HBO Max Ad-Supported Tier Bodes Well for Netflix Ad Plans

As Netflix strategizes its rollout of a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier, industry analysts are citing HBO Max data to predict the plan will be a win for the streaming service. A survey by Insider Intelligence says that 67 percent of HBO Max subscribers are opting for the $14.99 per month ad-free streaming tier, while 28 percent have chosen the $9.99 ad-supported tier. Launched in June 2021, the economy tier offers access to the same movie and series content, but is capped at 1080p and without the convenience of downloading for offline viewing. Continue reading HBO Max Ad-Supported Tier Bodes Well for Netflix Ad Plans

Paramount’s Pluto TV FAST Success a Streaming Case Study

As global streaming leader Netflix retools its business model to accommodate a less expensive, ad-supported subscription tier, the industry is turning its attention to FAST service (free ad-supported streaming television). It’s part of the process of accommodating linear television for the streaming age. Pluto TV, a division of Paramount Global, managed to hit the $1 billion revenue mark last year without any paying subscribers and tallied over 64 million monthly active users as of December 2021. Not too shabby for a service that was not taken very seriously when it launched on April Fool’s Day 2014. Continue reading Paramount’s Pluto TV FAST Success a Streaming Case Study

Video Emerges as Killer Social App, Everyone Chasing TikTok

Meta and Snap both appear to have re-focused their social media strategies on video, leading to speculation they’re chasing TikTok, famously the U.S.’s “most downloaded app of 2021,” which at 94 million handily topped the 64 million of the second most popular, Meta’s Instagram. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts last week that even though Instagram’s Reels is the company’s most rapidly growing format, “we also have a competitor that is compounding at a pretty quick rate, too.” ByteDance’s TikTok, Zuckerberg said, “continues to grow at quite a fast rate off of a very large base.” Continue reading Video Emerges as Killer Social App, Everyone Chasing TikTok

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

CES: Spotify Call-to-Action Cards Make Audio Ads Clickable

Spotify is bringing interactivity to the audio ad experience for podcasts with “Call-to-Action Cards.” As part of Spotify’s streaming ad-insertion platform, the CTA cards will appear in the app as soon as a podcast ad begins playing, resurfacing when a listener is exploring the app, reminding them to check out the product or service and eliminating the need to remember a promo code or URL. Advertisers can customize the CTA cards with images, text and clickable buttons. The feature makes podcast ads visually interactive for the first time, transforming the experience into something listeners can see, “and, most importantly, click.” Continue reading CES: Spotify Call-to-Action Cards Make Audio Ads Clickable

YouTube Tests Shoppable Video, Holiday Live-Stream Events

YouTube announced it plans to expand into e-tailing with the launch of Holiday Stream and Shop, a week-long live-streaming event in which hand-picked social media stars will use the video platform to offer their own merchandise as well as branded goods. YouTube, which is part of Alphabet’s Google, has for years teased the idea of introducing online shopping, but the concept gained momentum when the COVID-19 pandemic triggered explosive growth in e-commerce. Meanwhile, NBCUniversal also plans an interactive live-streamed shopping experience. Continue reading YouTube Tests Shoppable Video, Holiday Live-Stream Events

Strong Q3 Sees Spotify Gain Slim Lead Over Apple Podcasts

Spotify has announced that for the first time its podcast service has overtaken Apple Podcasts in U.S. listenership. Speaking on the company’s Q3 2021 earnings call, the company cited Edison Research and internal tracking to proclaim Spotify the No. 1 podcast platform in the nation, surpassing Apple in monthly listeners. While the company didn’t break-out numbers for its podcast listeners, it said monthly active users for Spotify overall were up 19 percent year-over-year, totaling 381 million for the quarter. Spotify Premium subscriptions also increased 19 percent, to 172 million, up from 165 million in 2020. Continue reading Strong Q3 Sees Spotify Gain Slim Lead Over Apple Podcasts

Amazon Expands Offerings via Ad-Based Streamer IMDb TV

Amazon is reportedly about to rebrand IMDb TV as a full-on ad-supported streaming television vertical. Launched in 1990 as a film and television credits directory, the Internet Movie Database launched IMDb TV in 2019 offering free access to catalog film and TV shows. Last year, it premiered its first original series, the teen spy show “Alex Rider.” Next week, IMDb TV will debut another original series, “Judy Justice,” featuring Judge Judy Sheindlin in a follow-up to her popular syndicated courtroom reality show, “Judge Judy,” which ended in March. And there are more new shows and content deals in the works. Continue reading Amazon Expands Offerings via Ad-Based Streamer IMDb TV

