Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and the news you may have missed:
- Facebook made a US$5.7B investment in India’s Jio platform. The move is significant as it opens the door to accelerating Facebook’s eCommerce plans for WhatsApp (something Facebook notes in their media release). Despite the size of the investment, Facebook will be a minority, although the largest minority, shareholder.
- The Information reports that Facebook still hasn’t shelved plans for ads on WhatsApp.
- Quibi has stated it has 2.7MM downloads since launch (1MM up on a week ago). It’s also reported that users will soon be able to cast Quibi to their TV, one of the main complaints from users of the service given so many people are staying at home.
- in the “has it been that long” news, a Happy Birthday to Spotify, who turned 14 (April 23rd) and a 15th birthday to the first-ever video uploaded to YouTube.
- Triad Retail, the retail-shopper-ad business is closing. The company, owned by WPP, will wind up over the next 90 days.
- the Washington Post has adtech platform Zeus Performance now includes 50 partners, the latest being fact-checking site Snopes.com
- in Australia, an OpEd by the Federal Treasurer (noteworthy, in a Murdoch-owned newspaper) outlined plans to make Google and Facebook pay for News content leveraging the powers of the Australian competition regulator.
- Snap Inc’s quarterly results saw a 20% increase in DAUs (Daily Active Users), revenue was also up 44% to US$462MM compare to the prior year. Snap reported that time spent watching Discover was up 35%. Snap’s global business is also doing well, with Rest of World growth up 45% (PDF link). The full investor deck (PDF link) also breaks out Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
- Verizon released quarterly results. Media revenues were down 4%, with COVID cited as the key reason. More interesting though is FIOS Video reported a loss of 84,000 customers, as part of the (to quote) “ongoing shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings”.
- AT&T’s quarterly results saw the company lose 897,000 premium TV subscribers. The company also lost 138,000 AT&T Now subscribers. Possibly demonstrating the challenges that face incumbents even if they try and embrace OTT.
- Walmart has sold its online video platform Vudu (including the free ad-supported video offering) to Fandango. Terms have not been disclosed and according to an FAQ sent to customers, there are no immediate changes planned for Vudu, and Vudu will continue to exist on Walmart.com. It is worth noting that Fandango is owned by NBC Universal.
- WarnerMedia’s streaming service HBO Max will launch May 27th. It’s important to note that HBO Max is a new service, not an extension or rebrand of HBO Now or HBO Go.
- NBC has expanded its shoppable ads offering, introducing NBCUniversal Checkout. There is a video demonstrating the experience and the company is waiving technology and shipping cart fees until the end of the year.
- Google has made it free for merchants to list and sell on Google Shopping. To get started you will need to use Google Merchant Center.
eSPORTS and GAMING
- Fortnite hosted a Travis Scott in-game concert during the week, with 12.3MM concurrent people watching the first event. There were 3 concerts in total.
- Facebook has launched a standalone Facebook Gaming gaming app (Android link, the iOS App is still in the Apple review queue). The move looks like an attempt by Facebook to take on twitch and mixer and currently does not have advertising.
- the Washington Post has debuted a new section covering eSports and video games called Launcher. Interestingly, it’s also doing a weekly live show for Launcher on YouTube and not twitch.
- Mary Meeker and her new firm, Bond, released an analysis of the Coronavirus including some perspective on what the pandemic means for innovation. The 29pp report worth your time and Meeker’s perspectives on the future of work and work/life balance are particularly interesting.
- twitter has a Coronavirus hub that also links to partners that are leveraging twitter data. There are also links to twitter’s overall response.
- if you know a small business impacted by Coronavirus, Amex has launched StandForSmall, a website that brings together a coalition of partners with information on resources they are offering small business.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- Google will require all advertisers (not just political advertisers) to verify their identity. The change comes into effect in the US Summer, phased by the advertiser category (although it looks like nearly every typical agency client will be part of the first phase). It will apply to US advertisers first before rolling out globally. Advertisers will be notified when they are required to start the identity verification process and have 30 days to complete it. There’s more information on the advertiser identity verification process in Google these support documents.
- Facebook too is introducing additional transparency features. In a US-only pilot, Facebook will show the location of the account on every post shared.
- an interesting week in YouTube Brand Safety with reports of a disagreement between OpenSlate and YouTube (paywall). The news comes as Google announced updates and new partners for the YouTube Measurement Program.
- the US Federal Court has approved the Facebook-FTC US$5B settlement regarding Cambridge Analytica (full Federal Court opinion here, PDF link). The FTC welcomed the move and Facebook published a blog post outlining how it is and will comply with the FTC requirements.
Finally, self-promotion, in this week’s IPG Media Lab Floor 9 podcast, I interviewed the Chief Revenue Officer of the Washington Post. Please subscribe and listen.
PS. If you need a distraction, this video on Instagram (that has had special effects added) makes watching an orchestra conductor highly entertaining. Enjoy.