Meta and Alphabet on the Frontlines of Big Tech News Battle

Big Tech’s battle with news publishers has moved to the U.S. where Congress is considering legislation to help publishers collectively negotiate compensation from social media sites disseminating their copyrighted content. Meta Platforms reacted strongly to the bill, called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. “If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions,” the company tweeted. Continue reading Meta and Alphabet on the Frontlines of Big Tech News Battle

LinkedIn Adds B2B Tools to Enhance Brand Safety, Exposure

LinkedIn is amping up its B2B marketing features designed to give brands an edge in a recessionary climate. In an effort to drive ad spending in the midst of economic uncertainty, the company has introduced a suite of tools — unveiled at the company’s B2Believe marketing summit — that aim to provide granular control over media investments on the Microsoft-owned platform. The new capabilities include ancillary measurement tools and fresh ad formats as well as a Brand Safety hub, allowing advertisers to boost performance on the LinkedIn Audience Network while setting brand safety guardrails. Continue reading LinkedIn Adds B2B Tools to Enhance Brand Safety, Exposure

YouTube Tests Creator Music, Adds Shorts Partner Program

YouTube is beta testing Creator Music, a large catalog of songs creators can browse and purchase for use with their original longform content. YouTube announced the service at its Made on YouTube live event the same week its chief business officer Robert Kyncl was revealed as the incoming CEO of Warner Music Group, effective January 2023. “Creator Music is a new destination in YouTube Studio that gives YouTube creators easy access to an ever-growing catalog of music for use in their long-form videos,” YouTube said, explaining the service offers “affordable, high-quality music licenses.” YouTube also announced that Shorts creators can soon share ad revenue through the platform’s Partner Program. Continue reading YouTube Tests Creator Music, Adds Shorts Partner Program

Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Spotify is expanding beyond music and podcasts by adding audiobooks. The company is starting out with just over 300,000 titles, available for purchase in the U.S. “This is just the beginning,” says Spotify, promising a geographic expansion. In June, the audio streamer completed its purchase of global audiobooks distributor Findaway, announced last year. The acquisition was designed to make it a major player on entry, competing with Amazon’s Audible, the nation’s biggest audiobook service. Unlike Audible, Spotify is individually pricing audiobook titles and offering them à la carte, not by subscription. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Australia’s Highest Court Rules Google Links Not Defamatory

In a major reversal, Australia’s highest court found Google not liable for defamatory content linked through search results, ruling that the Alphabet subsidiary “was not a publisher” of the objectionable content. Google was sued for defamation for a 2004 article appearing in its search engine results, and both the trial court and a circuit court of appeals held Google responsible as a “publisher” because it was instrumental in circulating the contents of the offending article. The lower courts rejected Google’s reliance on the statutory and common law defenses of innocent dissemination and qualified privilege. Continue reading Australia’s Highest Court Rules Google Links Not Defamatory

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. Continue reading How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

Google Delays Alternative to Cookies for Its Chrome Browser

Google is delaying plans to phase out third-party ad tracking cookies on its Chrome browser until late 2024. The move will have broad ramifications as to how ads are targeted on websites. The Alphabet unit has been working under its Privacy Sandbox initiative since 2019 to find less intrusive alternatives to cookie-tracking technology. Google has been working with developers, publishers, marketers, regulators and advertisers to test its cookie alternative, and says feedback indicates more time is needed to test and evaluate the Privacy Sandbox before it’s phased-in to Chrome worldwide. Continue reading Google Delays Alternative to Cookies for Its Chrome Browser

Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

Google News is trying to keep peace with publishers while adding functionality to its feed with a revamped desktop that lets users customize up to three topics on the home screen. For example, Local News, World News and Top Picks can be set to display across three-columns. Meanwhile, the global payment battle between content providers and Alphabet’s aggregator has achieved closure in France, where the competition authority said a settlement has been reached after a two-year legal battle and a $525 million fine. Terms include a pledge from Google to give news providers estimates of indirect revenue generated from news content that appears in its search results. Continue reading Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

