Google May Be Facing a Record Fine by the European Union

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner for competition, is reportedly close to ruling on an antitrust case regarding Google’s search services that is likely to result in a record fine, according to insiders. The penalty is expected to exceed the $1.4 billion antitrust fine that Intel paid in Europe in 2009. “Officials could also force Google to alter how it operates in the region, and potentially elsewhere, to give rivals a greater ability to compete,” reports The New York Times. The case “claims that Google diverted traffic from competitors’ services to favor its own comparison shopping site.” The European Commission is also investigating two other cases that involve Android and Google’s advertising products. “Google has denied any wrongdoing,” notes NYT. Continue reading Google May Be Facing a Record Fine by the European Union

Instagram Feature Brings Transparency to Sponsored Posts

Instagram has taken a step to increase transparency, giving Internet celebrities on the site an easier way to let viewers know if their posts are sponsored. Users and sponsors can work together to decide whether or not to tag a post as a “paid partnership” at the top. This new feature is currently being tested with a few celebrities and businesses. If it proves successful, Instagram will launch it more widely. Parent company Facebook already uses a similar method of disclosing such paid partnerships. Continue reading Instagram Feature Brings Transparency to Sponsored Posts

Facebook Offers Tips for Effective Video Ads in a Mobile Era

In a blog post this week, Facebook VP of core ads Mark Rabkin discusses “Video Advertising in the Mobile Age” and includes some interesting trends in television and social media consumption. While TV remains a powerful medium, people commonly turn to mobile feeds, apps, websites and texting when television no longer holds their attention. Facebook conducted a small study of TV viewers who watched the season premiere of a popular show last fall and found, not surprisingly, that use of Facebook increased during commercial breaks. The post shares tips for creating more effective ads for this audience. Continue reading Facebook Offers Tips for Effective Video Ads in a Mobile Era

PwC Forecast Points to Growth in Gaming, VR and eSports

Consulting firm PwC predicts a 6.3 percent compound annual growth rate for console video games over the next five years in the U.S., with revenue increasing from $21 billion in 2016 to $28.5 billion in 2021. “That doesn’t include PC games microtransaction revenue, which is expected to grow from $3 billion in 2016 to $4.2 billion in 2021,” reports VentureBeat. PwC also predicts social and casual games will surpass console games this year. Meanwhile, the PwC forecast points to significantly faster growth rates for virtual reality and eSports in the U.S. Continue reading PwC Forecast Points to Growth in Gaming, VR and eSports

TV Networks Add Snapchat Shows to Multiplatform Strategy

Snapchat Shows is exceeding Snap Inc.’s expectations, encouraging the company to focus on an ambitious expansion to the app’s 166 million daily global users. The first Snapchat Show launch, in January 2016, was an internal creation, “Good Luck America,” which has since averaged 5.2 million viewers per episode in its second season, a 53 percent surge from its first season. That popularity is emboldening a long list of celebrities and media entities to jump on board, among them Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, A&E and BBC. Continue reading TV Networks Add Snapchat Shows to Multiplatform Strategy

Instagram Rolls Out AR Selfie Lenses, Adds Location Hashtag

Again copying a Snapchat feature, Instagram introduced a face icon with eight filters, allowing users to transform themselves. Among the filters are koala bears and bunnies (perfect for kids), and flower crowns, which might be a hit with teens. Nine months ago, Instagram debuted its disappearing Stories, aping the format made popular by Snapchat. Since then, Instagram Stories has built up 200 million daily active users, compared to Snap’s 166 million. Instagram hasn’t said if it will rotate or expand the filters over time. Continue reading Instagram Rolls Out AR Selfie Lenses, Adds Location Hashtag

Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

The growth of Snapchat’s audience, now at about 166 million daily users, appears to be slowing, and analysts and stockholders have taken note. On its May 10 quarterly report, the first since its March IPO, chief executive Evan Spiegel offered up the idea that his company’s AR Lenses present users with a creative tool they can’t find elsewhere, even though the Lenses have now been copied by Facebook. A new report shows that Snap’s trouble drawing in new users got serious at the start of Q2, even as rival Instagram pulls ahead. Continue reading Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

