Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and the news you may have missed:
- the competition of the TikTok-Oracle-Walmart deal continues to drag on, with speculation that the deal will not conclude until after the election.
- Facebook’s NPE team has made its crowdsourced prediction app “Forecast” publicly available in the US and Canada. You can check it out here.
- Google continues to double down on retail, now offering free listings on the shopping tab in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Google is also launching local services ads. Available in 10 countries (not the US), this ad unit is intended for home improvement and maintenance professionals.
- twitter continues to roll out voice tweets, now available on iOS. twitter also plans to add transcription services so that voice tweets are accessible and broader accessibility changes are planned for the twitter platform.
- the EU has been running an auction to see which search engines would be offered on the choice screen (which stops Google being the unprompted default) on Android. Bing, Yandex, and PrivacyWall were the major winners – which could have an impact on mobile search market share in Europe.
- Disney sold ad tech firm TrueX to location data firm Gimbal. The terms of the deal are confidential.
- there’s a useful infographic at the Visual Capitalist that shows you the relative size of social networks as if they were planets. The data is current as of 2020 and what makes it particularly useful is that it looks at all global social platforms.
- Facebook has appointed a new CMO, Alex Schultz, a long-time executive of the company.
- there are reports that Verizon Media is looking to sell the Huffington Post. Part of a continued trend of telcos looking to offload digital and ad tech media investments.
- Facebook announced a series of changes to Facebook Groups. These include surfacing public group recommendations in feeds, testing letting users have different usernames for groups (for privacy reasons), and improved moderation features. Facebook will also be introducing the ability for brands to sponsor Facebook Groups, with a percentage of revenue going to group administrators.
- Cloudflare, an internet infrastructure company, announced a free privacy-focused web analytics product. It’s notable as this is the first real challenge to Google’s free analytics tools.
- venture firm Signalfire has released a good summary of the creator economy, including breakdowns of which platforms are more popular for influencer marketing, and how creators monetize outside of advertising.
MUSIC & AUDIO
- eMarketer predicts that Amazon Music listeners will exceed Pandora by 2023. The same analysis shows Spotify will continue to by the leader in streaming music by a wide margin.
- twitch is making available a product to creators called Soundtrack. Rolling out to all creators soon, Soundtrack lets creators mix rights-cleared music into their twitch streams.
- there are reports that Roku will offer ad-supported content movies and TV content directly in a dedicated Roku Channel mobile app. The content will be a mix of on-demand and live-streamed services.
- Google held an event announcing new hardware (phones, smart speakers, etc.), but the most relevant was their new (previously leaked) streaming stick with remote. At the same event, Google Play Movies & TV is now called Google TV, and to be extra confusing, the experience on the new streaming stick is called Google TV. Android TV is now only an operating system layer.
- sports first live streaming platform fubo TV announced plans to list on the NYSE. fubo claims to have 370-380,000 paying subscribers.
- according to industry analysts, Disney+ is expected to double its subscriber growth in the next 4 years, reaching 159MM subscribers worldwide. There are also forecasts that Hulu will increase to 66MM and US$16.1B in annual revenue.
- Samsung is launching a self-service advertising platform for connected televisions. This is part of Samsung’s ongoing strategy to build an ad business across Samsung’s range of devices (mobiles, tablets, computers, and TV).
- recent research from Pew suggests 26% of Americans get the news from YouTube. The full study is worth a read, as it also looks at how conspiracy theories succeed on YouTube by positioning themselves as independent news.
- a US Senator has introduced legislation to protect local news called the “Future of Local News Commission Act” (PDF link). Among the many things covered in the proposal, there is the option of public funding or a national endowment for local journalism.
- in a recent blog post, Google announced it would invest US$1B in news publishers for a new product called Google News Showcase (initially Android-only). The announcement has not been well received by news publishers. Allegedly the contract includes a termination clause should “the publisher participates in a legal claim or complaint against Google.”
- recent IAB research on the value and power of news, shows that consumers are more likely to trust, buy, or recommend a brand if it advertises in news. If you’re interested in the report, let me know.
- the Senate Commerce Committee has subpoenaed the CEO’s of the major tech firms (Google, Facebook, twitter) on the subject of S230 of the Communications Decency Act. Late Friday, the various CEOs agreed to appear without a subpoena for the proposed October 28th hearing.
- Amsterdam is launching an algorithm register that lists algorithms and AI used by the city of Amsterdam. While still under development, it’s a move to provide more transparency so that AI is human-centered.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- the group that positions themselves at the Real Facebook Oversight Board held a meeting during the week (Livestream archive here) and subsequently issued a list of three demands regarding how Facebook should act on election result content.
- the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” is a hot topic of conversation, so much so that Facebook has now published a detailed rebuttal.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.
PS. It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Take a moment to update your passwords, enable two-factor authentication (2FA), and consider using a password manager. If you want to upgrade to a password manager, I recommend Bitwarden.