One big thing
Subscription is not all that it seems for Tim Ferriss. The popular podcast host (400m+ downloads) last week announced a six month trial of no ads and shifting to a subscription model. Citing that the effort to filter and sign on advertisers was high and that it could be swapped to investing more in the content.
A brief week later he changed tacts, his fans said they actually like the ads because they help them discover new products and services. The work his team put in to filter ads to the audience pays off. Or put another way for the fans the show couldn’t exist without the ads.
This is the level all content creators should aspire too.
We also saw Netflix firmly say no to ads. It would introduce a new competitive set. The outtake? Pick a path and stick to it. Each has its own incentives, trade-offs, and benefits. Both yield healthy models, you just need to pick which suits you.
Notable stories this week
- Taboola partners with News12 (owned by Altice Networks).
- 3,100 people have lost their jobs this year in the media landslide. A tally and overview of the shifts this year.
- LadBible is getting smarter about understanding its audience to power more direct (and holistic) ad deals.
- After restructuring BBC Worldwide is growing its headcount for their unified advertiser solutions.
- YouTube is expanding monetization options for creators, including tighter merchandise sales and stickers for live streams.
- Brands need to use the right content on the right platform at the right time. An interview with IAG Head of Content, Zara Curtis.
- Medium Rare launches Rare Creative, an in-house branded content studio.
- [Long read] No ads, no problem: how marketers are collaborating with streaming platforms.
- IBM Watson Marketing Cloud rebrands to Acoustic.
- NBC to create a daily news show for Quibi. As a mobile-first offering, twice daily news is a prompt to re-engage, so makes sense.
- More companies are ditching the CMO role.
- Washington Post is preparing for a post-cookie ad targeting ecosystem. Zeus Insights offers detailed contextual targeting capabilities along with user-intent predictions for marketers.
- Direct from Netflix: “When you read speculation that we are moving into selling advertising, be confident that this is false… We will have a more valuable business in the long term by staying out of competing for ad revenue".
- Substack raises $15.3m. Well done to (fellow kiwi) Hamish and team.
- Blackstone acquired app install company Vungle for $750m in cash.
Campaign of the week
- Alexa, what is Prime Day? eBay riffing off Amazon's Prime Day this week.
- Geico and The Washington Post cover a couple who want to save for their kids' college fund. And takes views on that journey.
- Accenture on The Irish Times on the necessity for business to future proof ahead of the post-digital age. Pointing at the need for companies to master emerging technologies, but also to prioritise trust, responsibility, privacy and security.
- Submit your own and view the best campaigns of 2019.
- [On DTC and Facebook] The dirty truth about DTC is that it’s actually FTC: Facebook-to-consumer. According to Tank, “It's like trying to get into an exclusive club to meet cool people you want to have a relationship with, but you have to pay a friend of a friend to get you through the door.” –Adam Kleinberg, CEO, Traction
Datapoints of note
- Host-read ads continue to be the preferred ad type for podcasts, making up 63.3% of ads in 2018. Announcer-read/pre-produced ads made up 35% of last year’s ads.
- The second quarter of 2019 was the biggest for influencer marketing, with a total spend of $442m. 18% growth on the prior quarter.
- 30 of the 38 Super Bowl advertisers also bought Twitter ads during the Super Bowl.
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