Here’s the last week in digital media, enjoy!
FACEBOOK F8 – Facebook Developer’s Conference
Last week Facebook held F8, their annual developer’s conference. The IPG Media Lab has a great read on what F8 means for brands, but here’s my take.
- there was indirect support for Facebook Live, despite lingering concerns around brand safety. Facebook demonstrated that the Facebook Portal would support live-streaming. Indirectly signaling Facebook will continue to promote and support Facebook live.
- WhatsApp is coming to the Facebook Portal, which might open the door to Portal being considered as a retail tool, where Facebook and WhatsApp communications don’t necessarily have to happen on a mobile device.
- a lot of talk about Facebook moving to a privacy-by-design future balanced with a lot of conversation around Facebook Groups being the “public squares”. Reading between the lines, establishing the groundwork that activity in “public” environments would be the basis for ad targeting. Facebook is encouraging the use of groups with a new ad campaign.
- eCommerce is increasingly part of Instagram’s future, with new tools that enable you to tap-to-buy on items worn or shown by a creator. This feature is in limited beta with select creators and brands need to be using Instagram checkout to participate in the beta.
- Alphabet (Google’s parent company) released its Q1 results, missing some analyst estimates. Revenue came in at US$36.3B (vs US$37.3B estimates). This quarter also included a US$1.7B charge from the EU for anti-competitive advertising practices. Some are speculating that Alphabet’s slowing growth might be a sign that competition is heating up in search.
- new fronts week saw announcements from retailers moving more substantially into advertising. Walmart, hinted at interactive content coming to Vudu via a JV partnership with Eko. This includes a move to introduce shoppable ads. Vudu has indicated it will continue to be a subscription-free, ad-supported product.
- Target Media Network has relaunched and rebranded as roundel. roundel will offer advertising services for anything, not just products sold through Target’s retail channels.
- Spotify’s Q1 2019 results saw them report 216MM Monthly Active Users (MAUs), with premium subscribers coming in at 100MM.
- you probably are not using it and don’t know anyone who was (as it was in Denmark only)… but Facebook is shutting down their youth-focused group video chat product Bonfire. Expect some of the features to be rolled into Facebook and Instagram.
- Spotify has launched its standalone radio app Spotify Stations (launched in Australia first). Stations has been designed for lean-back listening, with a clean, simple, large-font interface.
- in other Spotify news (there’s a lot this week), Spotify has launched an alpha of voice-enabled advertisements. What makes these different is that it doesn’t require a smart speaker, the voice-interactivity is handled within the Spotify app.
- an interesting execution that might inspire an idea, a Belgian water brand has made custom plates for restaurants that when you try and Instagram your food, QR codes in the plate launch a link encouraging you to put down your smartphone.
- In big news from YouTube, YouTube Originals will no longer be locked behind the paywall and instead be ad-supported and free-to-all.
- during the new fronts, Hulu’s CEO shared that Hulu has 28MM subscribers, up 8MM from last year (and from 25MM in January).
- twitter is increasing its focus on video, securing deals with 13 premium content companies including CNN, WSJ, LiveNation, the NFL, and MLB. It’s interesting to see twitter focus on established publishers rather than creators, giving an edge to twitter when it comes to video brand safety.
- maybe I’m reading too much into this, but the number thirteen seems to be the magic number for tech. company content deals. YouTube has struck a deal with the MLB to stream 13 games live during the second half of the 2019 season.
- in a move that may mess with your living room and how content is produced forever, Samsung has made a TV that rotates so you can watch it vertically or horizontally (this link is in Korean, Google translate is your friend).
- Altice has bought streaming video company Cheddar for US$200MM in an all-cash deal. Possibly a sign that cable companies need multi-platform distribution to subsidize their content businesses. After all, Cheddar has distribution (and frequently deals) across all of the major digital platforms.
FRAUD, BRAND SAFETY & PRIVACY
- a recent ANA-WhiteOps report says that ad fraud is down, the report cites ads.txt and TAG as important industry initiatives that have contributed to the decline. As a counterpoint, the study is heavily weighted towards desktop advertising when the fraud on mobile and OTT environments is on the rise.
- Google will be making it easier to keep your information private, with a soon to be released feature that can auto-delete your location and activity history after a set number of days. You will be able to manage your preferences in the MyAccount settings on Google.
- Instagram and Facebook have moved to ban far-right extremists from their platforms. The move comes after far-right conspiracy theories have spilled over into real-world violence over the past few months.
- YouTube’s CEO has published a blog post, explaining why YouTube suspended on videos of children and the trade-offs necessary to keep the platform (and brands) safe. At the same time, outlining how important creators and artists are to the platform. There’s also a call for creators to lobby to EU Copyright directive Article 17 (previously Articles 11 and 13), and encouraging creators to sign a petition against the incoming laws.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week.