MoviePass Service Plans to Be Back in Operation by Summer

Three months after MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes shared hopes to resurrect his subscription movie service, shuttered late 2019, the executive held a New York press conference to announce his summer reboot. “A lot of people lost money. A lot of people lost trust,” Spikes told reporters, explaining that he plans to run MoviePass 2.0 like a co-op, with top-level stakeholders eligible to hold partial ownership and a lifetime subscription. “Moviegoing is not going anywhere. Cinema is not going anywhere,” Spikes said during last week’s press event at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. Continue reading MoviePass Service Plans to Be Back in Operation by Summer

Twitter Revenue Tops $5 Billion in 2021, Up 22 Percent in Q4

Twitter net income dropped 20 percent in Q4, but the company posted revenue gains for both the quarter and the year, up 22 percent to $1.57 billion for the three months ending December 31, and 37 percent for the year, which closed at just over $5 billion. Net income was $182 million in Q4, versus $222 million in 2020, due to increased costs in areas such as hiring and marketing. Twitter announced a $4 billion stock buyback and said it would maintain its aggressive Q4 2023 goal of 315 million monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs). Continue reading Twitter Revenue Tops $5 Billion in 2021, Up 22 Percent in Q4

Amazon Profits Double While Q4 Operating Income Plunges

Amazon had a merry Q4, doubling net income to $14.3 billion from $7.2 billion the prior year. While quarterly revenue of $137.4 billion was up 9 percent due largely to its “biggest-ever” Black Friday to Cyber Monday shopping weekend, the profit surge was the result of a pre-tax gain of $11.8 billion from its investment in Rivian. The electric car manufacturer completed an initial public offering in November. The Amazon Web Services cloud unit grew revenue 40 percent to $17.8 billion, more than $5 billion of it income. Total 2021 revenue was $469.8 billion, up 22 percent. Continue reading Amazon Profits Double While Q4 Operating Income Plunges

Snap Notches First Quarterly Profits on $1.3 Billion Revenue

Snap Inc. ended 2021 with its first net profit on quarterly results since going public in 2017, with Q4 earnings of $22.5 million versus last year’s net loss of $113 million during the same period. The company’s Q4 revenue of $1.3 billion marked a 42 percent increase year-over-year, while Snapchat’s daily active users rose 20 percent to 319 million, beating analyst estimates on both counts, which sent Snap stock soaring last week. In 2022, Snap has to contend with Apple’s iOS privacy changes, something Meta Platforms forecasts will take a $10 billion bite out of its own earnings.  Continue reading Snap Notches First Quarterly Profits on $1.3 Billion Revenue

EU Asserts Itself on Standards, Takes Position on Ad Consent

The European Commission is seeking a more prominent seat at the regulatory table in the hall where global technology standards are being crafted. Experts periodically confer, beyond public view, to establish rules for emerging technology, and the norms for everything from connectivity to artificial intelligence. Now, EU commissioners are concerned they’ll wind up sidelined as a market-dominant U.S. and emboldened China white-knuckle their way to the lectern when groups like the International Organization for Standardization and the UN’s International Telecommunication Union dictate how technology is to be deployed across the globe. Continue reading EU Asserts Itself on Standards, Takes Position on Ad Consent

Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

Google parent Alphabet posted Q4 2021 revenue of $75.33 billion, a 32 percent increase over the same period in 2020 that outperformed expectations. The blowout results were attributed to small and large businesses embracing digital advertising as a way to reach consumers housebound by COVID-19. Profits rose 36 percent to $20.64 billion in Q4. Alphabet revenue for the year ending December 31 was $257.6 billion, a 41 percent increase over 2020. The company also announced a 20-for-1 stock split. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai cited “a quarterly sales record for our Pixel phones despite supply constraints” among the achievements. Continue reading Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

Euro Parliament Toughens Stance on Surveillance Advertising

The European Parliament has added amendments to the EU’s proposed Digital Services Act that will further strengthen consumer protections and make it more difficult for Big Tech to continue tactics for surveillance advertising and microtargeting. The new amendments, advanced at a plenary session last week, are significant in part because they apply to digital services more broadly than the original DSA, which targets “gatekeeper” companies like Google and Facebook. Parliament had already endorsed a full ban on the profiling of minors as well as limiting the use of special category data for ad serving. Continue reading Euro Parliament Toughens Stance on Surveillance Advertising

