Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed:
- rumors about Apple’s VR headset continue to gain pace, with reports that both the VR headset and AR glasses will be high-priced with very limited availability. The headset (code name N301) is expected in 2022, and the glasses (code name N421) are expected in 2023.
- the IPG Media Lab published their 2021 Outlook, identifying 4 themes that will shape the year ahead (the anywhere economy, gaming eats the world, the splinternet, the reinvention of social context). Worth a read.
- Pinterest has started experimenting with Augmented Reality (AR) in the beauty category. Called “AR Try” the move by Pinterest is to bring their strength in visual search to shopping. In other Pinterest news, some users are reporting that Pinterest is experimenting with the Stories format.
- Microsoft and Verizon have extended their advertising technology partnership. Verizon will be the primary SSP for Microsoft in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan.
- if you’re drowning in the myriad of messaging apps you need, a new service in development called Beeper promises to fix that. Costing US$10 a month, it even promises to unify iMessage with your WhatsApp, Slack, Instagram, and twitter messages.
- self-published authoring platform Wattpad has been sold to South Korean internet company Naver for US$600MM. Wattpad will be integrated with Webtoon, a digital comic property also owned by Naver.
- Netflix reported earnings for Q4 2020. In the shareholder letter (PDF link), Netflix noted that most top TV programs searched for on Google were on Netflix (less so for movies). Netflix does also note in pp5 of the letter the increased competition from other streaming services.
- Paramount+, which includes CBS All Access, will officially launch on March 4th in the US, Canada, and LatAm. You can pre-register interest on the Paramount+ website. Pricing details will be released on February 24th. Historically, CBS All Access had no free tier and required a paid subscription (with or without ads).
- YouTube has launched #hashtag landing pages to help users discover videos. The feature has been rolling out for several months but is now available to all users according to a YouTube video update. Making it important to use hashtags for any videos clients upload on the platform.
- there’s an increasingly heated argument between Google and the Australian Government over a proposed law that would require Google to pay News publishers as part of a media bargaining code. With Google threatening to withdraw from search in Australia. This whole debate is something to watch closely, as it will have implications beyond Australia. Google has published a detailed list of objections to the Australian regulations. Meanwhile, in France, Google has inked a deal to pay news publishers (link in French).
- the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published an open consultation document on “Algorithms: How they can reduce competition and harm consumers.” It’s one of the first major regulator documents that I have seen that contemplates the role algorithms play in across digital pricing, personalization, discrimination, and ranking and the impact of the lack of transparency. It’s an important read that sets the tone for how UK regulators will seek to both audit and bring transparency to algorithms.
- there’s an interesting court ruling in Germany that ruled against the use of dark patterns when obtaining consent to collect and use data. You can read more about Dark Patterns here, and there are proposals in the US to prohibit the use of dark patterns.
- the UK’s Information Commissioner Officer (ICO) announced they are re-starting their investigation into Real Time Bidding (RTB), including data use. At this stage, there’s no timing on when the investigation will conclude.
- as the US Antitrust investigation into Google gathers steam, Google has come out with a lengthy blog post with why it believes it’s being unfairly targeted.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- Facebook has referred the decision to suspend former President Trump from the platform to Facebook’s Oversight Board. The process and timing of how the case will be reviewed can be found on the Facebook Oversight Board website, and the final decision (when made) will be public.
- if you want to understand Apple’s privacy moves around IDFA and the potential impact on Facebook (who has publicly challenged Apple’s position), then you might be interested in reading this analysis, which predicts about a 7% revenue impairment on Facebook. It’s really worth a read, even if you disagree with the methodology because it’s one of the few analyses that truly examines the impact on CPMs and not on emotional arguments of the potential impact on small business advertisers.
- an internal Facebook memo has leaked titled “The Big Shift” that calls for a rethink of how the company approaches privacy. The note comes from the lead of Facebook Reality Labs (aka Oculus) and is worth a read, even if it may not represent the broader position across all of Facebook.
- US Congress members wrote to Facebook, Google, and twitter to ask the platforms to “address the fundamental design features of their social networks that facilitate the spread of extreme, radicalizing content to their users.”
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.
PS. An advertising distraction of the week. Barilla (the pasta people) have collaborated with Spotify to develop playlists timed to cook perfect pasta. Enjoy some mixtape spaghetti, simply classics linguine, or pleasant melancholy penne.