Here’s your Last week in Digital Media:
- Google released its Q4 2019 results. Revenue was US$46.075B. For the first time, Google released YouTube financials, with YouTube’s revenue at US$15.15B (up from US$11.16B a year ago), but there’s no breakout of YouTube profitability.
- Twitter Q4 results saw an increase in Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs) to 152MM (PDF link) up 21% YoY. Revenue came in a US$1.01B up 11%.
- Snap’s year-end and Q4 results, saw global Daily Active Users (DAUs) increase to 218MM (up from 210MM the previous quarter (PDF link). Revenue fell short of analyst expectations, coming in at US$561MM (vs. US$563MM expected).
- Spotify reported Q4 2019 earnings (PDF link), total users sit at 271MM, with paid (ad-free) subscribers sitting at 124MM. The company expects to have 300MM subscribers by the end of the year. Podcast hours streamed is up 200% YoY, which suggests all the investments in original content are paying off.
- Sirius/Pandora Q4 results saw Monthly Active Users (MAUs) at Pandora fall to 63.5MM down from 69.4MM. Despite the fall in MAU’s full-year ad revenue was up 10% to US$1.2B.
- Disney’s Q1 2020 results gave some insights into how Disney+ is doing, with the Disney+ service reaching 26.5MM paying subscribers. During the earnings call, this had climbed to 28.6MM subscribers. It’s worth reading the CNBC analysis, as there’s a handy chart that shows how Disney+ is positioned relative to competitors. Disney+ still forecasts 60-90MM subscribers by 2020 year-end.
- Facebook plans to shut down the Facebook Audience Network on the mobile web and in-stream from April 11th. There are a lot of things that could be driving Facebook’s decision, from the decline of the cookie, a desire to keep ads within the walled garden, privacy compliance, or brand safety challenges.
- Google’s decision to share the results of YouTube has resulted in creators calling for a greater share of the ad revenue.
- Somewhat related, it was also leaked out that over at Facebook, Instagram brings in a quarter of Facebook’s revenue (US$20B). It also resulted in creators starting to put pressure on Instagram to share ad revenue with creators. Later in the week, it was shared that Instagram is indeed piloting a revenue share program with IGTV creators.
- Spotify is buying the Ringer. Terms have not been disclosed. The purchase strengthens Spotify’s access to original podcast content in the sports category.
VIDEO, AUDIO, and STREAMING
- Cox is shutting down its Videa, its Advanced TV advertising unit. Videa was intended to bring automation and data to local TV buying. Videa will close March 31st.
- According to analysts, AppleTV+ saw fewer than 10M people using the service, despite it being available for free for 12 months.
- Viacom continues to invest in the roll-out of ad-supported Pluto TV, with the service set to launch in LatAm in March. Pluto TV is already available across the US and the US.
- following Quibi’s Superbowl ad, the company has released teasers for some of the content coming to the platform. You can watch all the Quibi trailers on YouTube here.
- as part of Disney’s Q4 reports, they shared plans to launch Hulu internationally in 2021. There are indications that this will be tied to the broader international roll-out of the Disney+ service.
- during the reporting season, it was shared that YouTube Premium (not the TV service) and YouTube Music has 20MM subscribers. YouTube TV (the OTT offering) has 2MM subscribers.
- ViacomCBS have plans to build out a more sophisticated streaming service, beyond that offered by CBS All Access. According to multiple reports, the service would CBS, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures, and Pluto content. The yet-to-be-named service is rumored to have both an ad-supported and ad-free offering.
- research shared by eMarketer suggests that shopping via a smart speaker is growing slower than expected. Listening to music remains the dominant use for smart speaker owners.
- this is big news, the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, may soon be able to hold social media bosses liable (and prosecute them) for harm caused by their platforms. The new laws could be in place in 18 months.
- there’s an interesting New York Times story that suggests that IBM, Marriott, and Disney (amongst others) are lobbying to change s230 of the Communications Decency Act. Worth a read and developments in this area are worth monitoring because any change would have wide-ranging impacts on how platforms moderate content, which would flow on to advertising costs.
- according to the WSJ (Paywall), EU antitrust regulators are investigating Facebook and its alleged attempts to quash competitors through Facebook’s ownership of Onavo.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- Mobile Location data is (again) in the spotlight, this time in the EU. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has started an investigation into how Google “processes location data,” which in plain-English means collection and transparency.
- staying with location data, a performance artist took 99 mobile phones in a wagon for a walk that had the net effect of making Google Maps show traffic was jammed. Demonstrating how easy it is for location data to be faked.
- Facebook will limit the spread and/or delete misinformation posted to the platform about the coronavirus. Twitter too, is taking action, directing people to official CDC sources if you search on the term.
- twitter experienced a security issue with their API where a bad actor (potentially state-based) was matching usernames to phone numbers. There are more details here. It’s unknown how many users were impacted.
- YouTube released details on its policies for the US 2020 elections. Focused on reducing the spread of misinformation, raising authoritative content,
Have a great week.
PS. Just a friendly reminder, I am currently traveling, I am doing my best to curate the news and make sure these emails go out. I can’t guarantee there will be a newsletter next week, but I promise that I will try.