Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • Good TikTok news: In a demonstration of the platform's extraordinary power, a single viral video from the app launched The Anthropocene Reviewed into the Top 100 audiobooks at Audible. (per John Green, it's author)

  • Bad TikTok news: The app can circumvent security protections on Apple and Google app stores and use device tracking that gives TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance full access to user data. (The Wrap)

  • NBC announced Super Bowl LVI set a new streaming record. The company saw an average of 6M viewers per minute of their streaming broadcast of the Rams' 23-20 win — up 5% year-over-year. NBC says there were 11.2M average viewers, when accounting for co-viewing from connected devices (when more than one person is watching on the same connected TV device). (The Streamable)

  • For YouTube, India is the largest and fastest growing audience, the video streaming service said last week. ComScore data suggests YouTube has more than 265 million monthly active users in India. In the last year, YouTube’s consumption on mobile has increased to 85%, with 60% of the watch time coming from outside of the six largest metros in India. (Economic Times)

  • The French addressable TV market has made inroads to improve personalization and measurement with an alliance between Bouygues Telecom, Realytics, and Smart. The project titled TVMOTIK unites Bouygues Telecom, with Realytics, which is spearheading convergence between TV and digital, and ad server platform Smart under one roof to offer a complete addressable service to broadcasters and advertisers. (The Drum)

  • Meta claims to now undercount web conversions on iOS by around 8%, having said last year that Apple’s tracking changes would mean its measurements were off by 15%. In its most recent earnings report, Meta announced that privacy changes imposed by Apple would hit its business to the tune of around $10bn for the full year 2022. It based that estimate in part on the newfound difficulty of measuring the effectiveness of its advertising units on iOS devices. (The Drum)

  • Google has announced new measures that will limit tracking across its Android operating system, following a similar move by Apple. The changes, which will not be implemented for at least two years, are intended to curb the sharing of user data with third parties, restricting ad tracking for users who move between different apps on billions of devices running Android. Google said it planned to eventually phase out advertising IDs, in favour of alternatives that protected user data while still supporting advertising efforts. (FT)

Awards / Festivals

  • Nominations are in for the second annual Ambie Awards, which recognize top podcasts and audio talent. The Washington Post’s Post Reports received a total of four nominations, making it the most-nominated show among this year’s nominees. The show was followed by 9/12 (Amazon Music, Pineapple Street Studios and Wondery), Believe Her (Lemonada and Spiegel & Grau), Billie Was a Black Woman (Paramount Audio and Spoke Media) and Have You Heard George’s Podcast? (George the Poet for BBC Sounds), which each received three noms. (THR)

  • Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall will host the 94th Oscars, which is returning to an emcee format for the first time since 2018. The trio of hosts that includes comedy veterans Sykes and Schumer indicates a plan to get some humor injected into the proceedings. This year’s Oscars return to full capacity at the Dolby as Omicron continues to subside; the Academy will not be requiring vaccines, just a recent negative test, to attend the ceremony on March 27. (Deadline)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • MoviePass will return this summer after being resuscitated by its original co-founder Stacy Spikes. He mentioned concerts and live events as an area of interest — “We look at ourselves as a live event company” - but this time around says members will have more flexibility to do things like bring a friend. The number of credits per movie will vary based on factors like peak moviegoing hours, title popularity and location. (The Verge)

  • Preliminary box office figures released last week show a strong uptick in 2021 cinema admissions across Europe. The European Audiovisual Observatory estimates 383.2M movie tickets were sold across the EU and U.K. in 2021, a 28% increase over 2020. However, 2021 admissions were still 61.9%below pre-pandemic figures from 2019, when attendance topped 1B admissions. (THR)

Gambling / Casinos

  • New Yorkers wagered almost $2B in sports during the first 30 days of legalized mobile betting. The figures set a new record, with New York now being the state that has posted the highest handle for a 30 day period and, most notably, just in its first 30 days since launch. (Yogonet)

