01/19/22: Cynopsis Media Tech Update

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Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday January 19, 2022

Microsoft announced a deal to acquire Activision Blizzard for a monster $68.7 billion, in what would be the biggest video game deal ever, and Microsoft’s largest-ever acquisition. Microsoft said the deal will accelerate the growth of its gaming business across mobile, PC, console, and cloud, and provide building blocks for the metaverse. “Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella. Activision Blizzard games include smash titles “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush” and “Warcraft,” among others.

AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay today’s rollout of new 5G service near certain airports, after CEOs of airlines and cargo carriers warned that disruptions to airplanes’ instruments from 5G signals on the C-band airwaves could potentially ground “huge swaths” of the U.S fleet. “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies,” the execs wrote in a letter to White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. Verizon and AT&T were scheduled to launch the upgraded 5G networks earlier this month, after previous postponements, but agreed to a two-week delay.

Hot on the heels of the news that Susanne Daniels has resigned as YouTube’s Head of Original Content came word on Tuesday that YouTube is shutting down its original content group. “Today there are over 2M creators in the YouTube Partner Program and our creator community has never been more successful: we’ve paid more than $30B to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years,” said Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl. “However, with rapid growth comes new opportunities and now our investments can make greater impact on even more creators when applied toward other initiatives.” Kyncl said YouTube will honor its commitments for contracted shows in progress and will continue funding for programs that are part of its Black Voices and YouTube Kids funds.

Snap is expanding its efforts to crack down on drug-related activity and promote public awareness about the threat of illegal drugs. In a blog post, the company said it has added two new partners to its Heads Up portal, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and Truth Initiative, and has increased its proactive detection rates by 390% – up 50% since last October, when NBC News reported on young people who died after purchasing fentanyl-laced pills on Snapchat. A new safeguard to friend suggestion feature Quick Add is aimed at protecting 13- to 17-year-olds. “Our position on this has always been clear: we have absolutely zero tolerance for drug dealing on Snapchat,” said the company.

Global shipments of smartphones inched up just 1% year-over-year in 4Q21, after a drop of 6% the quarter prior, reports Canalys. Component supply and the resurgence of Covid hit small manufacturers especially hard, but the industry is adapting. “Component manufacturers are eking out additional production, but it will take years for major foundries to significantly increase chip capacity,” said Canalys Mobility VP Nicole Peng. “Smartphone brands are already innovating to make the most of their circumstances, tweaking device specs in response to available materials, approaching emerging chipmakers to secure new sources for ICs, focusing product lines on the best-selling models and staggering new product releases.”

Samsung Electronics announced its new premium mobile processor, the Exynos 2200. “Built on the most advanced 4-nanometer (nm) EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) process, and combined with cutting-edge mobile, GPU and NPU technology, Samsung has crafted the Exynos 2200 to provide the finest experience for smartphone users,” said Yongin Park, President of System LSI Business at Samsung Electronics. “With the Xclipse, our new mobile GPU built with RDNA 2 graphics technology from the industry leader AMD, the Exynos 2200 will redefine mobile gaming experience, aided by enhanced graphics and AI performance.”

Garmin is upping its game in the smartwatch category. The Fenix 7 now has a touchscreen along with improved solar, and a stamina tool that helps avoid burnout during a workout. The second-gen Epix offers a new color display and six days of always-on battery life, or 16 days with raise-to-wake.

Twitter has received over 3.7 million submitted reports since the introduction of a feature that invites users to report misinformation on the platform, reports the company. The feature rolled out in select markets, including the U.S., in August.

SIMWAVE announced that it has joined the Amazon Web Services Independent Software Vendor Accelerate Program, a co-sell program for AWS Partners who provide software solutions that run on or integrate with AWS. The program helps partners drive new business and accelerate sales cycles by connecting the participating ISVs with the AWS Sales organization.

Four in five consumers ages 16-74 report using voice command to control one or more devices, according to Hub’s new study, “Voice Control: The Future Speaks,” with 62% using voice command “all the time” or “regularly.” But concerns about privacy affect 53% of users, including whether devices are listening when not asked to (39% are very concerned) and concerns about personal data being collected (39%).

Microsoft identified computer networks at Ukrainian government agencies and organizations infected with malware disguised as ransomware. “Our investigation teams have identified the malware on dozens of impacted systems and that number could grow as our investigation continues,” said Microsoft in a blog post. “These systems span multiple government, non-profit and information technology organizations, all based in Ukraine.”

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM PREMION

PREMION
LEADING THE EVOLUTION IN LOCAL OTT & CTV ADVERTISING

3X WINNER: 2021 CYNOPSIS MODEL D AWARDS
Best Audience-Based Buying Platform
Outstanding Brand Safety Strategy
Best Direct to Consumer Campaign

TAG CERTIFIED AGAINST AD FRAUD
125+ Leading TV & Media Brands, Audience Targeting, Closed-Loop Attribution
LEARN MORE AT PREMION.COM

LEGAL NOTES

The Federal Trade Commission “may” have a difficult time proving its antitrust suit against Facebook, said a D.C. District Court judge, but ruled that the suit can proceed to the discovery phase. The court had dismissed the FTC’s suit in June for failing to sufficiently support its claim that Facebook exercised monopoly power, but the agency amended its claim with more detailed supporting facts. Noted Judge James E. Boasberg, “First, the FTC has now alleged enough facts to plausibly establish that Facebook exercises monopoly power in the market for PSN services. Second, it has adequately alleged that the company’s dominant market share is protected by barriers to entry into that market. Third, the agency has also explained that Facebook not only possesses monopoly power, but that it has willfully maintained that power through anticompetitive conduct — specifically, the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.”

