2016.10.28 Last Week in Digital Media

Boo!

  • Alphabet (AKA Google), Amazon and twitter all released financial results during the week. The short story is Google’s results beat expectations, Amazon’s disappointed the market and twitter’s were better than expected, but they are laying off 9% of their staff and closing Vine. 
  • What does all of the twitter news mean? With user growth still languishing and revenue not growing, it feels like twitter really wants to have more appealing financials for any potential acquisition. AdAge has a good breakdown about how twitter’s various ad lines are underperforming. Everything currently points to a tough 12 months ahead.
  • Buried in all of the Amazon news during the week was a leaked internal document claiming Amazon expects to open 2,000 physical retail stores.These are expected to be primarily grocery stores.
  • It was hard not to miss the $35 AT&T 100 Channel OTT announcement during the week. There’s a good breakdown here on what to expect here. 2017 should be a big year in the OTT space and
  • Expect an announcement from Verizon in the OTT in the next 6 months, as during the week they acquired subscription video site Vessel purely for the engineering talent (Vessel will be closed by the time you read this).
  • There was a lot of excitement off the back of the AT&T news that 2017 would be the year addressable TV advertising achieves scale. This week the FCC threw a dampener on that, requiring ISPs to provide people the ability to opt-in/opt-out of having your data sold without permission. This is one of the biggest bits of news in the whole data, privacy, targeting industry in recent times. The full announcement (PDF link) is here.
  • Snapchat’s IPO news continues, with reports that they’re looking to raise $4B at around a $30-$40B valuation. For context, that would be almost 2.5x twitter but around 10% of that of Facebook or just over 5% of Google.
  • Over at Facebook, they are increasingly threatened by Snapchat. Updating the Facebook camera app with filters, face overlays, and a host of other features. All of this is integrated into the newsfeed. I’m surprised that Facebook hasn’t built these features into WhatsApp.
  • Despite Facebook’s Snapchat obsession, influencers on Snapchat are not so happy. Snapchat turned off autoplay for video with one user reporting a 35% drop in video views as a result.
  • Finally, in interesting content news of the week. The New York Times bought the review sites TheWirecutter and TheSweethome. Both sites stand out because they don’t make money from advertising but from Amazon affiliate revenue. Sold for $30M it’s a good result for the site’s founder (Brian Lam) who originally shot to fame as the editor who reported on the “found or stolen” pre-release iPhone.

Have a great Halloween!

Joshua