Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • The boundary between digital video and traditional TV grows blurrier for UK viewers. People are streaming short-form content on TV screens and watching traditional live TV on their smartphones. Connected TVs (CTVs), in particular, are becoming increasingly popular devices for consuming the full gamut of video content available to UK viewers. Other screens aren’t being sidelined, though. Consumers now watch video content on whatever screen is most convenient (and optimal) for them, and advertisers should meet them there. (eMarketer)

  • Spotify has introduced a new ad format aimed at podcasters which it’s calling “Call-to-Action Cards” — or CTA cards, for short. The feature, powered by Spotify’s streaming ad insertion technology, will display a visual ad in the Spotify app when the audio ad begins to play. The cards can be customized by advertisers with their own images, text and other clickable buttons that direct listeners to “shop now” or take some other action the advertiser is hoping to encourage. (TechCrunch)

  • Discovery has agreed to invest and become a minority owner of OpenAP, the advanced advertising joint venture company created by several media industry giants. Discovery joins Fox, NBCU and ViacomCBS in the joint venture whose goal is to bring “simplicity and scale to audience-based campaigns in television.” (THR)

  • NBCU has announced a new partnership with RTL Group’s ad business RTL AdConnect. The bilateral, international partnership is described as ‘ground-breaking’ by the companies, and gives each other access to their premium TV and digital inventory assets. RTL AdConnect will be able to provide its European clients and partner agencies access to all NBCUl inventory. Meanwhile, NBCU will represent RTL AdConnect’s premium Total Video European portfolio, providing Chinese and US-based clients with reach and advertising solutions. (DigitalTVEurope)

  • People spendi an average of 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phones, according to App Annie. In 2020, UK regulator Ofcom found similar amounts of time spent, although its research included watching TV. The average time spent on mobile apps was 4h48m, up 30% from 2019. This was calculated across ten markets, including India, Turkey, the US, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Canada. Users in Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea surpassed five hours per day. Of that time, seven out of every 10 minutes was spent on social, photo and video apps, with TikTok leading the way. (BBC)

  • T-Mobile has acquired Octopus Interactive, which has a network of interactive screens inside Uber and Lyft vehicles. Through its network, brands are able to advertise geotargeted campaigns. Octopus’s audience is predominantly ages 18- 49 with an average household income of more than $130,000 and someone who frequently travels to an airport or a social outing. (Bethesda Magazine)

  • Gen Z is altering the rules of brand communication. A shift from authentic to absurdist advertising on TikTok serves as a digital reference for future B2C communication trends. Influencers are constantly developing new ways to camouflage ads. Gen Z’s take on authenticity is pushing brands to break all previously established rules of brand communication, forcing brands outside their carefully constructed guidelines. (The Drum)

Awards / Festivals / Major Conferences

  • Ridley Scott's House of Gucci and Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog are the top film nominees for the 2022 SAG Awards, with each movie earning three nominations. The top TV nominees are Succession and Ted Lasso, which each scored five nominations. (THR)

  • Just 10 days before NATPE Miami 2022 was scheduled to welcome attendees, organizers announced the annual event is being canceled as COVID-19 cases surge across the nation. (The Wrap)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • Comfort with going to movie theaters fell 3% last week from the week prior, to 44%. Comfort with going to the movies has dropped 7 points since a Dec. 19 survey. 16% of adults said they'd feel OK heading back to the movies within the next month, down 2 points from the week prior and down 4 points from a Dec. 19 poll. The share of consumers that said they're already going to the movies decreased from 19% to 17%. (Morning Consult)

Live Events / Attractions

  • The dramatic changes for business-to-business marketing, especially in the technology world, have created more demand for intimate, in-person conferences and virtual experiences that extend learning and networking experiences to new audiences. 53% of industry respondents report that events will play a very important role in 2022 for their business. Additionally, 79% report wanting both in-person and virtual event experiences. (Parks Associates)

  • The Australian state of Victoria has imposed capacity restrictions on the Australian Open this week as cases of the Omicron variant surge. The local government said it would limit ticket sales to a maximum of 50% capacity for each venue where possible. (FT)

  • Island Waterpark, a $100 million indoor water park on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, broke ground last week. The 103,000 square-foot attraction will be feature a range of water slides, including parallel racing slides, pools, a lazy river, and F&B and event spaces. Expected to open in May 2023, is designed to give families something to do year-round in the seaside destination. (Blooloop)

  • Last week 39% of U.S. adults said they feel comfortable visiting an amusement park, and 37% said they are OK attending a theater performance, down 3 points and 4 points, respectively, from the previous week. As omicron cases continue to climb, consumers remain most comfortable visiting a museum (49%), though that share was down 4 points from the previous week and was below 50% for the first time since Aug. 29. (Morning Consult)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • For the week of January 3 to January 9, podcast downloads were up 22% week over week and up 23% year over year for Podtrac measured shows. The Sports category showed the strongest week-over-week growth at +37%; Arts showed the weakest week-over-week growth at -9%; the category with strongest growth year-over-year was Sports at +111%. (Podtrac)

