2018.03.09 Last Week in Digital Media

A somewhat slower new cycle this week (Ha ha ha…) with the countdown to the upfront cycle as well as the developer conferences for Facebook and Google, a lot of companies are holding back on announcements.


  • twitter, who have been struggling with the best way to balance account verification against implied endorsement of a user and their opinions may have a solution. twitter is planning to open verification to everyone. Announced during a live stream, twitter confirmed it is still working out the best way to scale the verification to everyone and that verification won’t be mandatory. As yet, there’s no date for when this will come into effect.
  • Facebook now has deals with every major music label, finalizing a deal with Warner Music. The license enables the record label’s music publishing catalogs for use in videos and messages shared by users on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Oculus.
  • Snapchat has approved the ability for media owners who create stories content for Discover to now make branded content ads. These ad products will not be sold by Snap, and are to be negotiated between the publisher and advertisers (agencies) directly. The goal is to enable media owners to create ads that feel more integrated with the content.
  • Google is testing a new material design for search. This may not seem like major news, but the changes seem to cause fewer organic results to appear on a page. Which would have big implications for both SEO as well as paid search strategies (you may need to start buying keywords where you once saw strong organic performance).

Online Video

  • YouTube has inked a deal to be the presenting sponsor of the MLB World Series for the 2018 and 2019 World Series. MLB Network will be added to the YouTube TV bundle of channels. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • If you work with YouTube Creators, you should now ask for better insights on a creator’s unique viewers and impressions as there are major updates the reporting dashboard in YouTube Studio. The new insights give a much better understanding of an individual creators reach on YouTube.

eSports / Gaming

  • Amazon has confirmed it has acquired Gamesparks, a cloud-based gaming technology provider for around US$10MM. Gamespark specializes in providing APIs for multiplayer gaming, leaderboards, etc. What’s notable is that Gamesparks enables cross-platform multiplayer gaming e.g. Xbox vs PS4 vs Android vs iOS which is important as eSports gains traction (enabling competitive gaming independent of the device used).

Brand Safety
I’ve written more a lot about brand safety and computational propaganda over the past few months. Aside from the brand risks, I share news on this topic because brands themselves can be subject to online fraud, manipulation, and fake news. I thought I’d give this context, as it’s important as much to understand the safety risks as it is to know how fake news spreads should your clients or brands be targeted.

  • Instagram and Snapchat have temporarily removed Giphy stickers from their app due to a racist GIF being made available to users. In a statement, Giphy stated that it was “due to a bug in [Giphy’s] content moderation filters specifically affecting GIF stickers”.
  • A study in Science shows that false news spreads faster and further on twitter than real news. The full report is worth a read as it shows that it’s humans (not bots) that spread news and that some of the industry solutions like flagging news as “false” may actually increase the propagation of the false story. If you’re not interested in the full study, the Washington Post has a good write up on the research.

Have a good week.


PS. It’s National Reading Month. If you own a Kindle and are interested in free, recent, copyright eBooks I recommend 1. getting a library card and 2. using the excellent Libby app.  This lets your borrow digital books from your local library.