Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed;
- Spotify is testing a Stories feature that will let influencers / creators incorporate stories in their playlists. The test is only available in the app (iOS and Android). To see it in action, you can check out this playlist from Summer Mckeen.
- at a conference in Germany, Snapchat’s CEO said he believes that TikTok has the potential to be bigger than Instagram.
- it’s rumored that TikTok is on the search for a new US-based CEO. Separately, TikTok also opened a new, bigger office in LA. The new office is in part due to growth (the US team is now 400+ staff) but also positioned as part of their “commitment to the U.S. market”.
- stickers and emojis are coming to Venmo, thanks to a partnership with Holler. The stickers will show up in the Venmo feed and opens the door to branded stickers (ad-like opportunities) in Venmo.
- at an event in Ireland, Apple CEO Tim Cook outlined an optimistic view of Augmented Reality (AR) calling it “the next big thing, and it will pervade our entire lives.”. Cook also expressed excitement for the role Apple can play in healthcare and preventative health but didn’t reveal any specific product details.
- NBC and Snapchat have struck a deal for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with NBC producing 4 daily Olympic shows for Snapchat.
- German investment group MGI, via its subsidiary gamigo, has acquired Verve Mobile. Deal terms have not been disclosed.
- in other deal news, mobile advertising firm Aki acquired Eyeview’s ad personalization tech. Terms were not disclosed, but worth noting Aki is looking to re-hire former Eyeview staff and contacting former clients (you may recall, Eyeview closed in December 2019).
- Google came under fire for changes in the way it displays ads in search results. This is because ads looked very similar to organic results (screenshot). Google has since backtracked on the redesign.
- Vine’s co-founder launched their reboot called Byte. Byte is a 6-second looping video app. Byte also promises to launch a creator monetization program soon. The app is available on both iOS and Android.
- Netflix Q4 2019 results were released, you can view the Netflix Q4 2019 shareholder letter here (PDF link). Netflix acknowledges competitive pressure, which it suggested was having a more pronounced impact in the US than elsewhere and reiterated no interest in advertising. Netflix also adjusted the way it reports on viewership, see pp4 of the shareholder letter.
- Disney+ is launching in Europe a week sooner than expected, adding 8 additional countries with additional European markets to be added by summer.
- Amazon’s Music service has passed 55MM subscribers (includes both free and paid tiers). This is still behind well behind Spotify but brings it closer to Apple that reported 60MM subscribers as of last summer.
- with the PlayStation Vue closing at the end of the month, non-Sony based options are now becoming available on the PS4, the first of which is YouTube TV. Expect to see other streaming TV providers become available over the coming weeks/months.
- Ampere, a data and analytics research firm, claims AppleTV+ has 33MM customers in the US, most of whom are not paying (because AppleTV+ is bundled free with various new Apple hardware products).
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- Brand Safety was a topic at the World Economic Forum (WEF) event in Davos with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) announcing a 3 step plan to accelerate online safety 1. shared safety definitions, 2. common tools and systems, and 3. independent oversight.
- the New York Times has an investigative piece on a company called Clearview, that has the potential to fundamentally change the concept of privacy and the way people interact with social media. In short, Clearview enables law enforcement to upload a photo and it will use AI/ML to find any publicly available social or other photos of that person. It’s important you read the NYT article.
- another New York Times article, they published another piece on location data tracking as part of its ongoing Privacy Project focus. Underscoring the need for a code of conduct or regulations around mobile data location use.
- Separately though, mobile OS changes focused on limiting location privacy do seem to be making an impact, with Location Sciences reporting a decline in background location data by 68% and foreground data by 24%.
- in somewhat related news, the EU’s proposed temporary ban on facial recognition received support from Google. The EU is expected to issue directions on AI, Machine Learning, and Facial Recognition in the coming weeks (framed around protecting privacy).
- staying with facial recognition, Facebook lost a US Supreme Court challenge seeking to prevent Illinois residents from filing a class-action lawsuit alleging that Facebook violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
- the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published a code of conduct to protect children’s privacy online. There are 15 steps outlined covering topics such as data impact assessments, transparency, detrimental use of data, parental controls, and geolocation. It’s worth a read.
- a study by 3rd party verification firm Cheq, claims that publishers lose US$2.8B due to incorrect keyword blocking. Registration is required to access the full study (or ping me and I may be able to help).
- DoubleVerify announced a Connected TV Targeting Certification product specifically for programmatic, designed to protect for fraud, invalid traffic, and brand safety. Amobee, MediaMath, The Trade Desk, and Xandr are early certification partners.
- another company has exited Facebook’s Libra initiative, this time Vodafone. This makes a total of 8 original Libra partners who have exited the consortium.
Have a great week.
PS. A little distraction for you, this website will attempt to guess your name based on year of birth, gender, and the first letter. The tool uses US Census data to inform its guesses (so works better if you were born in the US).