TikTok ‘Pulse’ Pairs Advertising with Top-Performing Videos

Social video platform TikTok has unveiled a new advertising solution that allows brands to place their messages next to the top content in TikTok’s For You feed. The contextual ad solution, TikTok Pulse, is the first to allow TikTok creators a chance to share ad revenue. The program initially makes publishers, public figures and creators with 100,000 or more followers whose videos are in the top 4 percent eligible for a 50/50 ad revenue split. Pulse launches in the U.S. in June, with plans to roll out to additional markets in the fall. Continue reading TikTok ‘Pulse’ Pairs Advertising with Top-Performing Videos

40 Blue-Chip Media Partners Join Snapchat to Stream News

Snapchat’s new feature, Dynamic Stories, uses RSS feeds from 40 media partners to automatically generate Stories that will appear in its Discover section. Early partners include Axios, Bloomberg, CNN, Condé Nast, ESPN, The Wall Street Journal and Vice. Publishers are already seeing results, Snapchat reports, with The Washington Post reaching more than 1.1 million Snapchatters with coverage of the war in Ukraine. Using RSS automation, Snap is lowering the barrier to entry for legitimate news publishers by eliminating the need for manual updates. After their initial appearance the Stories will update in real time. Continue reading 40 Blue-Chip Media Partners Join Snapchat to Stream News

Google Testing New Data Protections with Privacy Sandbox

Google is advancing to the next stage of trials for its Privacy Sandbox — a  proposal centered on advertising relevance and measurement. The new Sandbox ad targeting tech stack is under consideration as a replacement for the tracking-based cookie approach that has been the norm in Chrome. Described as a revenue-friendly user privacy enhancement, the new stack is being discussed as potentially going into effect in the second half of 2023. Starting last week, developers could begin global testing of the Topics, FLEDGE, and Attribution Reporting APIs in the Canary version of Chrome. Continue reading Google Testing New Data Protections with Privacy Sandbox

Apple Makes Changes for App Developers, News Publishers

Facing increased regulatory scrutiny, Apple announced significant changes to its App Store, enabling developers to inform customers about ways to pay outside the App Store and expanding prices they can offer for subscriptions as well as in-app purchases and paid apps. The company settled a class-action lawsuit with software developers and is expecting a judgment in a suit filed by Epic Games over many of the same issues. Apple’s move is the biggest it’s ever made in response to developers alleging anticompetitive behavior. The company separately announced plans to cut its commission rate for publishers on Apple News. Continue reading Apple Makes Changes for App Developers, News Publishers

EU’s Vestager Calls for Aligned Global Regulation of Big Tech

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, is calling for greater global alignment on tech regulation, noting “we do not have a global competition enforcer, but we have global companies.” Vestager added she was “really encouraged” by the Biden administration’s efforts to take similar actions in the U.S. with the 72 actions listed in his recent executive order that focused on Big Tech’s collection of data, surveillance practices and acquisitions of startups. Continue reading EU’s Vestager Calls for Aligned Global Regulation of Big Tech

YouTube Bans Alcohol, Gambling, Politics from Masthead Ads

Google’s YouTube announced that its masthead — which appears at the top of its app and website — will no longer run ads related to alcohol, gambling, “prescription drug terms” or politics. Gambling includes sports betting and casino games, and politics references ads that endorse political candidates. According to Google, the move is aimed to “lead to a better experience for users.” The masthead is a very visible rectangle across the top of YouTube’s homepage and is usually the platform’s most expensive and desirable ad unit. Continue reading YouTube Bans Alcohol, Gambling, Politics from Masthead Ads

Google Changes Ad System to Settle with French Regulators

Google and the French Competition Authority reached an agreement whereby the American tech giant will pay a $268 million (220 € million) fine and change some “unfair” online advertising practices. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire noted the country’s success in “apply[ing] our competition rules to the digital giants who operate in our country.” Google will also stop giving its services preferential treatment and make its advertising system easier to work with other services. Google parent company Alphabet made $41 billion last year. Continue reading Google Changes Ad System to Settle with French Regulators