Note: AGM Knowledge Insider will be on hiatus next week. The next edition will be in your inboxes on Monday, December 5.

_Agency_ work highlights

  • Our Partnerships team helped launch Tencent America’s partnership with Rockstar Energy for their “Fuel What’s Next” campaign. Angus Cloud stars in the 90-second film, celebrating cultural moments that reflect his many passions - one of those passions being mobile gaming with PUBG MOBILE. The film is also full of hints and teasers for upcoming IRL consumer experiences that include cameos from Rockstar Energy athletes and brand collaborations.

  • Our partnerships team secured co-promotional campaigns with Lay’s Chips, Checkers and Rally’s, Sugar Factory, Sunkist Growers, and I’m the Chef Too on behalf of our clients at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to celebrate the 40th anniversary of E.T. Checkers and Rally’s offered giveaways and limited time in-restaurant offerings, I’m the Chef Too offered an an E.T.-themed recipe kit, Lay's created custom packaging and flavors inspired by E.T., Sugar Factory released a Reese’s Pieces x E.T.-flavored milkshake, and Sunkist Growers created E.T.-themed packaging on in-store containers and offered $250k worth of custom content.

  • Check out this recent Knowledge Post by Lisa Giannakopulos and Sara Taylor, SVPs of Field Marketing, who discuss how to think globally and market locally - and why it makes a difference.

_Industry_ updates

Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • TikTok has begun testing its Shop feature in the US as it goes full steam ahead on social commerce. TikTok Shop is currently invite-only for US companies, although the feature is available to merchants in the UK and seven countries in Southeast Asia. (Insider Intelligence)

  • Last month, TikTok leapfrogged Netflix to become the second most popular app in the US, with only YouTube retaining the crown for under 35s viewing. (Digital TV Europe)

  • GroupM, one of the world’s largest media buying agencies, is telling clients Twitter is now a “high risk” media buy following a barrage of controversies, U-turns and confusion that capped off Elon Musk’s second week as the owner of the social network. (Digiday)

  • Google will pay $392M to settle an investigation by 40 US state attorneys general into whether the company misled users about location tracking. The states' investigation into Google and location tracking kicked off in 2018 after an Associated Press story on Google recording user movement even when users had certain settings turned off. (Axios)

  • Cookie syncing is growing, posing data leakage and revenue threats to publishers. Cookie syncing is when ad tech companies map a user from one system to another by dropping cookies on a publisher’s website. Ad tech partners match cookies, letting them communicate user IDs through the chain. Essentially, this makes a publisher’s audience addressable to the buy side. (AdWeek)

  • YouTube has announced the global launch of Target Frequency for its ad platform. YouTube says Triscuit achieved a 93% higher absolute recall lift on a campaign with a weekly frequency of two versus a non-frequency optimized campaign and saved 40% per lifted user. (Insider Intelligence)

  • Meta formally announced the ‘Instagram Explore home’ Ads Placements via the Instagram Marketing API which lets marketers run ads on the Instagram Explore home page. (Search Engine Journal)

Awards / Festivals

  • Pakistan has reversed course and lifted a ban on its Oscars entry Joyland, but the film will receive some cuts by local censors. (THR)

  • Messhall Kitchen is hosting its first film festival this month, featuring shorts created by staff in collaboration with customers and filmed in the restaurant. (Eastsider LA)

  • Brendan Fraser will not be attending the Golden Globes, citing lack of respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. (Vulture)

  • Taylor Swift the won most awards (4) at the MTV EMAs, including best artist, best video and best longform video. (AP)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever took in $180M at North American cinemas the weekend of November 12th-13th. Turnout was especially strong at large-format IMAX theaters, where domestic ticket sales of $14.2M set a record for a November opening. (NYT)

  • Both Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Black Adam are expected to be blocked from release in China as Beijing regulators continue to crack down on US access to the world’s second-largest theatrical market. (THR)

  • Across 100 of its US locations, AMC Theaters gave Yellowstone fans a sneak peek at season 5 ahead of the premiere. (Deadline)

