Ben Young
Ben Young
May 15, 2020

One big thing
Even PlayStation is going direct to consumer with the launch of Playstation studios, ahead of the PS5 launch.

“Sony has developed a new umbrella brand to unite its first-party PlayStation titles.

The PlayStation Studios brand will go live in PlayStation 4 and 5 games later this year, and will only be featured on games developed and managed by Sony Interactive Entertainment's Worldwide Studios organization.”

It’s not that they will now produce games where they haven’t before it’s that they see a need to unite the titles under a consistent mark.

This prepares them for a world where Playstation games won’t be played on a Playstation. Which does happen now. But in a game streaming world, you will get a Playstation experience but not on a Playstation device.

Why is this important? All brands are going DTC, it’s inevitable. You can not have a direct sales relationship. If not at least to get a direct view of the customer as a dipstick for all of your customer base. We even saw Frito Lay launch – to buy snacks direct.

Frito have owned that domain for 20 years! 20 years and NOW they finally do it. The implication for content? The market is expanding.

Notable stories this week

  • Big advertisers from GM to PepsiCo are set to walk back on quarterly spending commitments with the broadcast and cable networks.
  • How BidStack is placing Coronavirus messaging into video games.
  • Brands take advantage of ‘Black Friday Ad Pricing’ on social.
  • Is the Last Dance branded content or journalism? The Guardian digs into it.
  • Publishers are weary of taking retailers money. “An ad sales leader at one major publisher said its team is examining the bond ratings of retailers to determine whether to take on the risk that ad campaigns will end up not getting paid. If a retailer doesn’t meet internal requirements, the sales team can’t do a deal, that source said.” Bond ratings?!
  • With live sports on hold, Adidas turns to video games.
  • How the pandemic will change agencies. From the leaders running them.
  • Facebook is opening up premium video inventory to help TV advertisers.
  • I’m saying no less – how freelancers are navigating the turbulence.
  • Thank you ads fail to resonate with women.
  • [Long read] This piece contrasts how influencers are reflecting society and providing an outlet through their comms.
  • [Watch] Unusual times lead to fascinating content, viewership and marketing trends.


  • Luminary raises another $30m at a price lower than last years $200m valuation.

Campaign of the week

Every episode of The Office recreated in Slack.

Smartest commentary

  • “Like it or not, Google and Facebook are becoming the leading patrons of the news industry” […] “Today, in the middle of a shared economic downturn, Facebook and Google are playing a larger role in the future of news publishers. Over the next few months, Google and Facebook will, combined, spend close to a quarter billion dollars supporting local news, through a combination of emergency relief grants, extra marketing dollars earmarked for ads on publishers’ sites, and the waiving of fees Google normally collects from its ad server. Google said it expects its relief funds will reach at least 4,000 different publishers. Facebook has already dispersed $16 million across 200 different newsrooms.”Max Willens, Digiday

Datapoints of note
See all our Covid-19 data here.

  • 58 percent of UK-based connected consumers in the UK stated they are concerned that more tailored content might compromise their privacy and only 43 percent say they prefer to see ads that are relevant to their interests and needs.
  • 70 percent of UK consumers ‘don’t trust’ a lot of what they see on social media platforms. While print media is trusted highly, 39 percent of UK consumers don’t believe it’s acceptable to target them with news stories paid for by an advertiser.
  • Use of #ad in the UK drops by 35%.
  • Quibi has 1.3m active users. 80% of viewers complete the episode they are watching.
  • Luminary has 80,000 subscribers.
  • Roku new account creation grew 70% during March and they ended the quarter with 39.8m subscribers.
  • Digital subscriptions at WSJ/Barrons were up 20%, totalling more than 2.5m.
  • CPMs on social are down on average between 15% and 30% across the board, according to five media buyers that spoke with AdExchanger. Facebook CPMs have dipped as low as 50% for some brands in certain categories, according to eMarketer.
  • People are listening to podcasts throughout the day and more people are listening via laptops and home devices. Listens through Alexa devices increased 26% in March, compared to February, and Chromecast devices listens are up 35%.
  • "In their first month since rolling out Zeus, [The Seattle Times] has seen their ad viewability more than double while CPMs and RPMs have shown strong double-digit growth. In addition, Zeus has reduced the overall site speed as much as 50%."
  • How much impact is COVID-19 having on your brand and content strategy? 45% moderate, 31% strong we must change. 18% extreme and 6% minor/none.