2018.01.12 Last Week in Digital Media

CES 2018 has come and gone and there is a lot of news. I won’t go into all of the detail, as the IPG Media Lab blog has great recaps of each day, trend observations and more. What was unmissable was the significant presence of Google, specifically the Google Home/Assistant. Despite Google’s booth being (temporarily) flooded out –  it’s clear that there is an earnest battle for the home around voice assistants. So it’s important to be actively thinking now what opportunities voice will unlock in media and marketing. But there’s more to last week than CES, here’s the news you may have missed:


  • A whole host of confidential Snapchat data was published by the Daily Beast detailing five months of data across Daily Active Users (DAUs) and nearly every feature in the app (Snap Maps, Discover, Memories, Geofilters, Lenses, Chat, Audio, and Stories). The key takeaway, Snap is primarily used as a messaging app.
  • Viacom acquired social influencer firm Whosay. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed other than a statement that Whosay will continue to operate independently. The speculation is that Viacom will use Whosay to power Viacom’s digital studio creative business.
  • In proof that the advertising-supported OTT space is growing, AdExchanger reports that Hulu’s 2017 advertising revenue cross $1B. Paid subscribers also grew by 40% from 12MM in 2016, to 17MM in 2017 giving Hulu a total audience reach of 54MM.

Brand Safety

  • YouTube continues to address concerns about brand safety, with Bloomberg reporting that Google will employ10,000 human moderators to review Google Preferred content.

It’s was a big week with news from and on Facebook, so this week it gets its own section.

  • The biggest news of the week was Facebook changing their newsfeed algorithm. prioritizing friends and family over news, brands, etc. Client and brand pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. If you want to know how Facebook communicated the change to publishers, a copy of the email is on digiday.
  • Cheddar has reported a rumor that Facebook is working on a standalone hardware product called “Portal”. The rumored device would have a screen, use voice commands, and be somewhat of a hardware bridge to Facebook Messenger. If the rumor proves true, it would be announced in May of 2018.
  • In real Facebook hardware news, the standalone Oculus Go VR device has been announced in partnership with Xiaomi. Formally announced during CES. The starting price will be $199 and won’t require a phone or a computer, which is a game changer for VR.
  • Facebook continues to position Facebook Messenger towards kids, bringing the Facebook Messenger Kids app to Amazon’s Fire tablets. Fire tablets retail for $50 (with special offers), making them popular with parents as a kid’s first tablet, which may somewhat helpful in driving adoption of the app.
  • Off the back of the Universal Music licensing deal, Facebook has struck a deal with Sony Music. The rights deal across both music publishers is similar, enabling Facebook users to use music from Sony artists without fear of a copyright takedown.


PS. The fun distraction of the week is this AI tool from Cambridge Consultants which will uses AI to determine if your accent is American or British. The test is best done on a computer and you need to give microphone permissions. Apparently, I sound 70% British.