2020.06.13 Last Week in Digital Media

Hello

Welcome to your Last Week in Digital Media.

GENERAL

  • twitter’s disappearing story-like tweets called “fleets” are now rolling out to India. This is the 3rd country added, with the feature already available in Brazil and Italy.
  • Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team will start investing in companies. To some extent, the program sounds a little like Snap’s Yellow incubator but with a pure startup (not content) focus.
  • Flipboard is expanding its local news coverage to fifteen new cities, bringing the total US coverage to 50. Flipboard’s city coverage sources content from local newspapers, radio and TV stations as well as blogs.
  • Chris Cox is returning to Facebook as the Chief Product Officer. Cox departed over a year ago, and his return has been welcome, with many seeing him as the heart and soul of the company.
  • twitter is conducting a test for some Android users that encourages people to read tweets before retweeting. This may help reduce the spread of disinformation on the platform.
  • the fast-growing social app from China, Zynn, has run into issues. It has been removed from the Google Play store, and there are allegations that the app (or someone) is taking content from other popular services and creating user accounts of well-known creators.
  • Pinterest continues to test “Story Pins,” their version of the stories format. The test is still limited to select creators. To see an example, check out what was posted by twitter user @whimchic

SNAPCHAT

Snapchat streamed their partner summit during the week. Given all of the updates, this a getting dedicated section. If you’re interested, you can still watch the Snap Partner Summit keynote, which comes in at just under an hour, and if you’re interested, you can view all of the breakout sessions videos here.

  • in Q1, Snapchat had 229MM Daily Active Users (DAU) with 100MM in the US and the company claims to have more US users than TikTok and twitter combined
  • demographically, the Snap claims more people aged 13-34 than Facebook or Instagram (based on publicly available figures for each platform)
  • in June-July, the Snap will update the app with improved navigation, an “Action Bar,” featuring five tabs “Maps, Chat, Camera, Stories, and Discover.” The navigation experience is a perennial complaint about Snapchat.
  • the Snap maps update is interesting, as it will feature not just friends but popular places, store hours, integration with 3rd party delivery and booking services, and will have an ad product “Snap Local.”
  • Snap will continue to invest in original content. The content will be scripted, unscripted, and docuseries. There’s a lot to share here, so best to read Snap’s blog post.
  • over 100MM have played Snapchat games. Snap also announced a partnership with Zynga to create multiplayer games that feature Bitmoji. The first game is Bumped Out, a battle royal bumper car game.
  • Snap also claimed over 170MM have used its AR products, and in a post-pandemic world, AR as a tool for trying on products feels like a good use case.
  • there were a lot of camera-related news updates, from an advertising and media perspective, coming soon is the ability to scan company logos and make them a shoppable experience also coming soon to scan partners is a nutrition scanner for food packaging. Available now is a dog and plant scanner (seriously).
  • one of the big announcements was Snap Minis. These are apps within the app, made using HTML. Atom tickets are one of the first partners enabling you to buy movie tickets. Minis launch in July. It’s worth watching the video to understand the Minis offering as it could really accelerate Snap’s business.

ONLINE VIDEO

  • NBC’s PeacockTV streaming service has opened for pre-launch subscriptions. Offering the ad-supported plan for $29.95 and the ad-free for $79.95. Worth keeping in mind before you subscribe that NBC also plans to offer a free plan.
  • WarnerMedia is making attempts to simplify the naming of the various HBO streaming services. HBO Go will cease to be offered, HBO Now will simply be called HBO, and HBO Max will exist as a standalone service, but if you subscribe to HBO through your cable provider, then you will use the HBOX Max app. If you’re confused, you’re not the only one.

CORONAVIRUS RELATED

  • a reminder, Foursquare continues to publish its foot traffic recovery index. The data is grouped week-over-week on a 7 day rolling average.

REGULATORY

  • Facebook’s acquisition of GIPHY is under investigation by antitrust regulators in the UK and Australia. The Australian investigation specifically cites concerns about whether the deal would provide(s) Facebook with data that will strengthen its market power.
  • Presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, published an open letter to Facebook asking the company to take action on misinformation, political advertising, and clearer rules. Facebook responded, noting the conflicting sentiment from each US political party and requested regulators set the rules.
  • a number of US Senators have written to the FCC urging for a review of S230 of the Communications Decency Act (learn more about S230) in light of President Trump’s executive order to better define the “good faith” provisions. The full text of the letter is here.

Stay safe and have a good week.

Joshua

PS. A little lifehack for anyone in advertising. If you’re looking for a contact at a media company, Thalamus is a great free resource that lists nearly all major digital companies and key sales contacts. Free registration is required.