  • The U.S. commercial gaming industry saw a new record in 2021 as the highest-grossing year ever, reaching $53 billion in revenue, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. The total breaks 2019’s previous industry record of $43.65 billion by more than 21%. (YogoNet)

Live Events / Attractions

  • Iconic Aussie music venues continue to close amid ongoing COVID restrictions, with many more operating at an unsustainable loss, particularly in Melbourne. (The Guardian)

  • For the first time ever, London's West End is offering £10, £20, £30, £40 and £50 tickets (with no booking fees) to over 40 top shows from now until 31 March, as Official London Theatre extend their New Year promotion and relaunch it as Show Time. (Broadway World)

  • The Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals have announced that they are dropping Covid requirements for their April events. (Bloomberg)

  • The world’s 10 best immersive art experiences: Meow Wolf founder Vince Kadlubek counts down his favourite artainment experiences, from AREA15 to teamLab. (Blooloop)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • Spotify announced last week it’s acquiring both Chartable and Podsights — two of the most prominent podcast marketing and ad attribution companies. Both Podsights and Chartable allow podcasters and networks to include tags in their shows that are used to track who listened, if they heard an ad, and whether they took action upon hearing it. Spotify plans to use Podsights’ technology outside podcasting and will bring it to the “full scope of the Spotify platform, including audio ads within music, video ads, and display ads.” (The Verge)

  • Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company, announced the launch of Acast Amplifier – its first ever podcast incubator programme – in the UK. Acast Amplifier has been developed to discover and invest in the next generation of podcasters, and will see three aspiring UK-based creators produce and launch new podcasts, as well as receiving benefits including a £2,500 grant. (Podcaster News)

NFT / Blockchain / Crypto

  • Coinbase’s :60 Super Bowl ad consisted of a bouncing QR code in the style of old DVD-logo screensavers. Scanning the code directed people to a page on the crypto exchange's site that offered $15 in free Bitcoin if they signed up for an account by February 15. The popularity of the ad forced Coinbase to briefly throttle traffic to its website and crashed the app. (TechSpot)

  • JPMorgan has become the world’s first bank to set up shop in the metaverse. The largest bank in the US has opened a lounge in the blockchain-based world Decentraland. Users can create their virtual avatars, build virtual spaces and roam in the lounge christened ‘Onyx Lounge’ after its suit of ethereum-based services. (CNBC)

  • Disney has appointed an executive to specifically lead the entertainment giant's strategy for the metaverse. Mike White will become Disney's senior vice president for Next Generation Storytelling and Consumer Experiences. In the newly-created role he will allocate resources, explore partnerships and encourage knowledge sharing on the metaverse. He will also lead a team with skills including technology, strategy and storytelling. (BBC)

OTT / Streaming

  • Six Marvel live-action superhero series are leaving Netflix on Feb. 28 when the rights revert to Disney. The shows are Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Punisher, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. It’s unclear if the shows will appear on Disney Plus, Hulu, or another venue. (Polygon)

  • Hub Entertainment predicts other internet TV services will follow Netflix into gaming. Both premium TV and watching movies lost share of leisure time in 2021, dropping to 34% and 14%, respectively. Over the same period, gaming grew its share from 12% to 16%, and online video grew from 11% to 12%. Overall, 5% of premium TV’s share transferred to social, games, and online video between 2020 and 2021. (NScreenMedia)

  • ViacomCBS, which will soon mark the one-year anniversary of Paramount+, added 9.4M subs in Q4 for a total of 54M subs to offerings that also include Showtime OTT. In the same quarter, streaming ad revenue hit $1.3B, driven mostly by Paramount+ and Pluto TV. (THR)

  • AMC Networks ended 2021 with more than 9M streaming subscribers and a company record for full-year revenue of $3.1B, up 9%. Management had forecast 9M paid streaming users by the end of the year. On its quarterly earnings call last week, the company reiterated its projection it would reach 20-25 million streaming subscribers by the end of 2025. (THR)

