Tech conference Rise, held in Hong Kong, has been postponed due to protests in the area. “Given the uncertainty of the situation by early 2020 and after consulting with experts and advisories, we have decided to postpone RISE until 2021,” said Ireland-based Web Summit, which organizes the event. One of the largest tech conferences in Asia, Rise drew over 16,000 attendees this year.
For GivingTuesday, December 3, Facebook is matching donations to nonprofits and launching new products to make giving easier on its apps. “This GivingTuesday, we’ll match up to $7 million in donations to US nonprofits made through fundraisers and the donate button on Facebook,” announced the company. New fundraising tools include fundraiser stickers in Facebook Stories; charity livestreaming for gaming creators; and an Instagram donate button for business account profiles.
Google announced a rollout of RCS messaging for US users , anticipating a year-end completion. The update to improve texting on Android phones will include features like chat over Wi-Fi, typing indicators, group chat naming, and adding and removing people from group chats. Users can turn on RCS by opening up the Android Messages app and enable chat features.
Smart speaker maker Sonos inked a deal with Spotify to stream Spotify’s free tier to its users. Once enabled, Sonos owners can access Spotify’s entire catalog, and can shuffle among songs and access personalized playlists.
Google News Initiative is teaming with news provider Lee Enterprises and its digital technology subsidiary TownNews for a machine learning-based paywall. “Google ML, coupled with TownNews’ technology platform, is ideally suited to turn data we’re already gathering into action,” said Lee VP of Digital, James Green. “We know that users engage with local news in a variety of ways across our sites. Some visit daily, while others visit much less frequently. By applying artificial intelligence to information such as frequency of use, the type of content viewed, and the location of the user, we can better serve our readers and reach our audience goals.”
Viewbix Inc., provider of video analytics and engagement platforms used by brands, agencies and networks, has been granted a US Patent relating to techniques enabling businesses to configure their video players to incorporate interactivity functions, such as call-to-actions, into their video publishing and delivery workflows. “By obtaining the patent, we want to elevate the usage of call-to-action solutions within video players,” said Hillel Scheinfeld, COO and Co-founder. “As more consumers are watching videos across various platforms, we gain a unique data set to truly understand audience engagement as well as offer a transformative experience where the viewer can proceed on their consumer journey without ever leaving the channel.”
Data, measurement and analytics company EDO Inc. announced a new partnership with Toyota to improve TV advertising campaign performance. The partnership will allow EDO, Toyota, and Toyota’s advertising agencies to better understand customer behavioral response to creative messaging and media targeting and provide real-time insights, as well as competitive intelligence. “Toyota has a long history of marketing innovation and automotive is an anchor category for TV advertising and for EDO,” said Kevin Krim, President and CEO of EDO. “EDO has shown that Search Engagement can be one of the strongest indicators of consumer purchase intent, and Toyota has seen firsthand the value of advanced TV analytics that can optimize advertising campaigns to more effectively drive consumer engagement.”
Advocacy group FreeWheel Council for Premium issued a call for industry-wide adoption of a universal ad ID , saying that increased fragmentation of TV and video viewing has resulted in an urgent need for universal creative standards. “Establishing a universal standard through Ad-ID is one of the most effective improvements that can be done to drive scale in a converged world of premium video,” said James Rothwell, VP, Global Agency, Brand and Industry Relations at FreeWheel. “This single step can have hugely positive implications on downstream processes and the performance of cross-screen campaigns and the FWC urges the industry to embrace this standard as soon as possible.” In addition to Comcast, FWC represents A+E Networks, Discovery, Fox, NBCUniversal, Turner and Univision.
As the holiday shopping season begins, Google is expanding ways it’s helping local stores connect with customers. Among new efforts: Expanding Local Campaigns with new ways for smaller businesses to showcase their locations across Google Maps, the ability for shoppers to explore a curated selection of products a store carries in a visual, catalog-like experience called a local product feed and advancing store pickup visibility.
According to Xandr’s new Relevance Report, while consumer ad fatigue is at an all-time high , consumers prefer to access content for free in an ad-supported environment…but only if the ads they’re seeing are relevant and don’t interrupt the content their viewing experience.
