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Instagram Paying Media Companies to Create Popular Reels

Instagram is opening its wallet to media companies that can generate viral Reels, even as it cuts back on personalization. The step is the latest development as the Meta Platforms social app continues to experiment with its configuration, including algorithms and UI. On Thursday, the company said it will discontinue the full-screen feed it has been beta testing and will also be scaling down plans to increase force-fed recommendations. This rather abrupt reversal is said to be in response to the public criticisms of potential updates by users and notable influencers. Read more

How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

The nation’s largest publisher, Penguin Random House, was in federal court this week to defend itself against the Justice Department, which filed an antitrust lawsuit to block its acquisition of Simon & Schuster. The DOJ has been increasingly focused on antitrust and is hiring more trial lawyers in preparation for an action against Alphabet’s Google for its dominance in search and digital advertising. Although ostensibly on trial for threatening to shrink the number of American mass-market publishers from five to four, the Penguin suit also involves examination of the retail power of Amazon. Read more

Streaming Viewership to Surpass Cable TV Before Year’s End

Streaming is expected to overtake linear TV viewing by the end of the year, according to a study by research firm Omdia. The Gauge, Nielsen’s latest media analysis report, found that streaming claimed 34 percent of total TV time in June for a fourth consecutive monthly record. That’s what cable claimed in June 2021, only to decline to 35 percent in June 2022. Nielsen SVP of product strategy and thought leadership Brian Fuhrer says what is unusual is “the extraordinary breakout that a number of the streamers had,” with Netflix jumping the most, a full share point. Read more

Gen Z Turning to TikTok and Instagram for Search and News

TikTok is at the center of yet another attention-grabbing trend: Gen Z has begun using it as a search engine, edging out Google. TikTok says a third of its billion or so global users are Gen Z, and these 10-to-25-year-olds are now using the short-form video platform for more than just entertainment and are increasingly turning to it as a source of information. Meta Platforms’ Instagram is also making a strong showing among information seekers in Gen Z — an important demographic among advertisers, as they are still forming brand loyalties and shopping habits. Read more

Tech Firms Seek Energy Alternatives to Power Data Centers

Hotter temperatures are not only wreaking havoc on residential electric bills and power grids, but also on data centers, which are looking for reliable green backup power to prepare for “the new normal” and keep our planet’s collective knowledge accessible online through record heat. Cooling system failures resulting from the UK’s July heatwave resulted in Google Cloud’s London data centers going offline for a day, creating a ripple effect for customers as far off as the U.S. and in the Pacific region. Oracle’s London cloud-based data center was also impacted by what the company called “unseasonal temperatures.” Read more

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