Mixed Snapchat Picture Results in Stock Dive on Q3 Results

Snapchat is blaming Apple’s new digital advertising policy for what it predicts will be a slow Q4. Changes including an iOS rule letting users opt-out of ads make it difficult for advertisers to test campaigns and measure results, Snapchat claims. The prediction came as Snap Inc. released Q3 results, announcing $1.067 billion for quarterly revenue, just short of the $1.07 billion expected. Snap exceed its Q3 goal for daily active users, which hit 306 million, beating by 5 million its Q2 estimate. Despite a 57 percent revenue year-over-year increase, Snap stock value dropped significantly. Continue reading Mixed Snapchat Picture Results in Stock Dive on Q3 Results

Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

In its latest effort to take on Amazon in e-commerce advertising, Alphabet announced that Google will update its product search pages to include more images of items such as accessories and apparel. Rather than Google’s traditional scroll of links with accompanying text, the results will feature a look more similar to a digital store. The move is part of the search giant’s larger strategy to fend off Amazon, Target, Walmart and others that have been ramping up their digital ad businesses to complement retail and e-commerce operations. While Google still enjoys the lead in online search, it does not join these competitors in directly selling products. Continue reading Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Apple and Google are introducing privacy protections to thwart marketers from gaining access to consumer data when displaying ads, a change that is expected to seriously impact the online advertising schema that is the bedrock of ‘free’ apps and websites like Facebook and TikTok. In April, Apple iPhones debuted a pop-up window that asks people for permission to be tracked by apps. Google has outlined plans to disable a tracking capability in its Chrome web browser. And Facebook announced last month that is working on a new type of ad display that will not rely on personal data. Continue reading Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Fox Enjoys Robust Q4 Based on Cable, TV Advertising Sales

For fiscal Q4, Fox Corporation — parent of FOX News Channel, the FOX broadcast network and FOX Sports — reported net income of $253 million, or 43 cents per share, versus $122 million, or 20 cents per share year-over-year. Company chief executive Lachlan Murdoch stated that the company looks forward to “the return of normalized sports and entertainment calendars and the start of the midterm election cycle.” Fox became a standalone, publicly-traded company on Mar 21, 2019, after the Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox merger. Continue reading Fox Enjoys Robust Q4 Based on Cable, TV Advertising Sales

Less Than One-Third of iOS Users Opt In to Tracking by Apps

Since Apple began requiring apps to get user permission to track them, Branch Metrics found that less than 33 percent of iOS users opted in. Ad prices aimed at iOS users have fallen and those aimed at Android users have risen, which the digital ad community warned Apple about. Now, ad buyers are deploying iOS ad spending in less targeted ways and the lack of user data also reduces the efficacy of Facebook’s ad-targeting tools. Apple only sells ads in a few of its apps and doesn’t take a cut of third-party iOS app revenue. Continue reading Less Than One-Third of iOS Users Opt In to Tracking by Apps

Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

The five-year truce between Google and Microsoft has broken down. Sources say that neither company is interested in renewing the former alliance. Microsoft wants marketers to have equal access to search engines when they build campaigns with Google technology, but Google believes that, in fact, Microsoft sees it as a threat to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing and Office productivity businesses. Both companies are now “handing ammo” against each other to regulators, a strategy that might backfire on both of them. Continue reading Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

Verizon Is Selling AOL, Yahoo and Its Media Brands to Apollo

Telecom giant Verizon announced today that it is selling AOL, Yahoo and its Verizon Media assets, including its advertising technology business to New York-based private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. LionTree LLC, a global investment firm focused on media and tech, was lead advisor on the deal and will join Apollo as an investor. The new company will keep the Yahoo name and will be led by Guru Gowrappan, the current CEO of Verizon Media Group. Verizon plans to keep a 10 percent stake in the overall business. Continue reading Verizon Is Selling AOL, Yahoo and Its Media Brands to Apollo

Google’s Ad Sales Shatter Records as Brands Shift to Digital

The pandemic-driven stay-at-home year supercharged Alphabet’s digital ad sales in Q1 to $55.31 billion, 34 percent up from a year earlier. Advertising sales via signature products such as Search, Google Maps and Gmail rose 30 percent to $31.88 billion as brands transitioned ad spending from print, TV and in-store promotions to Google services. Profit also more than doubled and per-share earnings were higher than expected. YouTube earned $6 billion, a 49 percent increase from last year, and total profit soared 162 percent from the previous year to almost $18 billion. Continue reading Google’s Ad Sales Shatter Records as Brands Shift to Digital