Ben Young
Ben Young
February 9, 2024

Edition #435

On the goldilocks principle, YouTube paying out $70b to creators – and will the third party cookie go?

This is the week we are treated to the most delightful ads of the year. Microsoft dropped their Copilot ad, with Copilot as your assistant to do whatever you want to do.

And last week Uber Eats had their teaser with the Beckhams, also good.

But it’s a funny ceremony isn’t it, with maybe the biggest Superbowl in recent years, the industry coalesces around this moment. And we try to tune into the ads, outside of the US, you will even try find a YouTube playlist and catch them too. A bit of production trivia for you, is figuring out which of the commercials were filmed in New Zealand – usually at least 2-4 are!

Medium’s CEO discusses the path to profitability and drops the term the Goldilocks problem. A phrase that’s popped up a few times recently, like the fairytale and porridge, a goldilocks problem is about finding just the right amount. And in terms of profitability, that’s balancing the right scale and the right investment alongside it. Read more on it here.

Joe Rogan got a new deal, worth $250m! And the exclusivity to Spotify has lifted. Which is interesting. Joe helped them acquire new users, as that diminishes, why not let the other platforms help subsidise their deal. Also, this is great competitive intelligence, they can see how well other platforms monetize the content – and benchmark their own performance. And get that data continuously.

To help drive subs, they can still throw in the odd exclusive here and there where they need to lift growth.

That leaves us with the ever present discussion on cookies, anecdotally there seems to be confidence that it will get delayed. Now I’m not a scaremonger, but I think once the thread has been pulled. And remember, Safari is already there, Chrome is the last bastion per se. Do they even really want to hold out?

Notable stories this week

  • On adtech influencers?!
  • What Medium’s CEO has learned about technology and journalism.
  • Wherever you get your podcasts is a radical statement.
  • Joe Rogan signs new multiyear podcast deal with Joe Rogan.
  • 1,000 True Fans 2.0?
  • How X is trying to win over influencers?
  • Rick Rubin wants to build you a better internet.
  • Confessions of an AI Clickbait Kingpin.
  • Meta will start labeling AI-generated images on Instagram and Facebook.
  • News companies reverse course on hard subscriptions.
  • This guy built an open source search engine.
  • Criteo profits bounce back, but there’s a tough year ahead.
  • Were we wrong about the value of first-party data?
  • Netflix books Expedia for first global ad campaign.
  • Bluesky is now open for anyone to join.
  • Microsoft launches pubCenter a Google competitor for small publishers.
  • Amazon strikes ad data deal with Reach as Google kills off cookies.
  • Games are helping the New York Times thrive amid media chaos.
  • How Condé Nast bought and destroyed America’s iconic music publication.
  • Substack is helping creators sell ads.
  • How Quora died.
  • IAB Tech Lab says the Chrome Privacy Sandbox is a time bomb that will break real-time bidding.
  • Google ‘cannot proceed with third party cookie depreciation’.
  • How the holding companies are taking differing approaches to rolling out gen AI.


  • Air Mail in talks for an acquisition, valuing it at $50m.
  • Content creation startup Stori raised $500k in pre-seed.
  • The number one acquisition category on Flippa was blogs in 2023.
  • Microsoft in deal with Semafor to create news stories with aid of AI chatbot.
  • Disney is taking a $1.5b equity stake in Epic Games.

Campaign of the week

  • Microsoft game day commercial for Copilot.

  • The Beckhams teaser video for their game day ad.

View all 2024 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “CDPs might have proprietary data or their own special sauce in terms of marketing know-how and integrations. But AWS makes the point quite clearly that the shiny, expensive CDP in your toolkit may actually be worth … nothing.”James Hercher, Adexchanger

Datapoints of note

  • YouTube has paid more than $70b to creators, artists and media companies in the last three years.
  • More Americans ages 18 to 29 said they’d used YouTube (93%), Instagram (78%), and Facebook (67%) than TikTok (62%) in 2023.
  • Medium recommends stories about 8 billion times every month.
  • Temu spent $3b last year on marketing, $1.2b went to Meta.
  • Stacker content drove millions of page views per quarter to Nexstar in 2023.
  • If Google kills cookies, Criteo expects a $30m-$40m revenue drop in Q4.
  • YouTube TV grows to 8m subscribers.
  • Amazon Advertising revenue hits $14.6b in latest quarter.
  • Threads now reaches more than 130m monthly users.

View all 2024 datapoints of note.

That’s it for this week.