2019.04.26 Last Week in Digital Media

Here’s the Last Week in Digital Media, a week where I’m worried I might lose subscribers now that Mark Zuckerberg has launched a podcast.


It’s Q1 reporting season, with Facebook, twitter, and Snap releasing results. Here’s the numbers

  • Facebook: reported positive results but with a concern of bad news to come. Facebook’s Q1 report (PDF link) saw Daily Active Users (DAUs) increased from last quarter to 1,562MM although US numbers were flat. Monthly Active Users (MAUs) were also up, but notably, the US also saw numbers bump up (all markets were up). US ARPU sits at US$30.12. On those numbers, it seems Facebook has come through immune to all of the privacy and safety challenges but (and this is a big one) Facebook expects a fine from the FTC and is accruing US$3B just in case (and the FTC may not be the only issue, read on in TRUST & PRIVACY)
  • twitter: had an upbeat Q1, with Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAU) of 134MM (PDF link), revenue was also up YoY. In twitter’s letter to shareholders (PDF link) the company talked about their public prototype of the new twitter app, as well as ways they are working to reduce abuse on the platform, and hinted at new ad products to come (including a focus on direct response and search).
  • Snap: In Snap’s Q1 results (PDF link), DAUs were up (190MM), with 80MM DAU’s in North America. Revenue US$320MM beat Wall St forecasts of US$306MM. ARPU $1.68. Reach claimed 75% of US 13-34 year-olds. Discover is now watched daily by more than half of Discover users (although no specifics on how many users watch Discover). For Snap, the numbers are positive as it’s a return to growth after a few quarters of decline and then flat user numbers.
  • Brave, a web browser that promises privacy, security and built-in ad blocking has announced their opt-in advertising offering. Available to users in the US, Canada, UK, France, and Germany. Brave Ads do not replace current Web page ads, instead, appearing somewhat like notifications. Users earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), a blockchain based currency where the user keeps 70% of the gross revenue paid out. Ads can be purchased via a few ad networks, such as BuySellAds, TAP Network, and AirSwap. There are also plans to let users exchange BAT tokens to pay for premium content as well as other products and services.
  • Snapchat has hired a CMO, ex McDonald’s exec Kenny Mitchell. This matters because Snap it both makes up for the recent loss of Snapchat execs and should see Snap more actively market to both agencies and consumers.
  • Spotify has struck a deal with Oracle Data Cloud specifically to target auto segments, details of the partnership can be found here.
  • if you miss Vine, the reboot called “Byte” made by Vine’s creator, started sending out invites this week. With the increasing use and appeal of TikTok for short-form looping videos, Byte may have an uphill battle on their hands.
  • If you’re interested in the relative performance of the Stories format across various services, there’s a great chart on Techcrunch, that shows just how popular the stories format is across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. Facebook-owned apps dominate at 500MM DAU each vs Snapchat at 190MM.
  • in an interesting move, Verizon has partnered with Google to directly sell YouTube TV to FIOS and Verizon 5G customers. Signaling that Verizon is hedging their bets when it comes to cable unbundling, as well as hedging bets with multiple cable channels moving to a D2C model.
  • there’s a rumor doing the rounds that Comcast is considering selling their stake in Hulu. With Comcast now a minority shareholder (after Disney acquired FOX), it’s easy to understand why there may be truth to the rumor. Although, there has been no official comment from either Disney or Comcast.
  • not technically digital, bit since Viacom has acquired like Vidcon, PlutoTV, and Awesomeness TV (and more) it’s something to have on your radar. The rumors of Viacom and CBS merger are starting to circle once more. All of this is unsurprising as entertainment companies jockey for a position of scale in content production and D2C streaming services.
  • Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Facebook, following on from reports about Facebook storing password files in plain text.
  • In the US the New York Attorney General has opened an investigation into Facebook collecting 1.5MM user email contact lists without permission.
  • Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner also issued a statement during the week saying Facebook had made “serious contraventions of Canadian privacy laws” and reserves the right to pursue further action.
  • Microsoft and Bing Ads has published a report on voice assistants (PDF link). The 40pp report has research around consumer concerns about trust and privacy (pp23) and surprisingly, only 40% of people have concerns about privacy. The report is useful to download and read as it has some handy stats on shopping, common use cases, and attitudes to sharing personal information with voice assistants.


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