Verizon and AT&T's billion-dollar bets on advertising and media are falling apart

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for September 8. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at [email protected]

Today's news: Why telecoms have struggled to create advertising businesses, Trump administration eyes more Chinese app bans, and how influencers are making money off the boom in plant sales.

People walk past the AT&T store in New York's Times Square, June 17, 2015.Brendan McDermid/Reuters

AT&T spent billions to revolutionize advertising – now it looks like it's all but giving up on it

  • Verizon and AT&T have spent billions building tech and media companies with the goal of changing how advertising works, reports Lucia Moses.
  • However, both have struggled. Verizon has written down the value of its media properties significantly, and AT&T is reportedly selling parts of its media business.
  • Their struggles have to do with a mix of timing, execution, and fundamental strategy.

Read the full story here.

The Trump administration is looking at banning more Chinese apps, as TikTok sale talks stall

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said that the US is looking at blocking more Chinese apps in addition to TikTok. He did not specify which apps could be banned.
  • The Trump administration ordered TikTok to sell its US business and the app is in talks with Microsoft and Oracle.
  • China has put new export laws in place that give the country veto power over any deal, which could slow down a sale.

Read the full story here.

Nick Cutsumpas, Nick Cutsumpas, @FarmerNickNYC@FarmerNickNYC

An Instagram plant influencer explains his brand sponsorship strategy and how his rates have changed as demand for houseplant content has surged

  • With people spending more time at home due to the pandemic, sales of houseplants have soured. 
  • Influencers like Nick Cutsumpas — known as Farmer Nick on Instagram — have seen an uptick in followers and deals with brands, reports Sydney Bradley.
  • Cutsumpas starred in the recent Netflix show "The Big Flower Fight" and said that he has signed five brand deals over the past few months. He said that he charges $1,500 for a sponsored IGTV video on Instagram that is two to three minutes long.

Read the full story here.

More stories we're reading:

  • We asked 12 founders who raised nearly $200 million during COVID-19 for their tips on wooing investors during a crisis (Business Insider)
  • 'I don't think the traffic is ever coming back to where it was': Ex-Whole Foods CEO reveals his predictions for the future of grocery shopping (Business Insider)
  • VCs say these 19 e-commerce startups are thriving during the coronavirus pandemic as online shopping takes off (Business Insider)
  • US media spending drops 19.1 percent in first half of 2020 (Ad Age)
  • New owner of National Enquirer, US Weekly to furlough staff (New York Post)

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at [email protected] and subscribe to this daily email here.

— Lauren

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Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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