Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media:
TIKTOK – WECHAT BANS
- it’s impossible to review last week without a look at the Trump Administration Executive Orders seeking a ban of both Bytedance (the parent company of TikTok) and Tencent (the parent company of WeChat).
- in both instances, the bans are effective 45 days after the Executive Orders, which puts it around September 20th.
- there are reports that US intelligence services have investigated TikTok and found it not to be a threat to national security.
- Microsoft has indicated it is seeking to conclude a deal to acquire TikTok by September 15th. The Microsoft blog post on the acquisition confirms this date.
- TikTok has said it will challenge the matter court and reiterates it is “willing to pursue a full sale of the US business to an American company.”
- That said, there are reports Microsoft wants to acquire more than the US business, with ambitions to own TikTok globally.
- in a Wired interview, on a broad range of topics, Bill Gates believes a Microsoft acquisition of TikTok would be a poisoned chalice.
- Microsoft is not the only one looking at TikTok. twitter has apparently expressed interest in acquiring the US-only operations of TikTok.
- it’s also worth shutting down a rumor, and Apple has said they are not interested and not a potential buyer.
- for users, it’s not clear if this means TikTok would disappear from app stores or stop working for those users who have it already.
- the Executive Order is also silent on whether local data centers must turn off services or broader telecommunications networks to disable access to TikTok.
- in terms of what’s next, it’s a case of wait, watch, and see how the coming week plays out. It hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for the TikTok app, which (at the time of writing) was #1 in the various app stores.
- TikTok is preparing advertisers and creators for the ban, with plans to honor campaigns up until a ban comes into effect even to migrate influencers to other platforms in a worst-case scenario.
- if you’re looking to understand what TikTok-like alternatives and clones are out there (more on Instagram Reels later), the Verge has a good list.
- finally, for all the media and ad industry interest in the TikTok ban, the Tencent ban has broader ramifications as Tencent is a major investor across the entertainment industry (games, movie titles, music, etc).
and here’s the other news you may have missed:
- amid all the TikTok noise, Instagram has released its copy called “Reels” as part of the main Instagram app. There are currently no ad products available on Reels.
- TikTok has launched a TikTok TV experience on Amazon FireTV. Called “More on TikTok” includes playlists, compilations, interviews, and other content curated by TikTok.
- there’s a great interview with Jack Dorsey from twitter on the NY Times Daily Podcast. It’s one of the most honest and candid interviews from a tech founder about the faults with their platform and what they would do differently and the responsibility of platforms to intervene to protect people. Worth a listen.
- ViacomCBS is introducing an integrated digital buying platform called EyeQ. The platform will be available in the US fall and work across all of their digital video assets (CBS All Acess, Pluto, Viacom).
- Snapchat will be launching a B2B marketing campaign called the “Meet the Snapchat Generation” this coming week. It coincides with Snapchat launching a TikTok-style music feature starting in Australia and New Zealand.
- also in Australia and New Zealand, Quibi, which launched in those markets this week, is offering Quibi on a free ad-supported tier (there is no free tier in the US).
- Disney released its Q3 2020 results. Disney+ had 57.5MM subscribers, Hulu SVOD 32.1MM, Hulu Live+SVOD 3.4MM, and ESPN+ 8.5MM.
- Roku’s Q2 2020 results saw them reach 43MM active accounts (PDF link) with streaming hours up 2.3B to 14.6B.
FACEBOOK AD BOYCOTT
While the Facebook boycott came to close in July, some of the topics remain in the news:
- a coalition of 20 US State Attorney Generals have written an open letter to Facebook (PDF link), asking for the company to do more to battle misinformation. Many of the asks echo those of #StopHateForProfit.
- Rashad Robinson, an organizer behind the #StopHateForProfit boycott, has an interview in Wired with a perspective on Facebook, the boycott, what has/hasn’t changed, and what’s next.
- over at AdWeek, there’s an interview with Jonathan Greenblatt from the ADL, another member of the organizing coalition, with his perspective on the boycott.
- twitter has shared that it could be subject to a US$$150MM-250MM FTC fine for the inadvertent use of phone numbers and email addresses for ad targeting.
- over at CNBC, several journalists read through all of the publicly available material from last week’s antitrust hearings and summarized the most interesting findings in the documents. It’s lengthy but worth a read.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- adtech data collection and use are firmly in the regulatory spotlight, with various members of Congress calling for an FCC investigation the practice (PDF link). The letter explicitly calls out mobile location data, and the FCC has already written to Verizon and AT&T (PDF link), seeking clarity in this area. The FCC has also issued a statement urging the FTC to take action (PDF link).
- Google released an alpha of a Chrome extension called the “Ads Transparency Spotlight.” The extension works similar to Ghostery, showing you what tracking tags are on a site but with links to the privacy policies where available.
Have a great week.