Streaming Surge Makes CTV Video Top Ad Growth Platform

Surveys indicate the continued acceptance of Connected TV with advertisers, programmers and viewers, making it the fastest growing advertising platform. While this has largely been the result of housebound audiences during the pandemic, future growth is projected to be strong. A Leichtman Research Group survey shows more than 80 percent of TV households possessing at least one connected TV device (higher penetration than cable TV), which translates to 4.1 devices per CTV household. Study results also reveal that 39 percent of adults watch streaming video daily, with 60 percent streaming weekly. Continue reading Streaming Surge Makes CTV Video Top Ad Growth Platform

Spotify Campaigns to Reach New Advertisers, Add Podcasts

Spotify has launched its first global business-to-business ad campaign, the goal of which is to boost advertising revenue by attracting more small and medium-sized businesses. To that end, Spotify Advertising is the new name of the sector formerly known as Spotify for Brands. Advertising contributed 12 percent of Q2 revenue for Spotify, up from 7 percent the prior year. The subscription music service is also seeking more podcast inventory as it recasts itself as an “audio” streamer. Research firm eMarketer predicts Spotify will have 28.2 million monthly podcast listeners by year’s end, overtaking Apple’s iTunes, at 28 million. Continue reading Spotify Campaigns to Reach New Advertisers, Add Podcasts

TikTok Introduces New Strategies, Tools to Attract Advertisers

TikTok feted brands and agencies with its premiere TikTok World event. The virtual presentation introduced new features designed to help advertisers become adept at leveraging TikTok’s creators, content and community. Despite its sizzle and viewership, TikTok lags behind other social media companies in terms of ad revenue. TikTok began accepting ads about a year ago and generates roughly $1.3 billion annually in U.S. ad sales. Compare that to the $5.5 billion Statista predicts for YouTube this year, or eMarketer’s $48 billion assessment for Facebook and Instagram, $2.6 billion for LinkedIn and $2.2 billion for Twitter. Continue reading TikTok Introduces New Strategies, Tools to Attract Advertisers

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

Biden Assembles a Tough Antitrust Team to Rein In Big Tech

President Biden, who named Big Tech critic Jonathan Kanter to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division last week, has assembled a strong antitrust team to address concerns about the dominant strength and influence of major tech companies across industries including pharmaceuticals, agriculture, healthcare, commerce and finance. If confirmed by the Senate, Kanter will join the Federal Trade Commission’s chairperson Lina Khan, who is known for her work in antitrust and competition law, and Tim Wu, a long-time advocate of breaking up Big Tech who is now Biden’s special assistant for technology and competition policy. Continue reading Biden Assembles a Tough Antitrust Team to Rein In Big Tech

Viral TikTok Videos Fuel Buying Sprees by Young Consumers

Teenagers are now turning to TikTok influencers not just for fashion advice but to buy clothing worn by their idols. Several items, including a Lululemon skort, a Gap hoodie and Aerie leggings have gone viral, and retailers including Aeropostale and Abercrombie & Fitch are looking for ways to convert popular TikTok videos into sales. Influencers post #fashionhauls and #OOTD (outfit of the day) as well as #preppy and #closettour. One mother reported that, “my kids come to me all the time now showing me TikTok videos, pointing at them, saying, ‘I want to buy this’ or ‘I think this is cute for the fall’.” Continue reading Viral TikTok Videos Fuel Buying Sprees by Young Consumers

Google’s Solution to Replace Cookies Under Review at W3C

By 2022, Google plans to block cookies on its Chrome browser, used by about 70 percent of global desktop computer owners, instead offering a solution that will protect privacy and still target ads. Even as privacy advocates find flaws in Google’s idea, advertising technology companies are joining forces to create tracking tools based on email addresses. Amazon has responded by blocking Chrome from collecting data on which users go to its websites. Politicians from around the world say Google’s move could hurt its rivals. Continue reading Google’s Solution to Replace Cookies Under Review at W3C