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6:55 PM ET, February 5, 2020


 Top News: 
Peter Kafka / Vox:
Spotify will buy The Ringer, the podcast-centric media company run and owned by Bill Simmons, and plans to hire Simmons and his approximately 90 employees  —  The Ringer CEO Bill Simmons in 2015 |  Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair  —  It's the fourth podcast deal Spotify has done in a year.
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Spotify reports Q4 revenue of $2B, up 24% YoY; 271M total MAUs, up 31% YoY, as paying users rise 29% YoY to 124M; 16% of its MAUs engage with podcast content  —  Streaming music now accounts for more than 80% of all music consumption in key markets like the US, and one of the big leaders in the field is reaping some of the rewards.
Wall Street Journal:
Sources: DOJ reached out to more than a dozen publishers, ad agencies, and ad tech rivals of Google as its online ad tools become a focus of antitrust probe  —  Antitrust enforcers have reached out to more than a dozen publishers, ad tech rivals and ad agencies
Tom Foremski / ZDNet:
Although Google disclosed many financial metrics for the first time in Q4, it removed cost-per-click, which has steadily declined, and the number of paid clicks  —  Google makes less money per click every quarter.  Now, we won't know how much less.  Is there trouble ahead in online advertising?
Mairav Zonszein / Columbia Journalism Review:
The Forward has trimmed staff and operating losses, ended its print edition, shifted from news toward opinion, and, progressives say, abandoned the Jewish left  —  How America's Jewish newspaper lost the left  —  Last year was not great for The Forward, the only national Jewish media outlet in the United States.
Knight Foundation:
Knight announces grants up to $20K for managing newsroom digital publishing systems of nonprofits and/or those serving people of color, underrepresented readers  —  Three-year initiative will give publishers subsidies to adopt and manage digital platforms  —  Contact: Roshni Neslage …
Researchers says hackers with ties to the Iranian government posed as journalists from WSJ, CNN, and Deutsche Well to target academics and researchers  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When Iranian-born German academic Erfan Kasraie received an email from The Wall Street Journal requesting an interview, he sensed something was amiss.
Discussion: @jessepesta, @maibortpetit and @jmalsin
Kayleigh Barber / Digiday:
Verizon Media launches a new, millennial-focused personal finance site called Cashay  —  Verizon Media is launching on Wednesday a new personal finance site for Generation Z and millennials called Cashay.  —  The site will feature a mixture of content, including original stories …
Kevin Roose / New York Times:
Source says The Epoch Times has spent more than $1M on YouTube ads, with its spending increasing sharply in the months after Facebook's August ban on its ads  —  The paper, started by practitioners of Falun Gong, has turned to the video platform for an advertising blitz.
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Disney says Disney+ will roll out to Western Europe in March and India on March 29 through Hotstar; Disney plans to launch Hulu internationally as soon as 2021  —  Hulu will finally expand outside of the U.S., likely as soon as next year.  This tidbit of news was confirmed by Disney Chairman …
Emily McCormick / Yahoo Finance:
Disney beats analyst expectations for Q1, reporting $20.86B in Q1 revenue, up 36% YoY, 26.5M subscribers for Disney+, and 30.4M for Hulu, up 33% YoY
Jakub Parusinski / TheFix:
Slovakia's Dennik N announces its profits have more than doubled to €831K in 2019 from €343K in 2018, says it is caught in a virtuous cycle of growth  —  Denník N, one of Slovakia's top digital media, is on a roll.  After several years as a poster-child for paywalls …
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Jim Waterson / The Guardian:
UK government launches a public consultation on proposals to stop prosecuting people for non-payment of the license fee
 Earlier Picks: 
Kaitlan Collins / CNN:
President Trump awarded Rush Limbaugh with the Medal of Freedom during Tuesday's State of the Union
Sources: Instagram generated ~$20B in advertising revenue in 2019, making up more than a quarter of Facebook's revenue