Welcome to your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed:
- Roku has closed their acquisition of Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising business, including Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) and Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) capability. Roku also added several partners to its measurement partner program, including Adjust, Affinity Solutions, IRI, and, Kochava.
- the pitch deck of TikTok has leaked (paywall). The deck includes specifics on the TikTok audience (42% 18-24), average daily usage (89 minutes), and the platform’s ability to drive commerce (47% have bought something they saw on TikTok). If you’re after something more public, TikTok did share the results of a TikTok-Kantar study about advertising on the platform.
- Spotify’s in-car device, called “Car Thing,” is now real. Available on a waitlist and as a limited release, the single-purpose device is currently free for subscribers (if you’re fortunate enough to be accepted). You can join the waitlist here. Spotify does suggest that the retail price will be $79.99. If you can’t wait, I found the user manual and box artwork in the FCC database and was able to see the Car Thing pairing experience.
- in his final letter to shareholders, the outgoing CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, shared that the company has 200MM Amazon Prime subscribers (PDF link). However, perhaps the most interesting thing is that the letter includes a reprint of the 1997 shareholder letter, and it’s notable how many companies that Amazon struck a partnership with a no more.
- Verizon shared its proposed alternative to cookies and mobile device IDs. Positioned as the “Next Gen Solutions Suite,” it is built off the back of Verizon’s ConnectID offering. In other Verizon news, the company also announced a Hyper Precision Location (HPL) product that enables accuracy as fine as 1-2cm.
- Australia’s Competition Regulator (ACCC) has found that Google misled Android users about the collection and use of location data between January 2017 and December 2018. A penalty is yet to be determined.
- the long-awaited US House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Report into Digital Markets is now available (PDF link). At 450pp, it’s not a light read, and I’m still working my way through it. The key takeaways is that it broadly positions Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook as having various kinds of monopoly powers and that antitrust action and reform is needed. Both Amazon and Google have responded to the report, unsurprisingly both critical of the document, in separate blog posts (Amazon and Google).
- the well-publicized Facebook data scraping incident continues to be in the news. In a blog post, Facebook explained how it combats data scraping. That said, this may all be too late, as the Irish Data Protection Commission has launched an investigation into the issue.
- proposed EU AI Regulations leaked (PDF link). There 81pp of proposals, which, in the current form, would ban indiscriminate surveillance and establish a European Artificial Intelligence Board to oversee AI regulations. It also explicitly calls out regulation for high-risk AI environments like self-driving cars and AI used in the railway and aviation sectors.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- continuing on the AI/algorithm theme. twitter is introducing a responsible Machine Learning (ML) initiative. Cross-functional teams across twitter will examine how machine learning can lead to algorithmic biases. One of the first topics they will look at is how twitter crops images.
- as the Oversight Board decision on former President Trump looms, the Oversight Board tweeted a decision is coming within weeks. This could be as early as April 21st, but the tweet suggests it may be delayed. Separately, there have been changes to the Oversight Board appeals process. Users can now appeal content that has been left up on Facebook and Instagram.
- Apple will be holding a launch event on April 20th. It’s expected that the event will see the launch of iOS 14.5 with all that App Tracking Transparency (ATT) entails.
- a coalition of 35 groups, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has petitioned Facebook (PDF link) to drop plans for Instagram kids. They have also launched a public petition.
- as Pinterest enters the Creator economy, details are emerging of the Creator Code participants must sign, which is intended to ensure responsible behavior but assure advertisers on brand safety.
- Mozilla, makers of the Firefox browser and several other browser companies have indicated that they will not support the proposed FLoC standard. Recent data suggests that 99% of websites currently accept FLoC. Despite publishers having the ability to opt out of FLoC with a few lines of code in less than a few minutes.
- YouTube is experimenting with a media literacy ad unit that aims to help people identify online misinformation. You can check out the ad here.
- Instagram is expanding the hide-likes trial, testing the option of letting a limited number of users hide their own like counts, that of others, or keep the experience as is. The test may also extend to Facebook.
Have a great week.
PS. There may be no newsletter next week. As a distraction, Poland has, potentially sentient, escaped croissants impersonating wildlife. So be alert. Also, please make sure you help out the FCC who are trying to benchmark US broadband speeds. There are apps for iOS and Android.