Key findings include:
- 7 out 10 consumers acknowledge content is a part of their everyday routine
- 54% of consumers said they are more likely to watch a television ad versus 40% who will watch a video ad
- 3 in 4 consumers feeling that advertising has become more frequent lately
- Heavy content consumers – who engage with 15 or more hours of content per week – have a more negative view of advertising at 20 percent, compared to 17 percent from overall respondents
Short-form video app Tik Tok rolled out two features that allow some users to add links to e-commerce sites to their profile biography, and send viewers to shopping web sites. “ We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve the app experience for our users,” said a rep for ByteDance, the startup that owns Tik Tok. “Ultimately, we’re focused on ways to inspire creativity, bring joy, and add value for our community.”
Instagram is expanding a test that will make like counts private globally. The photo sharing service began hiding like counts for a subset of its users in Canada this spring, and followed it up in countries, including Brazil, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Last week, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that like counts would be hidden from some users in the U.S.
Facebook removed a record seven million hate speech posts in 3Q19 , almost 60% more than the quarter prior. The social media giant also censored 3.2 million posts for bullying and harassment, versus 2.5 million in 2Q19.
Pluto TV says it now has approximately 20 million monthly active users. According to Viacom CFO Wade Davis, the ad-supported streaming video service, which was acquired by Viacom earlier this year, had 3,500 brands advertise on it during September, marking its highest-ever revenue month. Davis also said the total viewing minutes on Pluto TV tripled year-over-year during the month.
In addition, Pluto TV and CBS Interactive announced three additional channels have launched on the free streaming service. Pluto TV viewers now have access to ET Live and live local news streams from CBSN New York and CBSN Los Angeles. The additions join existing CBS Interactive properties and longstanding Pluto TV media partners CBSN and CNET.
Traditional pay TV providers lost close to 2 million subscribers combined in the third quarter , thanks in large part to a major video subscriber drop off at AT&T. According to Kagan, an TMT research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, traditional pay TV providers, including cable, telco and satellite operators, lost approximately 1.9 million video subscribers in the third quarter. That’s 25% higher that the previous largest drop in the second quarter of 2019.
Netflix and Nickelodeon have formed a new, multi-year output deal to produce original animated feature films and television series based both on the Nickelodeon library of characters as well as all-new programming. “Nickelodeon’s next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal,” said Brian Robbins, President, Nickelodeon.
Sling TV has launched on Facebook’s Portal TV , the connected TV device with a camera for video calling and AR apps. Portal TV began shipping on November 5 for $149.
Cord cutters’ average broadband usage has risen to more than half a terabyte of data per month , according to the Q3 2019 OVBI (OpenVault Broadband Industry) report. Among the findings:
- Average consumption by cord-cutter subscribers was 520.8 GB, an increase of 7% in Q3 alone and almost double the monthly weighted (UBB plus FRB) average subscriber usage of 275.1 GB
- The percentage of cord cutters who are “power users” consuming 1 TB or more of data per month is 12%, almost triple the 4.2% Q3 figure for weighted average subscribers
- The total number of power users increased 62% year over year, driven largely by FRB subscribers
Apple announced that customers in the US can enroll in three l health studies : the Apple Women’s Health Study, the Apple Heart and Movement Study, and the Apple Hearing Study. Conducted in partnership with leading academic and research institutions, the multi-year longitudinal studies are available in the new Research App, which can be downloaded from the App Store. Participants can contribute to potential medical discoveries with iPhone and Apple Watch. The move “marks an important moment as we embark on research initiatives that may offer incredible learnings in areas long sought after by the medical community,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “Participants on the Research app have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact that could lead to new discoveries and help millions lead healthier lives.”
Apple could soon be following the rebundling trend. According to Bloomberg, the tech giant could begin offering Apple Music, News+ and Apple TV+ as a bundle as soon as 2020. Apple has already experimented with giving away from Apple TV+ access to students who subscribe to Apple Music.
Apple announced a replacement for its butterfly keyboard . The company’s new MacBook Pro will have its first keyboard redesign in four years, following customer complaints over broken keys, along with better battery life, a new Intel Core processor, updated cooling system and improved speakers. Price for the 16-inch retina display model starts and $2399.
In more Apple news, Apple Music is adding Apple Music Replay , allowing subscribers to review their favorite music from 2019. In addition to playlists of their top songs, listeners can access playlists for every year they’ve subscribed to Apple Music. The Apple Music Replay can also be shared.
Apple plans to release an AR headset in 2022 , and a sleeker pair of AR glasses by 2023, reports The Information. The timelines were discussed in an internal presentation to employees in October.