Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all of the news you may have missed:
- as the audio chat app Clubhouse gains traction, as well as Twitter Spaces, Facebook is now rumored to be working on their own similar service called “Fireside.” If you get a chance, I really encourage you to listen into either a Clubhouse or Spaces chat, as it feels like the offering could be disruptive to podcasting.
- the US TikTok ban and sale to Walmart-Oracle looks like it is off-the-table under the Biden-Harris Administration. There’s no official word yet, but worth knowing that Feb 18th is an appeals deadline for the US Government to seek to enforce the ban.
- Instagram will not promote content in Reels that features a TikTok watermark. It’s not surprising that Instagram has made this decision as it seeks to ensure Reels has original content.
- twitter has confirmed it is testing non-advertising based revenue models, including subscriptions. This doesn’t mean everyone would pay to use twitter, rather than additional features or services might come at a cost.
- spotted in the wild, Google is testing an “about this search result” feature when it shows results. It explains details behind the result, when the page listed was indexed, and how Google search works.
- TikTok has inked a music licensing deal with Universal Music. This means TikTok users will now be able to incorporate music from Universal’s full catalog. If you’re tracking, TikTok has deals now with Universal, Warner, and Sony’s music divisions.
- an interesting rumor floating around is that Microsoft made approaches to acquire Pinterest (paywall). The deal allegedly fell apart, as Pinterest expressed a continued desire to remain an independent company.
- staying with Pinterest, the company is planning its first advertising summit called “Pinterest Presents.” The virtual event will be held on March 3rd, across multiple countries, and you can register your interest here.
- Spotify has patented technology that monitors and infers emotion from speech. There are no details on when or if Spotify would even integrate the patent into the service.
- Warner Media has announced that HBO Max will launch in Latin America in June. European-based HBO services will transition to the HBO Max brand later this year.
- there are reports that Facebook is working on developing its own smartwatch (paywall). The watch would allegedly use Android OS, but little else is known.
- from a recent series of tweets, Linked In will be launching a creator program soon. With the company looking to hire a Linked In Head of Community to support and grow creator programs.
- Disney’s Q1 2021 earnings had some updates on Disney’s streaming services (PDF link). Hulu has 39.4MM subscribers and Disney+ 94.9MM. This means Disney+ has already exceeded its 4-year goal and now has a target of 230 million and 260 million total paid subscribers by the end of the fiscal year 2024.
- the Q4 2020 results of twitter (PDF link) saw monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs) increase by 5MM (192MM average), with user growth in both the US and internationally.
- the proposed media law in Australia that would seek to have platforms pay for news moved closer to becoming law, and this is seeing the war of words between Google and Microsoft heat up. Microsoft published a post calling for the US to embrace a similar law, Google then responded with its own blog post criticizing Microsoft and the proposed law. Meanwhile, Google is accelerating the rollout of Google News Showcase, launching in Australia, Argentina, and the UK.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- worth noting, Facebook is testing dialing back political content in Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia. Twitter has also stated that the ban of former President Trump is permanent, regardless of whether Trump runs for office again.
- YouTube has received accreditation from the Media Ratings Council (MRC) for content-level brand safety. To be clear, this certifies YouTube’s content-level controls and certain-types of inventory, not that all of YouTube is brand safe.
- Facebook published its latest Community Standards Enforcement Report (CSER) for Q4 2020. Facebook’s unaudited CSER claims that hate speech prevalence declined and that it removed more hate speech, bullying, and harassment-based content.
- a reminder not to assume targeting options available in a platform are legal, with an investigation by The Markup finding that Google had enabled the ability for advertisers to exclude non-binary people from seeing job ads. Google has confirmed it is making changes to prevent this discrimination.
Have a great week.
PS. As it’s a holiday weekend in the US, multiple distractions! The first, a fun tool that lets you create your own Bayeux Tapestry so you can relive great historic moments in brand safety or Pokemon. The next is Epic Game’s MetaHuman Creator, which will (soon) let people create digital humans (this is wow-inducing software). The final and more productive distraction is Abbreviations.com. The media industry is worse than most at TLAs, but this website can help. It also lets you filter by industry/category, which can be helpful in client meetings. That said, you should never be afraid to ask for clarification. TTFN!