2018.06.15 Last Week in Digital Media

It’s a big week ahead, with Vidcon and Cannes putting the spotlight on video, content, and creativity. Looking forward to being able to share all of the news from these industry events next week. Until then, here’s all the news you may have missed from last week (and there is a lot of news!).



  • Epic, the makers of Fortnite, have confirmed the game now has 125million players (in less than a year). They have also released more details around their US$100MM prize pool stating that “qualifications will be based on merit” and that Epic won’t be “selling teams, franchises and won’t let 3rd parties leagues do that either”. Whether this rules out advertising based team sponsorship is yet to be clarified.


  • AdBlocking is something the industry doesn’t talk about because there’s no monetary cost rather opportunity cost. There’s recent research out of the UK, from the industry group representing publishers (Association of Online Publishing) reporting that the average cost to publishers of lost ad revenue is £630,000. Trend-wise, UK publishers are seeing desktop ad blocking down (from 31.7% 29.9%) but mobile up (from 0.7% to 1.3%).
  • Exactly how much value do consumers place on their personal data? Recent research suggests that US consumers value their personal information at $153. It all reminds me of this great XKCD cartoon, showing the retail experience if the value of personal data was negotiated at checkout.
  • The ARF (Advertising Research Foundation) has released some research that suggests 6-second ads get more attention per second than 15s and 30s (11% and 8% respectively). The research did provide some caveats that 6 seconds often have premium pods and stand alone, but these caveats only further highlight the benefit of 6-second spots.

Transparency, Trust & Brand Safety

  • Facebook’s rules around political and issue-based advertising have raised the ire of publishers with ads promoting stories about politicians being blocked and publishers withdrawing spend on Facebook. Facebook has attempted to clarify their position but they seem to be standing by a decision to treat any ad as potentially political advocacy regardless of the source (that also includes brand advertisers).
  • Apple made a major move this week that will have an impact on agencies, advertisers, and Facebook with revised App Store Review Guidelines ban applications that “collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing.” This could impact some of the insights tools agencies have access to profile app users, build app personas competitively target, to Facebook’s Onavo offering. At the time of writing, apps that offer this functionality have not been removed but definitely watch-this-space.
  • Following Facebook’s appearance before the US Senate, the company received over 2000 follow up questions. I haven’t made my way through the documents yet, but the additional questions are varied and cover things like state specific impact of Cambridge Analytica, questions about how much data Facebook collects, and seeking clarification of various reports on what Facebook may or may not do).  You can download Facebook’s Judiciary response here and Senate response here (warning, large files, 454 pages – I recommend doing this on a desktop when you have a few hours). One of the highlights though is Facebook as launched something called TTC Labs (Trust, Transparency, and Control) to better inform consumers about sharing of personal data.
  • In a blast from sources of truth past, Encyclopedia Brittanica is offering a free Chrome plugin-in to help fight fake and factually incorrect information surfacing in Google search result snip-its. Wired has a write-up on the way the plug-in works and some of the controversies surrounding Google (and others) use of Wikipedia. Definitely a plugin worth installing.
  • An update on the California Privacy Right to Privacy Act, remember June 25th, as this is the date that it will be announced whether or not the proposal will be on the ballot. Also of note, California political disclosure records have revealed that Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Uber have funded the group lobbying against the proposal via the “Committee to Protect Californian Jobs”. Facebook has also contributed but (back in April) said it would no longer fund opposition to the proposal (in the light of Cambridge Analytica).

Have a great week and if you’re going to any of the industry events, travel safe.


PS. A fun diversion video for you, watch kids experience 1980s tech, my favorite quote “I wish that it had more color“.