Media News Briefing 2/10/2017
This is part of a series of briefings made internally by our staff researcher Dakota Sky Bloom and released on our blog.
Theme: The grass is always greener on the other side of the digital/linear divide. Also, Facebook wishes to devour everything- just this week includes them trying to absorb market share from Craigslist, Snapchat, TV Advertising, weather apps, and using email for password recovery.
- Snapchat wants 9 figure upfronts. Given that almost all growth in advertising revenue last year came from Facebook and Google, it remains to be seen if Snap can grab a chunk of the pie.
- Comedy Central trying using branded content instead of commercials, on the notion that people are less likely to ignore branded comedy skits.
- Channel 4 is trading TV advertising time for equity in startups; it is trying to get startups used to TV advertising, which is usually too expensive for startups to use until they hit hockey-stick growth.
- FTC has issues with cross-device tracking, which follows on recent European regulator interest. Both inquiries have adtech companies spooked, as the cross-device tracking is an important part of the industry.
- EU may force OTT services to have users’ libraries follow them– if you are a German Netflix user and go to Spain, you would be able to retain the German library. May be difficult for networks to implement technically.
- An article going over how customers’ DirectTV NOW complaints are still ongoing, to the point they are complaining to the FCC. It is unclear if the service, which should have been a surefire win, will be salvageable due to the goodwill lost.
- Ajit Pai, new FCC Chairman, stops zero-rating probe into AT&T /DirectTV Now. By reversing course on zero-rating, or the practice of a carrier not charging customers data for using certain services (in this case DirectTV Now) that it charges competitors to those services. This practice, and the resulting death of net neutrality, would make it more difficult for both major and minor companies (from Netflix to Snap to VRV to Fight Pass) to be able to compete against companies favored by the ISPs. Snap in particular is worried about it, as it might cripple their ability to compete against Facebook (which has historically desired zero-rating).
- Techcrunch gets into how much Snapchat’s growth has slowed as Instagram has cannibalized features- putting numbers to the hype.
- Facebook lays out a marketing mix platform for measurement partners so they can compare the 360° performance of advertising across TV, web, Facebook, etc.
- Facebook wants to be the center of your online secure life, replacing email as the way to reset passwords.
- Gunpowder and Sky is trying to trying to be a Studio. This includes heading to Sundance and picking up Little Hours.
- Katzenberg has new investment company- WndrCo. Starts off with $591 million invested, targeted towards tech and media ventures, a la Barrry Diller’s IAC. None of the investors are named, but the minimum to join was $25 million. Given the explicit comparison to IAC (which has a portfolio that extends from Tinder to Vimeo to , keep an eye on WndrCo.
- The saturation point for $9.99 music streaming subscriptions appears to have been reached. This may force some “price innovation” in the industry, and possibly some renegotiation between streaming services and labels. As an aside, when will streaming services move to circumvent labels entirely?
- Medium is doing a subscription product. Details TBD, but given they were adamant on finding a new model for a flailing industry, it is a tad disheartening that one of the brightest companies in the media space went directly for one of the oldest business models.
- Odyssey is a platform that mass-produces cheap written content by using college kids. Given its rapid growth, it will be interesting to see if Odyssey can survive the quality control problems inherent to User-Generated Content platforms.
- Club Penguin is shutting down, being rebooted. As one of Disney’s largest digital platforms, and a unifying childhood experience for a specific subset of 14-25 year olds, it will be interesting to see if the online community can be successfully recreated for a new generation of kids. Disney mentions this reboot will focus on mobile; would be interesting to see if they get into VR/AR.
- Oxford study on the odds of a profession being computerized. They estimate that 47% of total US employment is at-risk, which would have interesting effects on the economy.
- Two excellent SF pieces about a Zuckerberg presidency and a future workforce fenced in by algorithms.
- Vanity Fair discussing risk from tech to traditional Hollywood employment patterns like union sets and the craft of video editing.
- Hiring in media is down 6.1% in January over last year, but is up in the rest of the economy (and up in tech as well).