2020.05.15 Last Week in Digital Media


Welcome to Last Week in Digital Media, here’s the news you may have missed:


  • twitter has acquired the mobile DSP CrossInstall. CrossInstall has strengths in performance and playable ads. The acquisition is a signal twitter wants to get more performance dollars in the mobile app space (a reminder, twitter also owns MoPub, which provides monetization for mobile apps).
  • Facebook acquired Giphy for a reported US$400MM. Giphy will operate within the Instagram business unit. It’s a notable acquisition as Giphy is used by other platforms include twitter and TikTok, iMessage, and more. This means, technically, Facebook could get insights into how people are using those apps and platforms.
  • Apple has acquired the VR event company NextVR. Exactly how Apple plans to leverage Next is unknown. Separately there are mixed reports on Apple’s AR/VR glasses with reports of a launch date mid-2021 or until 2022-2023.
  • the latest Snap Yellow (Snap’s startup incubator) participants have been announced. There is a broad mix of Yellow participants across eCommerce and physical products, content, diversity and inclusion, and AR/VR. You can check out the full list of Yellow participants and their offerings here.
  • there’s a New York Times piece with Jeffrey Katzenberg on the launch challenges experienced by Quibi. It’s worth a read if you want a summary of all the challenges to date.
  • Facebook Avatars has launched in the US (they launched elsewhere in the world last year). Facebook Avatars are best described as similar to Snapchat Bitmoji.
  • YouTube is shutting the self-service component of its wholly-owned Famebit platform. The self-service shutdown will conclude July 31st. Going forward, Famebit will only be available as a managed service.
  • Chrome will start to block “heavy ads” from August. A heavy ad is one that a person has not interacted with and also consuming too much processor time or bandwidth. This makes it even more important to manage the overall size of ad payload (creative and tags).
  • reddit is experimenting with cryptocurrency on 2 communities (r/cryptocurrency and r/FortniteBR). It’s a beta for summer 2020 and it requires you set up a reddit vault. FYI, you can create a vault even if you’re not in the beta. The tokens are based on Ethereum.



  • there are reports that Facebook has helped establish a DC-based lobby group called “American Edge”. There a few details as the group hasn’t been officially announced, other than suggestions it will look to establish Silicon Valley as critical to free speech and the US economy and it will have multiple industry participants (not just Facebook).
  • under a new French law, social networks and platform providers will need to remove certain categories of inappropriate content in under an hour or face a fine of 4% of their global revenue. For other categories, the deletion timeline window extends to 24 hours. The law would establish a specialized digital prosecutor and government unit to investigate hate speech. The law has also been criticized on all sides of the political spectrum is impeding free speech.
  • there are multiple reports that the US Justice Department and State Attorney Generals are about to bring antitrust lawsuits against Google. The focus is claimed to be on Google’s ad business with sources claiming the case could be file as soon as this summer.


  • the IAB’s Newfronts (delayed from April) is scheduled for June 22-26 from 12pm Eastern and will be streamed. Confirmed media companies participating include Roku, YouTube, Snap, WSJ, and TikTok. Don’t forget to register to request an invite.
  • CNN is leveraging its Courageous Studios unit to help brands tell docu-style stories about their response and activity during the pandemic (and post-pandemic).


Stay safe.


PS. The distraction this week, This Word Does Not Exist. A website where AI generates words and definitions. Every page refresh displays a new non-existent word.