02/10/17: Twitter’s Q4 earnings report and 2017 projections send stock falling


Good morning. It’s Friday February 10, 2017 and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Ad controls: The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) defines controls as active elements of an ad that enable a user to control the advertising experience. Examples include the “Close X” button in an expandable ad and the play/pause/mute buttons in a video player.


Twitter added 2 million net monthly active users in Q4 of 2016, a 4% year-over-year increase, the company announced in its latest earnings call. (Facebook, by contrast, grew 17% year-over-year over the same period.) Overall, the call left investors underwhelmed. The company announced $717 million in sales, a quarterly revenue growth rate of only .9% – the smallest in the company’s history. Wall Street analysts had expected $740 million in revenue. And the company’s 2017 projections proved even more alarming for investors. Twitter said that revenue will continue to “lag” relative to its audience growth; the company expects adjusted earnings for Q1 to fall between $75 million and $95 million. In Q1 of 2016, that number was $180.5 million. Twitter’s shares fell by over 10% in pre-market trading.


When it comes to landing accounts, Publicis Groupe has had a darn good week. But it’s not all sunshine and roses at the advertising giant, especially when it comes to its digital agencies. Publicis announced that it’s taking an impairment charge for 2016, amounting to about $1.5 billion. The company says the charge is largely against Publicis.Sapient, the division that runs most of its digital properties. Publicis particularly singled out Razorfish, saying the digital ad agency experienced “negative growth” in the double digits last year.
Programmatic video ad platform SpotX has partnered with mobile app developer Cheetah Mobile. Under the pact, SpotX will provide the programmatic infrastructure for Cheetah’s global video ad monetization efforts. The companies say the partnership will particularly increase the availability of vertical video ad formats across Cheetah’s inventory.

Podcast and video publisher HowStuffWorks has reached a partnership with ad-serving company AdsWizz. Under the deal, AdsWizz will automatically insert audio ads into HowStuffWorks’ podcasts episodes. That’s 6,000 episodes total, or about 3,000 hours of content. “For seven-and-a-half or eight years, when you put an advertisement into [a podcast] you had to hardcode it into the file and it stayed there forever,” HowStuffWorks Chief Content Officer Jason Hoch told Adweek. But under the AdsWizz partnership, ads will be targeted based on location, behavioral and demographic data. And instead of buying on a show-per-show basis, advertisers will now be able to purchase impression-based ads that run across multiple programs.


The best content is so good viewers aren’t just happy to view it – they want to share it. But how do you create the kind of seamless experience that both engages audiences and gives brands meaningful, monetize–able exposure? On 2/28 experts from BEN and Discovery Communications will offer case studies and insights into the kinds of creative, innovative experiences you need to bring to the table to appeal to both your audience and brands.
Sign your team up today!



Video intelligence company Tubular Labs has inked a measurement partnership with The Enthusiast Network (TEN), a digital media network geared toward outdoor sports and automotive content. Under the pact, TEN will use Tubular’s video data and insights to guide its digital content strategy and creation, as well as its sales strategy. “We’re looking forward to using Tubular’s platform to make more informed decisions about our content, help our sales teams tell the TEN digital video story, and provide top-tier campaign reporting,” said TEN Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Anastas in a statement.


Well that’s not good. As first reported by Business Insider, Best Buy is shutting down demo stations for the Oculus Rift VR headset in 200 stores. 500 stores featured them, so that leaves 300 Oculus Rift demo stations still standing. BI’s sources cited lack of interest, saying it was common for them to go days without giving a demonstration. A spokeswoman for the Facebook-owned Oculus confirmed the closings, but said they were due to “seasonal changes.”


Not bad for a niche streamer. Crunchyroll, the anime-oriented entertainment site and SVOD service from AT&T and The Chernin Group’s Otter Media, announced that it has surpassed one million paid subscribers for the first time. It’s also passed the 20 million registered-user benchmark. Since Crunchyroll’s plans start at $6.95 monthly, the numbers would suggest that it’s pulling in at least $83 million in subscriber revenue. All told, Crunchyroll says its paid subscriber base grew by 36% in 2016. Meanwhile, Crunchyroll also announced plans to launch an anime convention filled with speakers and live events. Called the Crunchyroll Expo, it’s slated to run in Santa Clara, California from August 25 to August 27.
Since last year, Dish Network has been beta testing a cloud DVR system for Sling TV, its OTT-based live TV service. Now Sling TV says that the beta trial will “soon” expand to Amazon Fire TV set-top boxes and sticks, Android phones and tablets, Android TV devices, and finally Apple TVs. The trial launched in December on Roku platforms. In a presentation that was live-streamed via Periscope, Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch said he expects the cloud DVR service to reach the rest of Sling’s device ecosystem “within a few months.”


Snapchat is bringing two new additions to Discover, its platform for publisher-controlled channels. Entertainment Weekly and Essence will be the second and third Time Inc. properties to join the platform; People had a Discover channel when the platform first launched in 2015. Time Inc. says the new channels will debut “in the coming weeks.”
Looks like the appeal of a multi-hundred dollar remote wasn’t so universal. Ray Enterprises, the company behind the Ray Super Remote universal remote control, apparently went out of business in December. The story was first reported by Variety. Ray Enterprises initially unveiled its universal remote two years ago. The remote enabled direct access to apps that controlled devices ranging from cable boxes to Roku devices. In other words, it was designed to become the go-to universal remote for the digital generation. The remote shipped in November 2015, priced at $250, and it never really caught on. Ray Enterprises has reportedly laid off its entire workforce, and its products are no longer available online or in stores. Though for some reason, the product’s website is still up.  


Facebook’s just hired Mina Lefevre, MTV’s scripted development chief. Facebook said back in December that it’s been in talks to acquire or fund original shows; Lefevre’s hire makes it clear that the social media giant is taking the initiative very seriously. Lefevre will now serve as head of development for Facebook’s original programming, reporting to Facebook Head of Global Creative Strategy Ricky Van Veen. Meanwhile, Maggie Malina, VH1’s headed of scripted, will reportedly take over for Lefevre at MTV.


Our Last Trivia Question: Who created the Channel 4/Netflix series Black Mirror? Answer: Charlie Brooker. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Lorrie Shilling/CA, Dan Haberer-Creo Entertainment/CA, Suzanne Mitchell-Full Motion Pictures, and Carver Diserens/CA
Follow-up: According to Charlie Brooker, why is the series called ‘Black Mirror?’ (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)






One notable takeaway from Twitter’s disappointing Q4 report: Even Donald Trump’s prominent use of the platform hasn’t helped their overall numbers. The Wall Street Journal discusses that and more in a new video about Twitter’s latest struggles. Check it out here.

See you Monday,
David Teich

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

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