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Fix/Friday — Aug 7

Mass Market & Mainstream

Good new Ofcom study. Lots of great data. But the key thing is everyone is online, doing everything online. Well, everyone who is economically interesting. And this chart on social apps demonstrates how connected everything is - but remember it’s adult only so misses a huge amount of usage.

TikTok

When we first suggested TikTok would run into trouble - back in April 2019 - we never imagined it would become as messy as this. There is so much going on and at such a pace.

We know that Microsoft are interested in buying - but unclear whether that's a geographic deal. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are rumoured to be part of the deal. What happens if Bytedance keep some territories and Microsoft own the others?

Speculation over the location of the global HQ continues - London is effectively the HQ now and the Sun claim that will be made official. Price is vague too - this tweet points out that the rumoured deal makes Snap look a bargain.

This is the best background on the dispute with a great interview with the founder Zhang Yiming

This is a great breakdown of the laws being used to execute this ban

As the arguments rage, what are TikTokers doing? The WSJ has them dancing. The NYT has both creators and fans as Big Mad. And some of the creators are being lured away to rival apps - these are off to Triller - as investors and execs.

Rival apps? Oh yes. As well as Reels from Instagram we have Triller and byte ( from the founder of Vine) topping the app download charts. And a former Vine creator has rushed released Clash. Triller are involved in the comeback of Mike Tyson in a pay per view fight

Having caused the furore in the first place, the Chump now wants a kickback. And Apple were rumoured to be a potential buyer but they deny this.

We continue to be fascinated by TikTok and think it will end up being one of the key platforms, so it remains very relevant for brands. The video of our recent webinar on this topic is now on YouTube.

Adtech

Ari from Beeswax has updated his simplified map of the Google ad stack following the congressional hearings.This thread details the changes.

Can Killing Cookies Save Journalism? - a Dutch publisher ditched targeted ads and made more money.

An interesting piece on the plan for Criteo to mitigate the effects of the IDFA changes features some smart commentary from Arete. They shared their thinking on the IDFA issue in our Guild group. Read it and join the discussion in our Guild community

Machine Learning

The impact of GPT3 continues - good background here - and someone has looked at how it can generate ecommerce pages. Google have a warning for marketers to avoid ML bias - sound advice.

Merchants

Our midweek deep dive into retail on Wednesday covered Fast Fashion, Time to Pay, Shopify, Black Friday, Amazon and more. If you missed it, catch up here.

I think there is a big opportunity for publishers to work with DTC brands - using 1st party data and context to give these new brands an alternative to Facebook ads. This new Buzzfeed strategy shows some of the potential

newTV

Disney+ now has 60m subscribers - a target they had set for 2024 - and cited the great reaction they have had to their originals like Hamilton. I still think content is (sort of King) and this is a good review of the Queen B Black is King movie now streaming on Disney+. It is very good.

The Comcast results were a mixed bag. Their Parks business took a hit as expected but the media firms fared better. Peacock hit 10 million subscribers. US ad revenues were down 27% but Sky saw a 43% drop.

ITV also saw a 43% decline and their share price has halved this year - reviving the perpetual takeover rumours.

The proliferation of new tv firms is causing headaches. It’s hard from a buying point of view and it's hard for the people producing and distributing the ads.

Another acronym - FASTs, the free ad-supported streaming TV services. Not sure we need the name but I agree with this positive outlook versus cable

More on the AMC Universal deal to shrink the cinema window to 17 days (from 70) and its ramifications.

GAFA

Last Thursday evening the opportunity to stay on the beach and enjoy a Porthmeor sunset took precedence over reading the Q2 results from the big tech firms. Sorry. They have been well covered elsewhere, so I will just pick the bones a little.

But there is one big element I think we under miss slightly. These huge businesses that dominate the business world, and how many (most) people now live their lives, are advertising businesses.

Whilst the lustre of the agency world has dimmed, the business of advertising has never been more important. As Benedict Evans says, no one in Silicon Valley talks about ads - unless they are on the ad team. But it keeps the lights on. And drives much of the value of digital businesses.

Google flatlined - with a small decline in revenue - and then borrowed $10bn. Their sales are still almost twice that of Facebook

Apple shrugged off concerns over closed stores and appear to have sold more devices than ever before - a WFH factor? Services revenue is now 22% of the total.

Facebook had a stellar performance driven by US advertising - and still has huge potential for growth given that ARPU in the US is over 3 times that of Europe. So the boycott doesn't seem to have had much impact. This NYT piece has good analysis and many of the big advertisers who took the PR benefit were pulling TV spend as well, in reaction to Covid.

Zuck pushed back against critics saying;

Always worth flicking through the Investor deck charts

And Amazon has exceptional figures including their ‘others’ (which is largely advertising) growing 41% to $4.2bn.

The results - and the consequent spike in share prices - lead the FT to term them the Fearsome Foursome. A VC from Lightspeed has shared their thoughts on Q2 earnings – arguing that the companies with strong moats are getting stronger.

But the regulators are coming for them. The US hearings feel like the start of something -although the election will shape what happens. The NYT points out that the Europeans retain their appetite for GAFA and the newly announced investigation into the Google Fitbit deal proves this

Plus

Interesting new app focused on commerce and community

A research study from Snap looks at how the young gravitate to Mobile First video content - short form and vertical. Full report here

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