YouTube plans to produce new original series to be available for free on its site. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart, talk-show host and producer Ellen DeGeneres and Internet comedy duo Rhett & Link are producing unscripted series to roll out in 2017. The Google-owned company will also invest more in its paid video and music streaming service YouTube Red, which launched in October 2015. YouTube will fund more than 40 original shows and movies in the next year. By devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to programming with high-profile stars, YouTube hopes to attract more advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

Facebook Benefits From Expanded Video Content, Digital Ads

Facebook reports that its Q1 profit leaped 76 percent to $3.06 billion, putting to rest concerns that video-ad performance or graphic content stymied growth. Alphabet enjoyed 29 percent growth in net profit in the same quarter, apparently undamaged by brands finding their content advertised against objectionable YouTube videos. The two tech titans currently account for 99 percent of the online ad industry’s revenue growth, says Pivotal Research, even as marketers express growing concern over fake news and live video issues. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to push new video content. Continue reading Facebook Benefits From Expanded Video Content, Digital Ads

NAB 2017: ETC Charts Path From Big Data to Big Knowledge

At ETC’s conference on machine learning/AI at NAB, director of data and analytics Yves Bergquist talked about the work ETC@USC is doing to understand AI, storygraphics and audience intelligence. At the heart of the question, he said, is why we like or don’t like a movie or TV show. Getting an audience member to describe why she liked her favorite movie, he responded that the people who made that movie don’t know why she liked it. “Not because they’re stupid, but because it is a very complex, multi-faceted question,” he said. Continue reading NAB 2017: ETC Charts Path From Big Data to Big Knowledge

NAB 2017: Thought Leaders Gather to Discuss Cloud Potential

As part of the Next Generation Media Technologies program at NAB, in partnership with ETC@USC, Walden Pond chief executive Wendy Aylsworth moderated a panel on “Thought Leadership for Key Players in the Industry.” Leaders from cloud initiatives at Microsoft, Google, Adobe and Avid Technology detailed their experiences in evolving cloud offerings, as well as the challenges in making these services a reality. Because the cloud is capable of multiple workflows, each leader had a different take on its benefits. Continue reading NAB 2017: Thought Leaders Gather to Discuss Cloud Potential

NAB 2017: Pre-Conference Sessions Examine Virtual Reality

It was clear from the SMPTE Future of Cinema sessions and the Post Production World sessions on VR that the NAB community has moved beyond defining virtual reality to how to address specific challenges and questions. Industry leaders gathered in Las Vegas to discuss the latest in VR production and post production, covering areas such as audio, video, hardware and more. Discussions during the pre-NAB weekend sessions also addressed compelling issues related to augmented reality, artificial intelligence, deep learning — even ethics, PR and marketing. Continue reading NAB 2017: Pre-Conference Sessions Examine Virtual Reality

VB Insight Study Says Video Is Key to App Store Optimization

VB Insight, VentureBeat’s research arm, published a report on “App store optimization — a practitioner’s guide to ASO,” revealing that video plays a significant role throughout the app marketing process. Author of the report, mobile analyst Peggy Anne Salz interviewed 35 ASO professionals, integrated data from a survey of over 500 ASO users, and examined techniques of successful app developers. The report details best practices for app marketing and looks at what’s coming down the pike for ASO. Continue reading VB Insight Study Says Video Is Key to App Store Optimization

Google Blocks Burger King Ad From Activating Google Home

Burger King released a TV ad in which an actor activates the Google Home digital assistant to describe the ingredients in the Whopper sandwich. Prompted by the actor, Google Home searches Wikipedia for the Whopper and lists the makings of the sandwich. Within hours of the ad’s release, however, both The Verge and BuzzFeed discovered that the commercial no longer activated the device. Burger King did not work with Google to create this marketing approach, and Google reacted by stymying it. Continue reading Google Blocks Burger King Ad From Activating Google Home

YouTube Reserves Advertising to Channels with 10,000 Views

As YouTube weathers criticism from advertisers about placing their messages with objectionable videos, the company has made a major policy shift. Now, video channels must have more than 10,000 total views before YouTube will place ads there. Though the move may placate some marketers, it is also likely to ruffle the feathers of many creators, given that Internet data firm Pex estimates that 88 percent of all YouTube channels fall into the category of under-10,000 views. YouTube has been working on the policy since November. Continue reading YouTube Reserves Advertising to Channels with 10,000 Views

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