Ben Young
Ben Young
December 15, 2023

Edition #428

Gartner predicts brands will adopt an anti-AI stance, Reelshort, Hivestack acquired & X to pick up Amazon ad demand.

AdtechGod tweeted, “It’s supposed to slow down not speed up in December!!!!!” which has certainly been the feeling, I don’t recall a December that’s been this busy in a while. It’s good, I enjoy that end of year rush, to get everything done, before decompressing ahead of the new year. 

In New Zealand, it’s quite different, as it’s also summer, and the new year leads into summer holidays. So many are off for several weeks. Certainly most senior decision makers aren’t back till mid or even late Jan. In New York, it’s ‘generally open’ then quieter between Christmas and New Years. Then fully back into it. It’s more like a pause. 

One of the things I’ve been conscious of this year, is where I put my media time, which has led to not watching any tv / movies through the week. Which has led to only catching up in the weekends. This has driven my wife a bit nuts. A benefit (depending on how you look at it) we have this queue of just amazing movies & shows to watch. Other habits have included installing, which works across devices to block or restrict sites. This is kind of a course correction behavior. But also good for focus times. 

Gartner has made some bold predictions this week, and suggests more behaviors like this may be on the rise and spurred by AI. As we have approached the slowing end of the ‘rapid expansion of digital time’ in our daily lives, the incremental gains probably are more in this AR world, spurred by AI and voice, and overlays. 

They predict, 20% of brands will have a ‘anti-AI’ type positioning, social media decay in quality will lead to 50% of consumers significantly decreasing their time there in 2025. And that AI will reduce organic search referrals by 50%. 

Which leads me to a piece, sent by a friend, about Reelshort. With a focus on engaging Gen Z audiences with shorter content, vertical, the plots tend to move quickly, end in cliffhangers. It really is a microcosm or distillation of longer viewing. They shoot these ‘series’ in a week for a budget of $200k. 

Not that this is the big new thing but it is an interesting trend, a fan of this said ““Nothing in traditional media is cheesy anymore. Everyone takes themselves too seriously,”. 

It’s like the anti-streaming, big glitz, high quality, perfect story arc rebellion. 

Now, for me, with my ‘shrunk’ media habit this year, it kind of is appealing. I battled through Stranger Things, wary that each episode was like 1 hour 10, and it felt like too many episodes. Once it was done, I was like yeah ok that was all good, but it took a few episodes to really get things established. 

Maybe this is just a future AI problem?

Notable stories this week

  • Axel Springer, OpenAI strike “real-time news” deal for ChatGPT.
  • Forget Quibi. Chinese streamers are hooking Americans with werewolf love triangles.
  • Why Likewise is focusing on direct deals instead of programmatic.
  • How AMC’s content room integrated 15 sponsors into ‘The Best Christmas Ever’.
  • MailOnline will begin paywalling portions of its content.
  • Reading print magazines its an elite pursuit.
  • Netflix announces their next live sports event, The Netflix Slam.
  • The 16 hottest adtech companies of 2023.
  • Content modelling and structured content.
  • Why Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox is a failure of vision.
  • Google is bringing more emphasis to video in the index.
  • NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo is quietly launching a media company with plans to make brand content.
  • Agencies struggle to train and retain junior-level employees.
  • X 2023 ad sales projected to slump to about $2.5b this year.
  • X is in preliminary talks with Amazon, to add the platform to Amazon’s DSP.
  • Should TV embrace performance? Advertising experts clash.
  • Jezebel tries a programmatic reprieve? Streamers mourn subscriber churn.
  • GA4 features to prepare for third-arty cookie depreciation.
  • DoubleVerify expands brand safety & suitability measurement to YouTube shorts.
  • Why the ad industry still isn’t ready for Google to remove third-party cookies in Chrome.
  • [Holiday fun] The great scroll back of Alexandria (a year in tweets).
  • [End of year] Nieman Labs, Predictions for Journalism, 2024.


Campaign of the week

  • Apple partnered with WeTransfer, on their upload page. Smart audience, great partnership, elevates either side (the platform & the person uploading). Timing is also perfect, end of year, maybe you’re thinking about getting a new Mac.

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “Zines have also made a return. A DIY, community-minded phenomenon that I came to love during my days in the punk and hardcore scene, these cheap, typically photocopied publications have been reborn as, well, marketing materials. Bottega Veneta has produced several, A24 does a broadsheet, and Nike tapped Homme Girls for a limited edition print piece. But like the original indie zines, they are physical objects that you keep and revisit and cannot be replicated digitally.”Chris Black.

Datapoints of note

  • 30% of consumers believe that paid content is higher quality than free content, while 10% say free content is higher quality.
  • 25% of consumers have more trust in publications that require a subscription, while 13% trust publications that are free to access more.
  • X to earn about $3.4b in 2023.
  • Ads that get more engagement and clicks do not sell or persuade more than ads that don’t.
  • Netflix posts viewer data on every show, film for the first time.
  • Gartner predicts 50% of consumers will significantly limit their interactions with social media by 2025. And that organic search will drop by 50% by 2028.
  • The ANA report also found the average campaign runs on 44,000 websites but advertisers can reach 95% of audiences using just a few hundred websites.

That’s it for this week.