03/30/17: Facebook with chatty bots


Good morning. It’s Thursday March 30, 2017 and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Activity Audit: In digital advertising, the phrase activity audit refers to independent verification of measured activity for a specified period of time. Some of the metrics measured and validated during an audit include ad impressions, page impressions, clicks, unique users, and total visits.


Snapchat keeps on blurring the line between messaging App and TV platform. Snap Inc. announced that it will work with BuzzFeed to co-produce content for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The content will include NBC coverage via daily “Publisher Stories” and “Our Stories.” Advertisers will be able to buy inventory to run alongside the NBC Olympics stories. And Snap will also sell sponsored filters and selfie lenses. This is the second time that Snap has teamed up with NBC and Buzzfeed for the Olympics; they did the same thing last year. NBC has invested heavily in both BuzzFeed ($400 million) and Snap ($500 million).  
In their ongoing efforts to spearhead international growth, major U.S. tech companies seem to be running up against a couple of tough obstacles: The world’s two most populous countries. As detailed in a report from the Wall Street Journal, Chinese corporations like Tencent, Alibaba and Didi have been pouring investment capital into local Indian tech companies. The moves come as western tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Uber have been ramping up their efforts in India. For example, Didi – an Uber competitor – has invested in local Indian ride-hailing company Ola. And Tencent has invested in Hike Ltd, a messaging app that competes with Facebook’s WhatsApp. And it seems that the Chinese-backed Indian companies have been holding their own in the Indian market. The Chinese companies reportedly decided to wage their battle with the west through local investment after seeing that their own brands weren’t resonating with Indian users. You can check out the article here


And now it goes to the White House. On a razor-thin 215-205 vote, the U.S. House voted to repeal FCC regulations that prohibited broadband providers from using customer data in ad-targeting without opt-in user consent. The Senate passed the same repeal bill last week, and President Trump is now widely expected to sign it. The FCC passed the regulations last October in a party-line vote, with both Republicans opposing. Opponents argued that the FCC’s rules created an uneven playing field with web companies like Google, which aren’t subject to the agency’s regulations.


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Facebook is getting ready to go all in on chat bots, according to an unconfirmed report. TechCrunch reports that the social media giant will soon unveil a new class of group bots that can work inside Messenger group chats. The bots will reportedly inform users about real-time news such as ecommerce deliveries, the progress of sporting events, and more. The reveal will reportedly come at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference, slated to run from April 18-19. Facebook hasn’t confirmed the report.


It’s not just Google that stands to suffer from the revelation that YouTube has inadvertently been running ads on hate-speech videos; it’s also agencies. GroupM, the biggest media-buying firm in the world, is trying to get out in front of the problem. The company announced a new partnership with social- analytics provider OpenSlate. OpenSlate will help GroupM’s clients analyze YouTube content for brand safety and overall quality. GroupM says the new solution will first debut in the U.S. and U.K., with plans to ultimately expand to other countries.
Some more reshuffling at the Digital Content NewFronts, the series of advertiser-oriented events that select digital media companies use to compete with TV networks and the Upfronts. BBC.com, the BBC’s international news site, will host its first-ever NewFront presentation on May 8. The announcement comes after BuzzFeed bowed out of the presentation lineup. (Technically, the BBC is replacing AwesomenessTV, which moved to the first-day spot previously occupied by BuzzFeed.) Other cancellations so far include Fullscreen Media and Yahoo, the latter of which was replaced by Twitter.
Ad-buying platform Centro announced that Centro Platform, its programmatic advertising software product, is now available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering for agencies. The product comes with an integrated demand side-platform, along with automated tools for analytics, collaboration and workflow.


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Samsung’s big new announcement had to do with its new Galaxy S8 smartphone, but the new Gear VR headset was unveiled as well. The mobile-based headset is mostly similar to the previous version, but there’s one big difference: It features a handheld controller for instead of a built-in touchpad. The company also rolled out its new Gear360 camera, which lets users shoot 4K 360-degree video. It can also live-stream 360-degree video on social platforms including Facebook. The camera will ship sometime this spring (no price point announced just yet. The headset will cost $130.


It’s been heading in this direction for a while now. According to comScore’s 2017 US Cross-Platform Future in Focus report, mobile now accounts for 69 percent of all time spent using digital media in the U.S. Desktop is now at less than one third. Mobile apps account for sixty percent of the total. (Smartphone apps, specifically, account for 51%.) ComScore also reports that seventy percent of YouTube viewership now takes place on mobile devices. And for the top 1,000 online media properties, mobile visitors outnumber desktop visitors about two to one. Google, Facebook, and Yahoo remain the top three most widely used online properties.
Tweet of the week: @GailQuiros: #Hearties @hallmarkchannel  Beautiful song, Danny Boy, beautiful voice @erinkrakow
Canvs, the language analytics company that measures emotions around content, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from March 22-28 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Insights from the 2,430,489 tweets expressing a specific Emotional Reaction (ER) include:
– Tops in beautiful ERs: Hallmark’s hit show When Calls the Heart, in which character Elizabeth Thatcher (portrayed by Erin Krakow) moved viewers with her rendition of “Danny Boy.”
– The show that had viewers feeling the most afraid was an episode of Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel that investigated the Stone Lion Inn in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
– The programming that had viewers feeling the most disappointment was the NCAA Basketball Tournament game on CBS where Kentucky lost to North Carolina.
– Excluding sports, the TV show that had viewers feeling the happiest was Empire on Fox; fans rejoiced at its return.


Our Last Trivia Question: Elisabeth Moss, star of the upcoming Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, has a long history in linear TV. That includes a co-starring role in AMC’s Mad Men, as a well as a role in a classic NBC series that ran from 1999 to 2006. Which series was it? Answer: The West Wing. Kudos to Louis Lewow-Lewow Media/GA, Jamie Euster-WME|IMG/NY, Melanie Palmer-Captivate/CA, Barbara Eskin/NY, Susan Levit/NY, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/CA, John Grossman-NBCUniversal/NY, Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY, Paul Schur-Animal Planet/NY, Julie Stowell-Gracenote/NY, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Andy Pellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Anjali Desai-Departure Films/NY, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, Aaron Paquette-Screen Engine/ASI-TX, and Mathew Tombers-Intermat, Inc./NY
Elisabeth Moss isn’t the only West Wing alum to move to the digital space. President Bartlet himself now has a home on Netflix. On which Netflix series is Martin Sheen a co-star? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)


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The New York Times has been beefing up its 360-degree video offerings for a while; the company clearly sees news value in the immersive medium. The Times’ latest 360-degree video follows a wheelchair-bound New Yorker as he tries to navigate the city’s subway system. (It’s not disability-friendly.) Check out the video here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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