Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media.
- it is reported that Snapchat is working on a streamlined and simplified redesign. The most significant change is a navigation bar at the bottom of the app, giving you a better sense of where you are and faster navigation to key features.
- this is probably the last time I’ll write on this topic; this is because talent deals across gaming streaming occur daily. Facebook has secured UFC and WWE star Ronda Rousey exclusively for Facebook gaming.
- Facebook has released an app from the NPE team, called Hobbi (iOS only). Hobbi is a Pinterest-like app designed to help you “Organize your photos into visual collections and see the progress you’re making over time.” The app doesn’t require a Facebook account.
- McClatchy Media, the owner of over 30 US newspapers, has filed for bankruptcy protection. My comment – please don’t let brand safety be an excuse for not advertising in news content, brand safety, and brand responsibility should include supporting journalism and advertising in news.
- Facebook announced that WhatsApp now has 2B active users globally. Worth noting that the press release talked up privacy and encryption as key features of WhatsApp possibly because India is taking steps to make end-to-end encrypted messaging illegal.
- Google’s incubator team, Area 120, has released a site called GameSnacks. A website with fast-loading casual games. The games work on any device that can render HTML 5 and are designed to load fast and work on slow networks and low-end devices.
- There are reports that Google is in talks to pay News publishers for a potential Google news product (paywall). The talks are mainly occurring with publishers in Europe, where regulators have been scrutinizing the impact of Google and others on the news industry.
- HQ Trivia is closing down. The closure is immediate after HQ Trivia failed to find a buyer.
STREAMING (VIDEO & AUDIO)
- Roku released its Q4 2019 results (PDF link). The service added 9.8MM accounts, making a total of 36.9MM by year-end. Roku claims Roku powers nearly 1 in 3 smart TVs sold in the US. Roku called out that its advertising business continues to grow and predicts half of US households will cut the cord by 20204.
- YouTube is ending the ability for users to subscribe to YouTube TV through Apple’s App Store. Instead, you’ll need to pay YouTube directly. This change could be because YouTube wants to avoid having to pay Apple a 30% cut, or a way to capture more data about users for targeted advertising, or an escalation in the streaming wars (given Apple TV+).
- another sign of the increased heat in the streaming wars, Netflix has struck a deal with Samsung that gives Samsung device owners exclusive content. It’s worth reading the Techcrunch analysis, which highlights how mobile streaming is increasingly a carrier and/or partnership lead battleground.
- a service likely to be sued out of existence call Jam has launched in beta. It lets you split the costs/share passwords of various streaming services amongst people you invite. While the Jam app may violate the terms of service of several services, but it’s interesting given subscription password sharing is an open secret and challenge in the industry.
- iHeart has launched an Ad Marketplace for podcasts called the iHeart Podcast Adsuite. Features include the ability to have local and dynamic ad insertion, daily ad takeovers, and ways to connect with Podcast influencers (podfluencers).
- US Senator Josh Hawley has proposed absorbing the FTC into the DOJ as means of tackling competition concerns in big tech.
- the FTC announced it is looking at past acquisitions by Facebook, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. The FTC has said as part of the investigation, all options are on the table, including unwinding deals.
- the FTC also released details of a planned review of influencer marketing (PDF link). This includes codifying the current rules, which would enable stricter enforcement and civil penalties. Important to note that the FTC specifically calls out advertisers as part of its area of focus.
- Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner has said no to the rollout of Facebook Dating in Europe as the regulator conducts further investigations into the service.
- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has called for the US to have an EU-styled Data Protection Agency and proposed to introduce legislation to that effect. You can read Senator Gillibrand’s thoughts on the topic on Medium.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.
PS. There won’t be a newsletter next week. Thank you in advance for your patience understanding.