Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all of the news you may have missed.
- TikTok has launched a US$200MM creator fund with the money distributed over the coming year to US creators seeking to make a livelihood on TikTok. It’s an important move for the company, as TikTok creators are striking off-platform deals to make money.
- in other TikTok news, TikTok has inked a deal with music labels. The deal covers both past uses as well as a path for future music licensing.
- Pandora’s voice ads beta is expanding to more users on an opt-in basis. While the voice interactivity is still limited to “Yes/No” type responses, the broad idea in the early stages is to get people familiar with the ad format.
- Snapchat’s mini’s (announced earlier in the year) are now available. The first Snap Minis are Headspace, Let’s Do It, Prediction Master and Flashcards
- Spotify video podcasts are now available worldwide. An important call-out on Spotify video podcasts is that you don’t have to watch them as video, meaning you can listen to them audio-only with the app in the background.
- streaming analytics company StreamAnalytics and Arsenal claim that the fastest-growing category on twitch is not game-streaming but just chatting. The report also suggests that the fastest growing platform is Facebook gaming.
- the New York Times is acquiring Serial Productions, makers of the Serial podcast. The deal is rumored to be worth US$25MM.
- Google shopping is now commission-free for merchants. The change is US-only for now and described by Google as a pilot program; it’s a sign that Google is squaring off for an eCommerce battle with Amazon (particularly Amazon’s Marketplace business).
- some updates on the twitter hack, with the company now revealing that hackers did access direct messages (36 of the 130 targeted accounts), including those of a Netherlands politician.
- Google has delayed the planned move to mobile-first indexing by 6 months. Originally set to commence in September 2020, the shift has been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Verizon’s Q2 earnings, specifically Verizon Media (the ad side of their business), saw revenues decline 24.5% YoY to US$1.4B (PDF link). The business was hurt by the general market downturn.
- Snap released its Q2 2020 results. Daily Active Users (DAUs) were up 17% to 238MM, and revenue increased to US$454MM. In good news for Snap, the Rest of World growth was one of the highlights (PDF link).
- Twitter’s Q2 2020 results saw Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs) grow to 186MM (up 34% YoY) (PDF link), revenues came in at US$686MM a decrease of 19% YoY. The company made only a passing reference to the rumors of subscription (PDF link) services, noting nothing would happen this year.
- Microsoft’s FY20 Q4 results saw revenue increase US$4.3 billion or 13%, but the pandemic slowdown hurt its search and advertising businesses (primarily Bing and Linked In). Search advertising revenue was down 18%.
- Apple TV is reportedly looking for more blockbuster movie content after the success of Tom Hank’s “Greyhound” on the platform. Apple hasn’t released stats on Greyhound, but the audience is reported to be box office hit numbers.
- analytics company Sensor Tower reports that NBC’s Peacock service hit 1.5MM app downloads in the first 6 days.
- Plex has launched a free live TV product featuring 80+ channels across 220 countries. No registration is required to watch.
FACEBOOK AD BOYCOTT
- the #StopHateForProfit organizers have released a video called “Dear Mark” that condemns Facebook and paints a picture of Mark Zuckerberg as someone who does not want to take action.
- NBC has a follow from an earlier WSJ story that claims Facebook ignored racial bias research. The story comes as Facebook shares details that it is now building an equity and inclusion team to examine the issue of racial bias.
- BuzzFeed News has a story on Facebook employee concerns with the platform and its potential for harm.
- if you’re interested in understanding the top news publishers and engaged-with news content on Facebook for June, there’s a good analysis from Newswhip, a media intelligence and analytics company.
- McKinsey has published some insights on opening cities, advice to B2B companies, and understanding consumer behavior in the new normal.
- the House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing for big tech scheduled for this coming week has been delayed. The official announcement (PDF link) does not note when this will be rescheduled.
- the House voted to ban TikTok from Federal employee devices. It comes as reports surface that US investors are looking for a way to take a majority stake in TikTok to ease regulatory concerns.
- EU regulators continue to press Google for concessions on the proposed Fitbit acquisition. The latest ask includes that Google won’t use the Fitbit data for search and that it will grant 3rd parties access to the Fitbit data.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- the latest issue of Branded (and I encourage you to subscribe) has an excellent write up on the adtech practice of dark-pooling, a practice that inappropriately uses ads.txt to bypass certain brand safety controls and could result in client ads appearing on unsafe publishers.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.
PS. It has been a while since I have shared a distraction of the week. With everyone working from home and unable to travel, if you need a new view, visit Window Swap and see the actual window view from random places around the world.