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Fix / Friday - June 19


The Snap Partner Summit was good - great virtual format and lots of interesting news. This quick video summary gives you a flavour of the event. And this interview with Evan Spiegel gets into the details of new products as well as his views on Trump.

I spoke at a Snap event this well and was asked what I thought the most interesting developments from the Summit were. Whilst I am hugely excited about what they are doing with AR it was the news about Minis that really impressed me. This approach has been transformational for WeChat (owned by Tencent, who have a 12% stake in Snap). Echoing my point about the audience ‘encouraging’ talent to put shows on Discover I think many businesses will see the potential audience on Snap as a big opportunity and develop Minis. Atom is a great example. Why wouldn’t Trainline or Zalando or Deliveroo rush to have one?

This long blog post is bullish on Snap looking at them through the lens of the Gartner Hype Cycle - and arguing that Spiegel is up there with Bezos and Musk.


This Twitter Thread summarises the Snap AR news and again is very bullish.

As more evidence of the activity within AR this Apple patent for smart glasses allows video recording. But it’s a tough space and Bose are giving up. It’s not a huge surprise as their audio only thinking felt like an interim step.


It’s odd that Bose walked away from their audio AR just when Twitter embrace it. Their new product feature lets you record up to 140 seconds of audio and share it as a tweet. There is something interesting about short form audio and Snap and Instagram have offered it for a while. With Clubhouse still getting rave reviews, we may see some interesting use cases. But part of me still thinks of this like voicemail - and my heart sinks when someone leaves one rather than texting their message.

Spotify continues their quest for exclusive content with a deal for a Kim Kardashian podcast. Another big deal in audio was the acquisition of Barstool for $450m by casino group Penn. Their 20+ podcasts have big audiences and this is a good profile of the firm and its' founder.


As the lockdown continues we are starting to get a sense of how people are using their new (and old) streaming services. With Disney the Mandalorian is proving to be their biggest show - representing 7% of total viewing - with an average audience of 2.3m adults.

In a good interview with ISBA, Martin Sorrell points to Disney+ as probably the most successful product launch that we've seen, ever, 50 million plus subscribers.

Whilst we bracket these streaming services as newTV, they are good DTC case studies too.

Quibi isn't seen as a great launch by anyone. In a WSJ piece they go through the companies troubles and there seem to be a few - with downloads flatlining. Whilst the easing of lockdown may drive more usage occasions, they need a hit.

I keep talking about their main rival in vertical video being Snap but they started with an older audience in mind. Either way they could have done with getting something like the new Will Smith show that Snap launched in April. In this interview with the Snap head of content we learn the show has been watched by 35m people.

Having the shows is one thing but getting the audience is the challenge and platforms like Snap have the advantage of being able to drive their DAUs towards new content. So does the talent feel more confident they will get seen?

AMC is joining the Comcast-Cox-Charter run On Addressability initiative we mentioned the other week, which means they can sell addressable ads via Canoe. This is part of the pushback against Amazon and Roku from the TV industry. As HBO is learning, these two play hardball and Comcast could prosper as an alternative.

The Disney consolidation of its various adtech divisions feels like part of the same move - although we think that Disney has allowed some of its inventory to be sold by Amazon.

A reduction in gatekeepers may make it easier for new ad formats to get traction - the industry still doesn’t like making bespoke ads for specific opportunities despite the mounting evidence that the media benefits more than pay for the extra work. This discussion of new formats is promising.


With huge cash reserves could GAFA go on a spending spree? This piece looks at possible targets for each. It misses Roku which I think could end up as the Facebook way into newTV.

More Apple speculation - Bloomberg think they will let people buy products by paying monthly - boosting device sales and the Apple Card. But could this be reimagined as the much vaunted Apple Prime? - paying a monthly fee for devices and software / services. Digging in the latest beta iOS code people have found some clues about a bundle. I keep using that Forrester quote about aiming for higher-frequency, emotion-rich relationships - that’s exactly what Apple would get from a bundle approach.


So much to learn from watching how smart brands are adapting to the Crisis. L’Oreal are usually in the vanguard and their actions over the lockdown have been impressive. Adspend is now 70% digital and their AR tool is embedded on the Amazon and Boots site. And ecommerce is now 20% of their business.

Starbucks are amazing at using Tech and their new Pickup service is a great service enhancement that reflects changing customer behaviours.

Instagram keep tweaking their product to help commerce - this Victoria Beckham ad shows you can tag products in the copy. 

This is a good summary of what is happening with Live commerce. Going to be so big.


There is an interesting flurry of activity around context. John Battelle has a start up focused on this and a partnership with Twitter. The AdAge story is here and this long blog post explains the background. This Twitter thread looks at using Interests for targeting and reminds us of this interesting initiative from last year.

The obsession with cheap audience reach hasn't worked for anyone and i think context has much to commend it. Things like Zeus targeting from the Washington Post hint at what’s possible.

Privacy campaigner Johny Ryan - now at Brave - shared this keynote he did at a P&G event.

And this long round up of reaction to the Isba 15% is a good read - with this good quote.

Well it’s certainly a mess but again, no one seems to have an answer - or even a plan - on how to sort it. Or at least find that elusive 15%. I think the open web and Display face an uncertain future without big changes. Post the economic shock of Covid, how many C level execs are going to allow these vast sums to be frittered away?

Join the discussion in our Guild group - we now have over 100 super smart people from across the industry as members. The excellent Arete report on the Google Battle Royale with regulators is available there too (as the link last week didn’t work for some)


Finally.. In a talk on Black Lives Matter this week I remarked that mobile has had a profound effect on this struggle - from capturing the crimes on video to sharing them in our feeds. This is a good piece on How livestreaming altered the protests in Louisville

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