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Ad Tech, Brand Messaging Take Center Stage at TV Upfronts

While this year’s TV Upfronts were packed with celebrity appearances and musical performances, the focus had clearly shifted from scheduling to content that could be watched anytime and anywhere and the technologies that facilitate ad insertions and brand messaging opportunities. In addition to changing viewer habits, streaming and binge watching have resulted in new priorities for program services, now focused on libraries that amount to inventory by the ton, according to reports from the television industry’s annual New York pitch event for advertisers. Read more

Tencent Reports a Significant Profit Decline on Flat Revenues

Chinese tech and entertainment conglomerate Tencent Holdings posted a 23 percent first quarter profit decline on earnings that inched up only 0.1 percent, its worst results since publicly listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2004. China’s COVID-19 resurgence and the ensuing regulatory crackdown of the past year were cited as factors. The world’s largest video game developer said that it is refocusing on quality product as Beijing telegraphs it will limit the number of titles release in the coming months. Authorities suspended video game licenses and put time restrictions on game streaming in an effort to protect the nation’s youth. Read more

YouTube Adds ‘Green Screen,’ Most-Played, Gifting Features

YouTube is amplifying shopping features, adding an effect that lets creators use other backgrounds for shorts and offers a new monetization opportunity through gifting subscriptions. YouTube teased upcoming features that it claimed would make it easier for viewers to discover and buy from brands. At its Brandcast event in New York City, the Google unit touted new ways to engage shoppers, users and advertisers. One new feature allows two creators to simultaneously go live and co-host a single shopping stream, the idea being to double the audience for such events by drawing the fanbase of both creators. Read more

Apple Campaign Exposes Data Auctions as Privacy Concern

Apple has unleashed an ad campaign to raise consumer awareness of the features it has developed to mitigate the privacy risks associated with data brokers who market users’ mobile data, selling everything from browsing history to shopping habits, contacts and location data. The 90-second spot, running this summer on broadcast and social media in 24 countries, is conveniently timed as a message to global regulators who have Apple in its crosshairs for a closed ecosystem some say is anticompetitive. The ad extends messaging CEO Tim Cook initiated in 2018 with his “data industrial complex” speech. Read more

NewFronts: Amazon, Peacock Demo Product Placement Tech

Amazon and Peacock both showcased virtual product placement tech solutions at the NewFronts, demonstrating how marketers can substitute new brands into previously produced material. Currently in beta, Amazon’s new VPP tool lends immediacy to marketing decisions that were once locked months, if not years, in advance, placing products directly into existing content streams from Amazon Prime Video and the company’s Freevee streaming service. Peacock takes a slightly different approach with “In-Scene,” which identifies in-show opportunities for message-freshening during post. Both developments tap artificial intelligence to improve on past practices. Read more

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