Here’s all the news that you might have missed over the holiday break and the first week back.
- Rumors are swirling that Amazon is about to introduce advertising on Alexa/Echo devices. Amazon has denied this saying such rumors are false and ill-informed. But the definition of “advertising” on Alexa/Echo is very broad and could be anything from sponsored messages in 3rd party audio or video, which may not technically be ads delivered by Amazon.
- Facebook continues to leverage Instagram to battle Snapchat. The latest development is a test that lets Instagram users post stories directly to WhatsApp. The test seems limited to Brazil at the moment.
- If you have spare time on the weekends and have a creative streak, Snapchat has released Lens Studio as a downloadable Windows or MAC application. This opens the door to anyone interesting in making AR experiences on Snapchat.
- Bloomberg reports that Amazon may bid for English Premier League (EPL) rights in the UK. If Amazon was to bid and be successful, this would be a significant development as EPL was one of the foundational building blocks for BSkyB’s success.
- Facebook has secured rights to stream the Golden Globes red carpet pre-show (picking up rights previously held by twitter). Last year, twitter reported 2.7MM watch (some part of) the stream, so will be interesting to see how Facebook’s numbers stack up.
- Nielsen’s 2017 year-end music report (full report available for download) states that on-demand audio streaming now accounts for 54 percent of total audio consumption, has now passed all other ownership formats, including physical and digital album sales and other digital track equivalents, for the first time.
- The latest Nielsen report is good news as Spotify prepares for an IPO, Spotify has also recently confirmed via twitter that it has 70MM subscribers.
- Podcasting continues to gather momentum and Apple have launched their Podcast Analytics beta. Some of the data available includes per episode minutes of listening time. So if you’re using podcasts for clients, you will get a better idea of the effectiveness of ad placements within a podcast.
- In one of the more interesting audio deals of date, Facebook and Universal Music have done a deal that gives Facebook (and Instagram/Oculus) users to use Univeral licensed music across the various platforms. Facebook may have done this deal to pre-empt copyright concerns or as part of a future music service.
- A key date to remember this year is February 15th. That’s the date that Chrome’s Ad Blocker will come into effect and block all ads that are not compliant with the Coalition for Better Ads. It’s critically important you review your client media to ensure you have compliant ads – or you may find yourself with pacing/delivery issues in February (and ongoing).
- Facebook launched their “snooze” feature. letting you temporarily unfollow a person, page or group for 30 days. Quoting from Facebook’s own PR, “the people, Pages, and groups you snooze will not be notified. You will be notified before the Snooze period is about to end and the setting can also be reversed at any time”
- CNN has canceled (Official word is that it’s not a cancellation merely a “pause”) their daily news show “The Update” on Snapchat (it premiered in August). There are reports that CNN was not able to see a path to profitability.
- Separately, there are rumors Snap may force users to watch 3 seconds of ads before skipping. This would be another big change for Snap – but given Snap’s reversal on things such as data, targeting, and location reporting, not a completely surprising move as they work to build out their ad business.
Have a great week.