Last Week in Digital Media (03/25 - 03/29)
It's time once again for last week in digital media, here's all the news you may have missed:
Apple made a wealth of announcements during the week from news subscriptions, video products, to a credit card. The big takeaway for the ad industry is that the subscription-based all-you-can-eat Apple News+ service will not have ads. If News+ gets wide-spread adoption, it could see a decline in audiences on ad-supported content. As for Apple's TV+ service it won't be exclusive to Apple devices (Roku is one of the partners), it won't have ads, and pricing is unknown. The IPG Media Lab is your best source of information and summary of all of the recent Apple news.
Mark Zuckerberg shared a lengthy post outlining how he believes regulation can help the industry (also published as a Washington Post Op-Ed). Zuckerberg identified four (4) areas where he thought regulation would help: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability. A must read.
Google is rolling out AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for Gmail in an attempt to make email more dynamic. AMP-enabled email can dynamically update so that the contents are current at the time of opening, as well as provide levels of interactivity directly in the email (buying, booking, etc). Hopefully, AMP for email will get broader support beyond just Gmail but even without this, clients who are active email marketers should start looking to segment out Gmail users to take advantage of the features.
eMarketer reports that reddit is on track to hit US$100MM in ad revenue by the end of the year with most of the growth coming from in-stream video, app-install campaigns, and top-post takeovers. For those who haven't seen it but are interested, Digiday has published reddit's pitch deck (paywall).
advertisers can now take advantage of interactivity such as polls on Instagram with the introduction of interactive stories ads. While brands could use interactivity in native placements, this is the first time it has come to ad units. Instagram claims that using interactive elements has increased video watch time and reduced ad cost.
Comcast is set to build a dedicated eSports arena for their Philadelphia Fusion Overwatch League team franchise. The proposed arena will seat 3,500 and sit within Philadelphia Sports Complex. This would be the first purpose-built dedicated eSports team facility in the US.
VIDEO, OTT, and CONNECTED TVs
YouTube TV (their live streaming service) is now officially available in every US market. A reminder, YouTube has access to local cable TV inventory that forms part of YouTube TV.
twitter has partnered with Samba TV to measure the effectiveness of twitter to drive tune in. The offering, primarily designed to service broadcasters, may also be interesting to brands to learn how their twitter followers can be reached on television.
Sony has sold a majority stake in their OTT streaming offering Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul. The new Crackle will be a joint venture called Crackle Plus and continue to be ad-supported.
Adobe and Roku have struck a partnership that enables advertisers to apply their 1st Party data that's in Adobe Advertising Cloud data to OTT activation on Roku. Roku has said that the ability to match dta is currently exclusive to Adobe. Roku and Adobe claim the data partnership will improve the ability to manage frequency (and frequency caps) on OTT.
TRUST, PRIVACY, and SAFETY
the FTC is examining the privacy practices of broadband providers, with letters going out to Verizon, Comcast, Google, T-Mobile, etc. seeking clarity on ISP data collection and use, disclosure, and correction practices. You can read the letter the FTC sent to ISPs here. A response from ISPs is due in early May and expect further scrutiny of carrier-owned location data.
also from the FTC, they are preparing to meet with State Attorney Generals to understand the dominance of Alphabet (Google) and Facebook. Exact timing of the meetings has not been confirmed.
Facebook has started holding work sessions on the proposed Facebook Content Advisory Board, sharing updates on a session recently held in Nairobi. Facebook anticipates the consultation process will take about a year and the final board will consist of about 40 people across a diverse range of skills and backgrounds.
Also in the independent advisory board council, Google has established an advisory council for AI. The group is officially called the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC). The group will meet four (4) times a year and Google " plan(s) to publish a report summarizing the (council) discussions".
The US Government is forcing the Chinese firm that owns the gay dating app Grindr to sell the company due to national security concerns. The request comes from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and demonstrates that collection and protection of sensitive personal information has significance beyond just whether it's collected appropriately but who is the ultimate owner of that data and the potential for that data to be misused.
The US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has charged Facebook with discrimination practices based on the targeting available on the platform. HUD alleges that Facebook enabled advertisers to unlawfully discriminates across several interests that closely align with the Fair Housing Act’s protected classes. If you're interested, you can read the full HUD charge against Facebook here (PDF link). HUD is also reportedly eyeing Google and twitter over similar concerns. It serves as an important reminder, just because the targeting options are available doesn't make it legal.
Facebook is bringing further transparency to pages and advertising on the platform with updates to the Ad Library (previously called Ad Archive). Now all active ads a page is running — not just ads related to politics or issues will be viewable. There will also be increased transparency on pages with every page including a “Page Transparency” section with details on the date the page was created, name changes, and primary country location.
Have a great week.
PS. I was going to attempt to April Fool you all and say this was the last ever newsletter. Instead, a reminder that April Fools Day is often a day when brands, platforms, and the digital media industry like to try and prank the public with fake press releases AND also release real products. FYI Gmail was launched on April Fools Day. So don't believe everything you see or hear online Monday e.g. setting your twitter birthdate to 2007 will not unlock a fancy new color scheme.