Another busy week, here’s the news from last week in digital media:
- Amazon is retiring the names Amazon Media Group and Amazon Advertising Platform (the latter will now be known as Amazon DSP) rebranding their ad business “Amazon Advertising”.
- UM client, BMW have announced their in-car own voice assistant. The assistant is compatible with other assistants like Alexa, and will provide typical voice assistant functions as well as driver safety offerings e.g. helping you stay alert if tired. BMW’s voice assistant will be coming to cars in 2019.
- the EU has approved Apple’s acquisition of Shazam. The EU statement on the approval is notable as the decision calls out understanding how and where the data as a determining factor. Apple’s plans for Shazam are still unknown but it’s reasonable to expect integration into Siri and AppleMusic (but unlikely to be time for Apple’s iPhone announcements next week).
- twitter has launched (within iOS) an audio-only version of Periscope (their live stream offering). The offering came out of twitter’s #HackWeek (details here). The move to audio-only may seem odd in a world racing to video, but given the popularity of podcasts it may open the door to innovations in that category (live talk-back with a replay later).
- it’s rumored Amazon will be entering the free video streaming market (competing with Roku’s free offering). Amazon’s offering is potentially called “FreeDive” and it would be one of Amazon’s first moves to offer content independent of an Amazon Prime subscription.
- CBS have confirmed they will stream SuperBowl LIII across all platforms/devices without requiring authentication. The key thing here is that it won’t require authentication, removing a barrier to digital making up the majority of a major event audience.
- a rumor doing the rounds is Instagram is planning to build a separate eCommerce/shopping app called IG Shopping. Shopping isn’t new to Instagram (it has been available since 2017) and may be an attempt by Instagram to move into Pinterest’s territory given the growth of social commerce and the phone camera as an input device.
- Nielsen acquired eSports measurement firm SuperData. SuperData has access to monthly spend data for over 160MM gamers. SuperData will continue to operate as a separate brand and form part of Nielsen’s eSports unit that was announced last year.
- Despite eSports representatives meeting with the IOC back in June, eSports (in their current form) won’t be coming to the Olympics soon as the IOC President as described some as being “too violent”.
- In more positive news for eSports, there were eSport events at the recent Asian Games in Indonesia with Arena of Valor, League of Legends and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 played in demonstration tournaments.
- Back in 2017 at Google I/O, Google introduced Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) which are websites that operate like apps and can be installed on your phone home screen. twitter, uber, instagram, and Google all have PWA versions of their apps. There’s now an app-store for PWA’s called appsco.pe. For clients and brands who have mobile offerings better experienced in an app, PWAs are a good alternative and it’s worth having a look on appsco.pe to see what can be achieved in a PWA.
- Pubmatic reports that they’re seeing in-app ad spend increase faster than mobile web, driven by increased demand for mobile video and declines in mobile web CPMs. Making it timely to remind you of the IAB TechLabs open measurement SDK for mobile in-app verification and viewability and if you’re not demanding that mobile app environments you’re advertising in support the IAB standard SDK, you don’t have any guarantees on inventory quality/delivery.
Trust, Safety, and Privacy
- a recent Pew Research study shows that Cambridge Analytica and #deleteFacebook have had an impact on the platform. This includes 42% of those surveyed taking a break from Facebook and users actively adjusting their privacy settings. The latter is interesting, as younger users are skewing higher when it comes to adjusting privacy settings and/or deleting Facebook. This runs counter to the belief that younger users are more open to data being open, shared, and public.
- twitter permanently banned Infowars citing repeated policy violations. Arguably an overdue decision, twitter was the last hold-out. It’s a positive sign that platforms are understanding that they need to exercise editorial control when it comes to creating a safe environment for users and advertisers. For advertisers, the activist behind #BlockParty500 to help users block Fortune 500 ad accounts on twitter as part of a strategy to lobby for action, has now ended the ad blockade.
- the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence met with representatives from Facebook and twitter (Google was invited but declined) during the week. Digiday has the best write up on 5 key takeaways, The FCC (in a blog post) did hit at the potential for regulation of social media prior to the hearings. During the week Timothy Wu, a policy advocate at Columbia University, conducted an interview on the case to break up Facebook (also announcing a book on the topic “The Curse of Bigness” due out in November).
- The Californian Privacy Act has already been amended by lawmakers. One of the key changes moves the effective date from Jan 1, 2020 to after the California Attorney General adopts regulations, or by July 1, 2020, whichever occurs first. Industry groups are still planning to lobby for other changes.
Have a great week.
PS. Two distractions this week. A back to school themed one – Google has a free tool to help anyone teach Computer Science. Not interested in helping teach CompSci? Then try this site (you need to access this from your PC not mobile) that uses neural networks to lets you build and evolve AI creatures.