts over companies's ability to comply with new EU online content rules

BRUSSELS: Twitter, Google’s YouTube, Meta Platform’s Facebook, Microsoft’s LinkedIn and TikTok are not doing enough to remove fake news from their platforms, raising doubts about their ability to comply with new EU online content rules, activist NGO Avaaz said on Tuesday.
The companies are due to present reports this week on the measures they have taken to comply with the updated EU code of practice on disinformation which is linked to the online content rules known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) that came into force last November.
Avaaz said it analyzed a sample pool of 108 fact-checked pieces of content related to a 2022 American anti-vaccine film and found efforts by the social media platforms including Meta’s Instagram to remove disinformation fell short.
“Overall, just 22 percent of disinformation content we analyzed was either labelled or removed by the six major platforms,” Avaaz said.
It said the companies did not do enough to tackle disinformation in languages other than English.
“Despite explicit platform commitments in the code to improve their services in all EU languages, our research found that in certain EU languages — Italian, German, Hungarian, Danish, Spanish and Estonian — no platform took any action against violating posts,” Avaaz said.
“This study suggests that most of the major platforms are failing to comply with their Code of Practice commitments and might infringe upcoming DSA obligations,” the group said.
Meta, Alphabet, Twitter and Microsoft last year vowed to take a tougher line against disinformation after committing to the updated EU code.
Companies face fines up to 6 percent of their global turnover for DSA violations.


Turkiye detains four over quake social media posts

Turkiye detains four over quake social media posts
Updated 07 February 2023

Turkiye detains four over quake social media posts

Turkiye detains four over quake social media posts
  • The four individuals detained for sharing “provocative posts aiming to create fear and panic”

ISTANBUL: Turkish police on Tuesday said they had detained four people over “provocative” social media posts following a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake in southern Turkiye.
The quake struck the region early on Monday, killing more than 4,800 people in Turkiye and Syria, injuring thousands and leaving many more without shelter in the bitter cold.
The four individuals were detained after officers found accounts that shared “provocative posts aiming to create fear and panic,” the police said.
It added that a wider investigation into social media accounts was ongoing but offered no information on the content of the posts.
Turkish social media have been filled with posts by people who complain about a lack of search and rescue efforts in their area, particularly in Hatay.
The police appeared to address such claims on Tuesday.
“The address and location information of citizens who seek help is immediately ascertained and coordination is established,” they said.
Turkish authorities have in the last few years cracked down on social media posts, especially those considered to support “terror,” but this has led to accusations that freedom of expression has been curtailed.