2017.06.30 Last Week in Digital Media

Here’s what you may have missed.

  • An update I neglected to share last week, is that Netflix, is testing pre-roll promotional videos before you watch a show. The videos are limited to promotions for Netflix original content. It’s a limited test at the moment, but also gives a good example of how advertising could one day work on the platform.
  • Google’s division that experiments with new products offerings (Area 120) released some experimental apps. The first is Uptime, which allows co-viewing and chats while watching YouTube without the need to be in the same room.
  • Another Area 120 experiment announced was VR Ads. Details and a concept video are on the Area 120 developer blog. It’s worth a look for the demo video. Access to the development kit is limited at the moment and Google is only accepting registrations of interest.
  • The IAB tech lab announced the final ads.txt specification. Adoption of ad.txt will improve transparency on who has the access and right to sell a publisher’s inventory programmatically i.e. no more someone saying they sell something but really having access indirectly. If you want to see ads.txt content, it’s already live on BusinessInsider.
  • Facebook now has 2B monthly active users globally. There’s a chart on recode, that shows you the growth over time. A more interesting chart is on techcrunch and shows you Facebook user numbers relative to YouTube, Snapchat and twitter.
  • Now that iOS 11 is in beta we’re seeing screenshots of how users are notified when an app is tracking their location in the background. This includes a very prominent blue bar that calls out the app whenever is tracking a user in the background. This is really going to disrupt the location tracking market.
  • The EU fined Google $2.7B for allegedly manipulating search results. This is primarily in the area of online shopping/price comparison services. Google is appealing the decision. The entire case is interesting as Amazon is increasingly becoming the search gateway for online shopping, so Amazon could emerge a winner from the decision.
  • The Amazon Echo Show is now officially available  (this is the Echo with a screen). Scripps and Time Inc have already updated their Alexa skills to show video content. Which may indirectly open up video advertising opportunities or branded content within smart assistants.
  • June 29th marked the 10 year anniversary date of the release of the iPhone (the iPhone was announced in January, but not available to buy until June). There’s a host of retrospectives you can find online all of which is fueling excitement about what we will see in the next iPhone.

The fun distraction for the holiday weekend is this AR version of Super Mario made using an a Hololens (Microsoft’s AR hardware) and tested in Central Park. AR is going to be a fun and interesting world for brands and advertising.

Have a great 4th of July.