Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed.
- the big news of the week was AT&T and Discovery announcing a US$43B deal to merge their respective media businesses (and AT&T exiting media). The new, yet unnamed entity, will not include the Xandr adtech unit, which will remain within AT&T. The deal is expected to close in 2022.
- Pinterest Idea Pins have now launched globally. As a reminder, Idea Pins are an update to Pinterest’s Story Pins and offer video, audio, as well as interactive elements. Pinterest claims Idea Pins are more engaging than standard Pins and have ~9x the typical comment rate.
- in other Pinterest news, the company claims that it sees 5B searches every month. For perspective, Google does this search volume per day.
- Facebook is bringing live shopping to the platform. Called Live Shopping Fridays, every week until July 16th, brands in the fashion, beauty, and self-care space will be broadcasting live video with an eCommerce component for a 90minute window. You can see the full list of participating brands here.
- HBO shared details of their ad-supported tier. It will cost US$9.99 per month, it will launch in June, and ad products include pause ads, sponsorship blocks, as well as showing ads while people browse searching for content.
- Spotify is launching a virtual concert series, with tickets starting at US$15. The concerts are pre-recorded but not available on-demand and will be during May and June.
- in other Spotify news, the company has inked a deal with Storytel, bringing streaming audiobooks to the Spotify platform.
- the Clubhouse App is now available worldwide for Android. If you are after an invite code, I have a few left, so if you’re quick and ask politely, I may be able to help. 🙂
- an interesting rumor doing the rounds is that Netflix is considering moving into video games, including a video game subscription service (paywall).
- Amazon is reportedly in talks to acquire the movie studio MGM. There has been no comment by either party, but it is known MGM is for sale.
Snap and Google held their partner and developer events (respectively) during the week. There was a lot of content, so here a brief takeaway from each.
- Google has not yet gone down the App Tracking Transparency Route on Android. But there is a new Private Compute Core, a sort-of privacy sandbox for Android for on-device data process and clear indicators of when apps access the camera, microphone, etc.
- the wow moment (for me) was something called Project Starline. This is a video conferencing product that enables 3D video chat without the need to wear glasses. Seriously, watch the Starline demo video.
- Snap’s partner conference underscored their focus on AR. Snap showed their AR glasses (Spectacles). Not commercially available and very much an early prototype (battery life is 30minutes), it really gives you a glimpse of Snap’s AR vision. At the end of the week, Snap acquired the company that makes the AR display for the glasses.
- the other stand out was Snap’s plans for Snap Maps. Including something called “Layers,” which lets people add partner content to Snap maps. It makes Snap Maps more personal and social, with initial partners including Ticketmaster and The Infatuation, and it has clear ad and retail implications.
- China’s Digital Regulator has notified 105 apps that they are doing “illegal data collection.” This includes LinkedIn, ByteDance, and others over claims that data collection is excessive. Each of the companies named has 15 days to take corrective action. The full list of apps is here.
- Google lost a lawsuit attempting to move the Texas AG Antitrust action to California. In parallel, the US House moved forward on a bill that would prevent Google and others from attempting to move antitrust cases bought by US States to other jurisdictions.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- there’s a new ad from Apple that focuses on privacy and App Tracking Transparency (ATT). Not much more to say other than you must watch it.
- Facebook and YouTube released their latest Community Standards Reports. You can view the Facebook report here and the YouTube report here. Each company claimed increasing efficacy of their safety programs, but both are absent any 3rd party auditing or verification of their methodology, accuracy, or veracity of the data. Also worth noting that there are reports that bad actors are actively gaming the system, specifically on YouTube, to avoid detection.
- the post-IDFA Alliance, an industry group made of mobile adtech firms, shared some updated stats on IDFA opt-in rates. One of the more interesting updates is that Android spend is up 10-20%, and iOS CPMs are declining as marketers adjust to the changes.
- if you have ever wondered how Facebook’s Ad Review process works, the company published a blog post detailing the process. It comes in the same week as Facebook has been criticized for not taking down an ad criticized for hate speech and inciting violence.
Have a great week.
PS. No distraction yet, but an announcement. After 5 years, I am planning on ending Last Week in Digital Media this June. This has always been a personal project, and I’m no longer able to commit the time each evening and weekend. Thanks, as always, for reading.
PPS. That said, there is a distraction. Try the Terms and Conditions Game from Evil Corp. Good luck!