2020.07.31 Last Week in Digital Media

Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed:

GENERAL

QUARTERLY EARNINGS

  • Alphabet (Google’s parent company) Q2 overall revenue came in at US$31.6B (PDF link). Alphabet’s total revenue was actually down YoY, for the first time, by 2% YouTube revenue came in at US$3.81B.
  • Q2 Earnings for Facebook saw ad revenue grow to US$18.7B. Monthly and Daily Active User Numbers increased (PDF link) in all markets. The earnings call did reference the boycott (PDF link, pp20), but in a follow-up call (PDF link, pp 6-7), the company downplayed the impact and emphasized the relatively small contribution of AdAge 100 advertisers to revenues.
  • Amazon’s Q2 earnings show advertising revenue (reported as other in the results PDF link)) came in at about US$4.2B (up 41%).
  • the Q2 earnings of Pinterest saw revenue grow to US$272MM. The big news is Monthly Active Users grew 39% (PDF link) YoY to 416MM. Driven, in part, by people seeking inspiration during the peak of COVID lockdowns.
  • as part of Comcast’s Q2 earnings report, PeacockTV numbers were shared, with the company reporting 10MM sign-ups (PDF link) There are no details on how this splits between free and paid tiers or those who get it for free as part of Xfinity.

ANTITRUST HEARING

The House Judiciary Committee into “Online Platforms and Market Power” held their hearing on Wednesday. If you want to watch the full 5.5hour hearing, it’s available on YouTube. It’s worth watching or at least reading the opening statement for the Chair, David Cicilline, that aimed to set the tone of the hearing.

Each participating company issued prepared remarks. Politico has each of them available (they’re also available as PDF’s on the hearing website).

TikTok, who was not part of the hearing, issued a statement of their own from their US CEO, Kevin Mayer, calling for algorithmic transparency, the importance of innovation, and stating that TikTok had no political agenda.

The hearing itself did meander between serious concerns about competition with allegations about platform bias and censorship. Broadly though, there was evidence of research and understanding of the issues. Pramila Jayapal asked some probing questions of Amazon. If you’re interested, some of the exhibits the Committee has been able to obtain from the companies and shared (scroll down the page) make for good reading such as this one on the Instagram acquisition (PDF link). As CNBC notes, Congress has the goods on each of the platforms.

Finally, because covering this topic would take a whole newsletter, if you want a good overview of the hearing, Casey Newton has a great write up.

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Stay safe and have a great week.

Joshua

PS. NASA is taking registrations to send your name to Mars for 2026, sign up here.