Happy New Year! Our first note of 2021. We’ve decided to not cover the suspension, Parler and related this week. We may in the future but felt like it clouded important stories, which would otherwise be overlooked. Of note is the M&A/deal activity since the last edit.
One big thing
I’ve said whether the Olympics go ahead or not may be the canary in the coal mine for the marketing and media industry this year. If they go ahead, it reveals that all the athletes were able to train safely, travel, maintain sponsors, and compete. It will likely be the biggest viewing of any Olympics, with many of us still at home. They’ll act as the bastion of progress in recovery.
If it delays another year, that signals that maybe not all of these things can come together in a safe way. And the business environment is probably going to be rocky. The Olympics can be a symbol of hope but I think the organizers will make the best call with the information they have.
I doubt the Olympics organizers have any focus on Cannes, but their green light to go ahead this year has folks talking.
Notable stories this week
- YouTube drops limit for Channel Memberships to 1,000 subscribers.
- How storytelling during the pandemic is paying off for tourism brands.
- [in AU] Fabulate launches to ease branded content production inefficiencies.
- Exploring ‘tangential’ content in your content plan and 2021 is the year branded content will come into its own.
- Analysis of 1.4m posts reveals Instagram’s engagement to be dwindling since May.
- We get more detail on the AxiosHQ offering.
- Ozy hits profitability on $50m of revenue.
- Unity teams up to enable Snap advertisers to place ads in games.
- 2020, as told by ads.
- Pepsi taps Super Bowl halftime show star The Weeknd.
- Discovery+ launches and Univision enters the streaming wars with “PrendeTV”.
- YouTube has gone from Hollywood pariah to partner.
- Taboola’s role in spreading misinformation.
- Amnet on offshoring or smart shoring content production resources.
- Enjoyed Ashley Friedlein’s digital and marketing trends for the year. Ever heard of digital bothism?
- [From our own] Companies can grow during the pandemic, but should future-proofing come first?
- [Long read] Why content is king.
- BuzzFeed explores a blank check company (SPAC) for acquisitions.
- Glance (lock screen content + ads in India) raises $145m in round led by Google.
- The Penny Hoarder is being acquired for $102.5m.
- MGM puts itself up for sale at $5b.
- Quibi sells content to Roku for less than $100m, will use the content for growing an ad-supported channel.
- Bustle Digital hires bank to explore SPAC.
- LG grabs a majority stake in tv data provider, Alphonso.
- S4 Capital picks up performance agency Metric Theory and integrated agency Decoded.
- Medium is acquiring Glose, a digital platform for books.
Campaign of the week
- Birdwatching with Gucci.
- Apartment Therapy and HBO Max with Which bingeable series should you watch next?
- Closing the circle on waste, by GC on National Geographic.
Datapoints of note
- 67.9% of US marketers with 100 or more employees will use influencers for paid or unpaid brand partnerships in 2021.
- From an APAC Criteo study. 38% of marketers saw increased website sales and bookings since the onset of the pandemic, resulting in accelerated digitization of their business processes.
- 54% of APAC marketers to spend more on content marketing.
That’s it for this week.