Google scored a courtroom victory last week, when a judge denied class-action status to a pay-per-click advertiser, Gurminder Singh, who alleges Google misrepresented the effectiveness of its click-fraud detection system. Singh said that starting in 2016, he noticed “anomalous click patterns” that suggested fraud. While the suit was at first thrown out, on the basis that Singh couldn’t show he had been harmed, in 2020 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals revived Singh’s claims that Google violated California state laws against unfair competition.

DEALS

Video game maker Take-Two Interactive (“Grand Theft Auto”) is acquiring Zynga (“Farmville”) for $12.7 billion. “This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity,” said Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick. “Zynga also has a highly talented and deeply experienced team, and we look forward to welcoming them into the Take-Two family in the coming months.”

Backstage, the freelancer marketplace and application suite for creators, has acquired ShareGrid, the marketplace for equipment rental for content creation. The deal expands Backstage’s suite of content creation tools, following a group of acquisitions in 2021.

Kantar has acquired the IP and the development team from MindIT, the Italy-based AI company. MindIT’s AI engine provides analytics capabilities which, along with Kantar’s existing offer, is aimed at bridging the gap between insights and execution for CPG manufacturers.

Twitter has acquired a minority stake in digital agency Aleph Group. Aleph provides dedicated local sales and support teams, proprietary technology to help advertisers maximize their Twitter investments and a cross-border payment solution. Twitter has used Aleph’s IMS Internet Media Services, Httpool and AdDynamo, to be its exclusive ad partner in 74 countries where it doesn’t have a local presence.

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ADVERTISING

Enhancing its One Platform offering, NBCUniversal has partnered with RTL AdConnect, the international advertising sales house of RTL Group. The brands are giving each other access to their premium TV and digital inventory assets, enabling RTL AdConnect to provide its European clients access to all NBCU-owned & operated TV and digital inventory. NBCUniversal will also represent RTL AdConnect’s premium Total Video European portfolio. “We want NBCUniversal to be the number one choice for marketers globally,” said KC Sullivan, President of Global Advertising and Partnerships, NBCUniversal. “RTL strengthens our advertising offering in Continental Europe as we strive to deepen our presence across the region.”

Discovery, Inc. will become a minority owner of advanced advertising company OpenAP. Discovery joins FOX, NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS in the joint venture. Jon Steinlauf, Chief U.S. Advertising Sales Officer, and Jim Keller, EVP, Digital Ad Sales and Advanced Advertising, will represent the company on OpenAP’s Board of Directors. “Discovery is excited to take an active role shaping the future of advanced audience buying,” said Keller. “Given our current momentum, influence and growth of audience-based sales, we believe Discovery can help further the work OpenAP has been doing to initiate meaningful change in the market.”

Lotame announced findings from a study conducted with MediaMath in Latin America to test the viability of a cookieless third-party data targeting strategy across all browser environments. Comparing the results between a global financial brand’s campaign run with third-party cookies and another via Lotame Panorama ID, the study found that Panorama ID drove 31% more impressions than cookies across all browsers, as well as a 22% uplift in Chrome (where third-party cookies still live), representing the incremental reach the Panorama ID has beyond the cookie space. “This campaign not only highlights the successes of cookieless targeting, but also its ability to outperform the very technology the industry is anxious to lose,” said Sebastian Yoffe, Managing Director, Latin America and US Hispanics at Lotame. “The irony is that the pending loss of third-party cookies ended up being a positive for the industry: we now know that audience targeting in a cookieless world is not only viable but delivers greater efficiencies and reach.”

Channel Factory, the brand suitability and contextual performance platform for YouTube, has partnered with Comscore to create a solution that brings Comscore Predictive Audiences to YouTube inventory. “Channel Factory prioritizes providing a positive and safe environment on YouTube for our clients to advertise in,” said Tony Chen, CEO and founder at Channel Factory. “We know that YouTube is a critical component to our client’s advertising strategy, but can equally be difficult to navigate in the right way. This partnership with Comscore is unique in that it adds an extra layer to our brand safety techniques and assures brands that their content is reaching the right audience in the right environment while helping to reduce wasted media spend.”

Datonics has partnered with Simpli.fi to launch a new CTV data offering within the Simpli.fi platform. Datonics is providing Simpli.fi segment data mapped to a continually updated household IP, aimed at offering advertisers enhanced accuracy and scale, as well as breadth and depth of segments available for CTV targeting on the Simpli.fi platform. “Advertisers are flocking to CTV, but it is still a nascent medium that is becoming more sophisticated,” said Michael Benedek, CEO, Datonics. “Through the enhanced application of data, consumers will have an improved viewing experience and advertisers will see better campaign ROI.”

STREAMING

Vevo dropped an updated versionof its Vevo TV app on Amazon Fire TV, with plans to roll out the revamped app across additional connected TV platforms in the coming months. The latest user interface provides an experience more consistent with the UX viewers are familiar with on live TV. Videos auto-play upon entering the app, and the more viewers visit, the more personalized the auto-play content recommendations become over time.

Nickelodeon has quite a catch with its “Baby Shark” franchise series. The video “Baby Shark Dance” has become the first video ever to hit 10 billion views on YouTube. The video was released in June 2016.

Hemisphere Media Group has struck a multi-year carriage agreement with fuboTV, making all five Hemisphere cable networks – WAPA América, Cinelatino, Pasiones, CentroAméricaTV and Televisión Dominicana, which serve the US Hispanic/Latino market – available in HD to subscribers of fuboTV’s Latino channel plan in the US and Puerto Rico in 1Q22.

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