2020.05.08 Last Week in Digital Media


Happy Mother’s Day, and here’s your Last Week in Digital Media.


More digital ad industry quarterly results were released during the week, similar to last week; I won’t talk about every company witnessing an ad market slowdown:



  • YouTube is introducing new tools and ad formats, some of which are specifically targeted to large screens i.e., TVs. This includes brand lift studies and skippable ads for TV. YouTube also released some stats on watch time growth for YouTube and YouTube TV.
  • Roku announced its new Roku OneView Platform, their new DSP ad solution built off their recent DataXu acquisition. OneView promises cross OTT, and linear planning and attribution, all built off Roku’s owned ACR and registration data.
  • twitch is reportedly looking to license live and interactive unscripted reality programming targeted at gamers. It’s rumored dating and talk shows are the preferred genres.
  • YouTube may let News publishers on the platform sell subscriptions to their core publishing business. The discussions are nascent and it’s unknown whether this would extend to offering News subscribers an ad-free experience to the publisher’s YouTube channel.
  • as part of ViacomCBS’s earnings announcement (PDF link), the “CBS All Access service will be rebranded and expanded internationally. The relaunch is scheduled for the US summer. In related news, Viacom’s channels are also coming to YouTube TV.
  • Spotify is conducting a global test of video podcasts headlined by two YouTubers. If you don’t see it in your Spotify account, it’s because it will only show to ~50% of existing subscribers and currently there’s no icon or similar to show that it’s a video podcast.


  • Facebook is reportedly working on a new Oculus headset with a target launch date of the end of 2020. This is noteworthy because, by the end of this year, both PlayStation and Xbox are expected to have their next-generation consoles in the market and would position Facebook in the middle of the gaming device wars.
  • Amazon’s own free-to-play online game, Crucible, will launch on May 20th. One to watch as it may disrupt the overall gaming and eSports market, given Amazon will be able to drive adoption of Crucible across Prime and twitch.


  • Google has released a “Rising Retail Categories” trends tool (here). The data is updated near-real-time, so it’s more to see “what’s happening now” vs. interrogating based on specific client or interest. You can drill-down into a trending category to view related terms. As of now, the data covers the US, UK, and Australia.



  • researchers at the University of Waterloo, Canada, have developed a software-based system called “Mitigator” that can verify when a website’s behavior aligns with the privacy policy. The tool is not available to the public yet but the creators promise a browser plugin so that the public could be informed and protected. If you’re interested in how Mitigator works, you can read the Mitigator technical paper (PDF).
  • Facebook announced the founding members of the Facebook Oversight Board. The board brings together a global and diverse group of people but it’s important to note it is focused on what content should be allowed on the platform, not monetization. So it’s unlikely to solve for advertiser concerns.
  • Mozilla (makers of Firefox) has an invite-only alpha of email alias tool (similar to Apple) called Firefox Private Relay. Masking email addresses are part of the ongoing steps to provide increased user privacy (and protection from data leaks). The move by Firefox (and Apple) accelerates the impact of the death of the cookie, as it would prevent the stitching of user registration based on an email ID match. As an aside, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chrome follow this move.

Stay safe, and if you know someone who would like this newsletter, please encourage them to sign up.

Stay safe and well.


PS. This dual side painting made by using bowls is impressive. And if you’re after a useful lifehack, the updated Google Lens app can now copy and paste handwritten notes.