Welcome back to Last Week in Digital Media. To make up for missing last week, this is a bumper issue that captures a few week’s news. Here’s all the news you may have missed.
- YouTube has hinted it is piloting a way for creators to sell their own ads on YouTube, literal ad spots, not just in-content product placement. This is similar to what some major media publishers could do since 2010 through a service called “partner ads.”
- in the EU, Google has changed the way results are displayed for local search in an attempt to pre-empt EU antitrust action. EU local search results now also provide links to other local directory search tools e.g. Yelp.
- Shopify has joined Facebook’s Libra consortium (the group driving the Calibra currency). Providing the group a much-needed eCommerce partner since the departure of eBay and Paypal.
- with the increase in vertical video, this is simply cool. Google’s AI team has published an open-source tool “Autoflip” that can automatically crop a video so that it works vertically. It also can crop to suit a variety of screen ratios, useful to keep in mind if you need assets adjusted for a platform.
- Snapchat’s incubator program, Yellow, has identified the next startups to join the program. The mix is eclectic, and companies come from around the world, Tubefilter has a full breakdown of each startup.
- TikTok has added parental controls to the TikTok app; it requires linking a parent and child’s account. Parents can restrict screen time, direct messages, and the types of content that can be viewed.
- an FYI, Apple’s Safari browser will soon no longer support HTTPs certificates older than 13 months. In my own quick random tests, this would impact both clients and publisher websites. The change comes in effect Sept 1, 2020, so it’s best to start planning for the impact now.
- something to be aware of with TikTok, there’s a good Bloomberg write up on how US TikTok campaigns are reporting billions of views despite about ~145MM US users and TikTok not disclosing what counts as a “view.”
- Facebook has canceled F8, their annual developer conference, due to concerns about coronavirus.
- both Uber and Lyft have made moves into the Digital Out of Home (DOOH) space. Uber will be testing DOOH in Atlanta (from April) via a product called Uber OOH; meanwhile, Lyft bought DOOH company Halo Cars.
- twitter acquired Chroma Labs, a company that makes photo and video editing apps for the Stories format. ChromaLabs business is shutting down as a result, which suggests twitter may have some interesting plans ahead for integrating these features into twitter.
- the Chrome browser 81 beta includes support for AR via the WebXR format, which might open the door to broader use of AR by consumers. Chrome 81 is expected to be released on March 17th.
- Google is expanding ad opportunities in Google Maps. There are forecasts that Google Maps could be a US$11B ad business by 2023 (paywall).
- there could be management changes coming to twitter, with activist investor Elliott Management Corp taking a position in twitter and pushing for 4 board seats and the replacement of CEO Jack Dorsey.
- there are rumors Fox might acquire free ad-supported video streaming platform Tubi (paywall).
- in other acquisition rumors, both Comcast has been mentioned as a potential suitor of Walmart’s Vudu platform.
- in confirmed news, Comcast acquired Xumo deal terms have not been shared, but Xumo has about 5.5MM monthly active users.
- short-form mobile streaming service Quibi, is now available for pre-order on the Apple App Store and Google Play (the service launches April 6th)
- Redbox is launching a free ad-supported streaming service “Redbox on Demand.” It’s more of a TV-like offering, with scheduled programming than a VOD platform.
- it’s reported that Amazon is looking to commission original content for IMDB TV, Amazon’s free ad-supported streaming service.
- ViacomCBS posted their results and indicated plans for new subscription video service. This would bring together assets across the entire portfolio e.g. BET, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Paramount, Showtime, etc.
- Comcast owned NBCU has launched a new streaming advertising business for local TV called “NBC Spot On.”
- Mark Zuckerberg published an OpEd calling for more regulation of Big Tech. This was followed up with a separate post on online content regulation and a whitepaper “Charting a Way Forward in Online Content Regulation” (PDF link). The whitepaper poses 4 questions, broadly around freedom of speech, platform accountability, performance targets on content moderation, and what should be defined as harmful content.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- there is a good summary on Business Insider of all of the US Government agencies that have banned the use of TikTok.
- Google is making changes to how location data is used in Android, specifically background location sharing. This includes Google evaluating if background location sharing by an app delivers value, would be expected, and core to the purpose of the app. Apps that collect background location but don’t pass these tests will be removed from the store. The full change comes into effect Nov 2nd.
- the FCC investigation into carriers’ selling location data has concluded with the FCC seeking collectively US$200MM in fines (PDF link). The penalties are based on the FCC position that “carriers’ existing measures to safeguard this data were inadequate.” The major US carriers have stated they no longer sell location data.
- Facebook has taken legal action against OneAudience claiming the company paid app developers to install the OneAudience SDK and then harvest Facebook user data. OneAudience has issued a statement claiming that was never their intent and that they have shut down the OneAudience SDK.
Have a great week