  • 75% of Aussies now watch a streaming service, and although growth has slowed, Australians are increasingly prepared to subscribe to multiple services. The average number of Subscription TV services Australians use has increased from 1.8 in December 2019 to 2.7 today. (B&T)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • Australians eager to travel overseas and reunite with loved ones after two years of pandemic border restrictions are facing expensive international air fares, with a new analysis showing prices have surged by an average of more than 50% across all destinations compared with pre-pandemic travel. (The Guardian)

  • A majority of Americans now believe that both exhibit and performance-based organizations should require proof of vaccination. On the whole, 56.8% of adult Americans and 71.1% of likely visitors (people who actually attend these organizations) now believe US cultural entities should require visitors to show proof of vaccination. In September, only 48% of likely visitors believed that proof of vaccination should be an admission requirement. However, there is significant variance in sentiments across the US. (Colleen Dillenschneider)

Social Media

  • Among US social video viewers, YouTube is the most popular place to watch live content, with 52.0% tuning in on the platform. Facebook ranks second, used by 42.6% for live video, while Instagram and TikTok tie for third with 33.4%. However: TikTok is the top livestreaming destination for 16-24-year-old social video viewers, with Facebook the go-to for ages 25-44. (eMarketer)

  • YouTube continues to face brand safety concerns from major advertisers following a series of brand safety issues such as terrorist content, paedophilia and climate denial misinformation. This largely relied on artificial intelligence (AI) and changes to its algorithm to help weed out problematic content. Advertisers seek more moderation and policy from YouTube in terms of borderline or harmful content being served. (The Drum)

  • Last week, Snapchat introduced a partnership with Ticketmaster. This partnership will allow users to discover live events and share them with their friends. The app will display suggested upcoming shows based on the user’s preferences that can be swiped through and purchased directly through the app. (Newsroom)

  • Instagram has added new features enabling improved content management in the app. The updated activity dashboard provides a full overview of IG activity including time spent on the app, interactions with others, searches you’ve conducted, as well as archiving content posted on your profile. (Social Media Today)

Video Games

  • The trend of crashing into furniture while in the metaverse provoked a 31% jump in home contents claims involving VR headsets last year, insurer Aviva said, marking a 68% overall increase since 2016. (The Guardian)

  • Roblox paid out $538.3M to developers (creators) on its gaming platform in 2021, beating an earlier projection of $500M. Two years ago, that figure was $112 million, the company pointed out. But while payouts are growing, other figures came up shy of expectations. Roblox’s bookings increased 20% to $770.1M YoY, coming in below the $772M Wall Street had predicted. Roblox’s DAUs rose 33% in Q4 to 49.5M total, while time spent on its platform fell 3% QoQ. (The Information)

  • Netflix is teaming up with 2K and Take-Two Interactive to adapt the popular BioShock video game series as a film. Set across multiple dystopian and visionary landscapes gone wrong, the “BioShock” series blends sci-fi and horror to pose unique existential and societal questions that reshaped how game stories could be told. (Variety)

Interesting Campaigns / Creative

  • A photo of a billboard for 2012's The Dark Knight Rises has resurfaced on Reddit, and fans are gushing over it once again. The 3D billboard features a bat-shaped hole along with crumbling bricks, as though the Dark Knight himself has torn straight through it. Its bold design doesn't even feature the title of the film.


  • The UK government published its national AI strategy, which outlines its long-term vision for the technology and its impact on society.

  • Rodney Brooks, the creator of the Roomba, throws cold water on the idea that AI will surpass human intelligence in the near future.

  • A unique look behind the curtain at how one VC fund increased returns.

  • How Peloton uses design and gamification to keep people on the exercise platform.

  • If you think gentrification is about new coffee shops and high rents, you are missing an essential aesthetic element.

  • Watch out for the Trisolarians! Scientists might have found the first-known planet orbiting three stars at once.

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