Welcome to your Last Week in Digital Media, here’s the news you may have missed:
- CES 2020 has wrapped up. For a full summary, I encourage you to check out the IPG Media Lab. My take is a key trend across the event was the emergence of smart health and wellness products particularly around air quality, better-informed diet eating habits, and technology to assist in the quality of life as people age.
- with the National Retail Federation (NRF) show in New York this coming week, Microsoft pre-announced some new eCommerce focused offerings including how they plan to leverage PromoteIQ, a recent acquisition that helps retailers maximize co-op advertising dollars. Home Depot is cited as a retailer having success with PromoteIQ.
- News Corp has sold Unruly to Tremor Video for a reported ~US$19MM . The sale doesn’t mark the exit of News Corp from the adtech business, with News Corp receiving 6.91% of Tremor stock as part of the deal and Unruly retaining access rights to News Corp inventory.
- Mark Zuckerberg has published his 2020 goals and in a break from his yearly
”personal challenge” has outlined a longer-term focus and lists what he thinks will be important over the next 10 years. These are 1. Generational Change; 2. A New Private Social Platform 3. Decentralizing Opportunity 4; The Next Computing Platform; 5. New Forms of Governance. It’s worth reading his full post or check out this story on Techcrunch for a critique of Zuckerberg’s focus.
- an interesting FYI, Amazon is flagging the extension Honey as security risk now that it’s owned by PayPal. It’s an odd decision by Amazon, given the way Honey works is hardly different from Amazon’s own Assistant extension. Opening the door to browser extension wars as companies to open flag competitor owned extensions as a risk.
- a small percentage of Facebook users are now seeing the new Facebook desktop design. There’s no way to opt-in or sign up for the test, but if you are selected you can select to go back to the old design.
- you may remember back in 2018 that EU regulators fined google €4.34B for how Google was the default search engine on Android. Starting March 1, Android users in the EU will get more choice and DuckDuckGo was the big winner (Google will still be an option). You can view the entire list of Android search engine choices by the EU market here.
STREAMING (VIDEO AND AUDIO)
- more details were revealed by Quibi during CES. The service will launch April 6th, have 3+ hours of fresh content daily, with the ad-supported tier costing US$4.99 a month. Quibi’s big announcement was its video format “Turnstyle” where the video can play seamlessly in either horizontal or vertical mode but offers a different perspective/view. For all the hype, it’s identical to the way Snapchat Spectacles videos play. The format works across both content and ads, you can check out an example of Quibi Turnstyle ad here.
- Spotify announced Spotify Podcast Ads powered by “Streaming Ad Insertion” or SAI. The offering can replace existing pre-recorded ads in a podcast (the typical sponsor pre-read) with a targeted ad. It’s not yet available across all podcasts, limited first to podcasts created by Spotify or Spotify exclusives.
- this was a hard one to categorize, but streaming feels like the right place – Verizon is ending the forced bundling of internet and TV, letting people mix and match any combination of services. Of note, Verizon is offering people the option of subscribing to YouTube TV via Verizon.
- there’s a good write up on CNBC of research by The Trade Desk on consumer attitudes to ad-supported streaming services (more than half would be willing to accept ads for lower costs) and the total size of consumer disposable income streaming services (US$20-US$30 total).
- it’s reported that Amazon is looking to sell video ads on its FireTV platform outside of Amazon-owned and operated inventory e.g with the likes of Discovery, Pluto TV, etc. If true, not only would this expand Amazon’s inventory pool but would also position Amazon as a competitor to the advertising ambitions of Roku.
- Google Assistant now has more than 500MM users every month – this is across stand-alone devices, smartphones, etc.
- according to Nielsen US music streams rose 30% last year and account for 82% of music content consumption in the US.
- StreamElements, a company that makes tools for live streaming creators, reports that Facebook Gaming grew 210% from a year ago, making it the fastest-growing gaming platform with twitch declining in share. You can download the report here (free, PDF link)
- Senator Mark Warner’s DETOUR Act (Deceptive Experiences to Online Users Reduction) focused on regulations around Dark Patterns has secured additional bipartisan co-sponsors. This is an interesting one to watch as a by-product could result in more transparency on privacy choices.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- Facebook provided an update on its policy for political advertising which resulted in no real change (and has been criticized) compared to the positions taken by twitter and Google. Facebook will increase the level of transparency on political ads including details on potential reach, the ability to opt-out of custom audience lists, and also limit the number of political ads that they see. Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook also tweeted published an infographic summarizing some of the changes and broadly Facebook’s position.
- as an aside, if you’re after a summary of how social media services handle political advertising, check out this article that summarizes the political advertising positions of Facebook, Google, twitter, Snap, Linked In, Pinterest, TikTok, Reddit, and twitch.
- in other Facebook policy news, the company provided updates on Facebook’s position around “manipulated media” aka fakes. Going forward, Facebook will remove manipulated media if it has been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say” and “the product of artificial intelligence or machine learning that merges, replaces or superimposes content onto a video, making it appear to be authentic.” The policy doesn’t apply to parody or satire.
- an additional 10,000+ Cambridge Analytica documents have been leaked revealing the company was working on elections in over 60+ countries. The documents have been released by former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser. In related news, Facebook failed to quash a shareholder lawsuit in California against Facebook alleging unauthorized use of Facebook user data (paywall).
- TikTok continues to face pressure, with the Department of Defense urging all military personnel to delete the app. CheckPoint Research has also alleged security vulnerabilities with the TikTok app.
- YouTube published additional details on steps being taken to ensure compliance with YouTube’s FTC obligations around kids content. Clarifying what is defined as kids content, how advertising will work, and reiterating a commitment to kids content.
Have a great week.