  • The chief content officer of Spotify is upset her company isn’t producing enough new popular podcasts, and has been putting pressure on her in-house studios to deliver. It’s hard for new shows to find an audience, and this isn't specific to Spotify. While the overall audience for podcasting expands, the audience for individual new shows is shrinking across the board. None of the 10 most popular podcasts in the U.S. last year debuted in the last couple years. (Bloomberg)

  • After two years of postponements and cancellations due to the pandemic, Coachella festival has confirmed its 2022 lineup and the headliners are Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Ye, and Swedish House Mafia. Coachella 2022 is currently set for April 15-17 and April 22-24. (THR)

  • The podcast audience is lucrative because listeners often pay attention to and act on the ads they hear. While the industry is sprinting toward a programmatic podcast advertising future, there are many obstacles they continue to face. Ads can be miscategorized or presented without a content rating, and then be served in podcasts they're not approved for. This has led to podcast networks and advertisers’ apprehension about participating in programmatic podcast advertising. (The Verge)

OTT / Streaming

  • As recently as a decade ago, more than 85% of U.S. HHs paid for cable or satellite. Now, the share of American homes paying for conventional TV service has dropped to nearly 50%. For comparison, cellphones were around for decades before the percentage of Americans who didn’t have a landline at home reached 50% (in 2017). Now only about one-third of American adults have a landline. (NY Times)

  • Telemundo is launching a streaming brand within Peacock that will cater to younger generations of Hispanic audiences based in the U.S. The content hub, called Tplus, will include new scripted and unscripted shows and will be available to premium tier Peacock subscribers. (THR)

  • Netflix has increased the price of its monthly subscription plans in the U.S. and Canada, effective immediately for new subscribers. In the U.S., subscribers to Netflix’s basic plan will now be charged $9.99 a month, up from $8.99. Standard plans now cost $15.49 per month, an increase from $13.99, while premium plans have inched up to $19.99 a month. Existing subscribers will begin to see the price changes “over the coming weeks,” depending on their billing cycle. (THR)

  • Paramount+ adds live sports for Latin America: The ViacomCBS streaming platform acquired the exclusive rights for the Premier League for Mexico and Central America from the 2022/23 to 2024/25 season. (TTVNews)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • 88% of consumers started their shopping trip at Amazon for their last Amazon purchase, rather than at a search engine like Google or a competing retailer's site. That percentage has been trending up steadily for several years and was little affected by the pandemic. (Digital Commerce 360)

  • 56% of Americans said they're comfortable going on vacation, down 2 points from the week prior and 7 points since mid-October. 36% of Americans are comfortable flying domestically, down 4 points from the previous week, while comfort with flying internationally fell 3 points to 25%. The public’s comfort with taking a domestic flight has hovered in the low 40s since Nov. 11; this week’s drop marks the first time comfort with that activity has been below 40% since Oct. 2. Comfort with major hotels fell 2 points from 54% to 52% since last week, though comfort with home-sharing locations and boutique hotels held steady at 40% and 45%, respectively. (Morning Consult)

Social Media

  • Reddit is aiming to go public as soon as March and could be valued at as much as $15 billion, according to Bloomberg. The social media site previously announced that it had filed for an IPO in December but did not disclose terms or timeline. It was privately valued at $10 billion in an August funding round led by Fidelity Investments. (The Information)

  • Facebook's recently granted patents give a glimpse of what the future of the metaverse might look like. Numbering in the hundreds, the patents offer an idea of what could come, ranging from smaller headsets to hyper-realistic avatars and clothing that would require body mapping. None mentioned privacy or safety, the chief concerns of the metaverse. (Insider)

  • Snapchat is confident it can roll over Instagram and TikTok in Australia, after posting its most successful growth quarter since 2020. The company says its users are using it 40 times a day, and time spent gaming on the platform is up 140% YoY. (ChannelNews)

  • Respondology, a solution which provides automated protection for brands or individuals on social media platform, has announced an extension of its capabilities to Twitter. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube were already in its portfolio. Respondology uses a combination of automation and human moderation to hide unwelcome comments. The four social media platforms allow Respondology direct access through their APIs. (Martech)

  • Spotify is adding CTA cards to podcast ads (for now only in the US). The cards will appear in the app as soon as a podcast ad begins playing and will resurface later on while you’re exploring the Spotify app. (B&T)

Video Games

  • Video game company Take-Two Interactive has agreed to acquire mobile gaming powerhouse Zynga. Take-Two will acquire all outstanding shares of Zynga with a total enterprise value of approximately $12.7 billion. Take-Two’s labels are home to some of the most popular gaming series, including Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, NBA 2K, BioShock, Borderlands, Civilization and Mafia, while Zynga’s portfolio includes such titles as CSR Racing, Empires & Puzzles, FarmVille, Golf Rival, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, Words With Friends and Zynga Poker. (THR)

  • GameStop is launching a division to develop a marketplace for NFTs and establish cryptocurrency partnerships, pushing the company into much-hyped areas as it tries to turn around its core videogame business. The retailer has hired more than 20 people to run the unit, which is building an online hub for buying, selling and trading NFTs of virtual videogame goods such as avatar outfits and weapons. The company is asking select game developers and publishers to list NFTs on its marketplace when it launches later this year, the people said. (WSJ)


  • 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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