Gambling / Casinos

  • Massachusetts' three gambling centers, Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor, generated a total of $97.3M in gross gaming revenue in October. (Gambling News)

  • Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado proposed a constitutional amendment that would legalize sports betting in the state. The bill would need two-thirds support by the state legislature and approval by the majority of voters in an election to be instituted. (Action Network)

  • Pennsylvania's gaming revenue for October was up by almost 6% YoY to $450M, driven by record online casino performance. (Yogonet)

Live Events / Attractions

  • Ticketmaster canceled the public sale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour due to overwhelming demand. (CNN)

  • Disneyland stopped all sales of its Magic Key annual passes “to help protect the experience for Magic Key holders and the value those passes provide.” (KTLA)

  • BTS’ Jung Kook will perform at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar and will also contribute to tournament's official soundtrack. (Billboard)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • Beyoncé leads the 2023 Grammy Awards with nine nominations. Her "Renaissance" is up for album of the year while her No. 1 hit, “Break My Soul,” earned bids for song and record of the year. Her career total of 88 nominations sets a new record — one tied by her husband Jay-Z. (THR)

  • Earlier this year, Google announced a pilot that would let Spotify (and eventually other apps) bypass the standard Google Play billing on Android in favor of their own payment systems. Google still gets a cut of those payments under this new User Choice Billing initiative, but in Spotify’s words, it represents progress toward greater “platform fairness and expanded payment options.” The streaming music service has now begun testing User Choice Billing in select markets. (The Verge)

  • SiriusXM Pandora unveiled a refreshed streaming radio platform that includes an updated color scheme, bold headers, and a new “Browse” section. (The Desk)

  • Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop media and lifestyle company has struck a deal with Audible for an array of original audio productions. (Variety)

Crypto / NFT / Metaverse

  • Nike is delving deeper into virtual with the beta launch of a platform, .Swoosh, for virtual products and creations. Registration begins in November. The Web3-enabled platform lets Nike members collect and co-create virtual objects like jerseys and shoes. (Retail Dive)

  • The value of metaverse land is dropping steeply, with the market cap falling from $5.45B in January to $1.16B in November. (Immersive Wire)

  • FTX announced it is filing for bankruptcy, capping weeks of corporate drama that upended crypto markets. (NYT)

OTT / Streaming

  • Roku is joining other tech and media players and is planning to reduce its workforce by about 5%, or about 200 jobs. The company said the staff reduction is meant to “slow down the Company’s 2023 operating expense growth rate due to current economic conditions.” (THR)

  • Netflix's “Bridgerton Balls” are "an opportunity for fans to engage with the show between seasons, at a time where fans want more,” said Netflix’s head of live experiences. “The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience” is one of several interactive live events Netflix has hosted, including “Stranger Things: The Experience” and an immersive "Squid Game" gaming experience. (LA Times)

  • Comic Chris Rock will host a live comedy special on Netflix in early 2023. It will mark Netflix’s first-ever global livestreamed event. This new event could indicate the company is looking to add live content to its catalog of titles. (The Verge)

  • To reduce Amazon Studios costs, Amazon executives are reducing the number of episodes in seasons of future shows and have also discussed cutting budgets on shows they already agreed to make, including A League of Their Own. While Amazon hasn’t formally ordered a second season, it will order six episodes (instead of eight) if it does. (Bloomberg)

  • YouTube is adding new shopping features to Shorts that will let users make purchases as they scroll through their feeds. (Search Engine Journal)

  • Nearly a quarter of ad-supported OTT services often click on ads that they watch and the same percentage (23%) often buy things they see advertised. (Parks Associates)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • Younger generations, especially millennials, have relied on Buy Now, Pay Later more this year (34% vs 23%) while Gen Xers’ and baby boomers’ use has remained largely consistent, 13% to 16% and 6% to 8%, respectively. (Morning Consult)

  • YouTube is continuing to bet on shoppable videos this holiday season. On November 10, the platform launched a 10-day shopping event called “From YouTube to You,” featuring top YouTube creators promoting holiday gifts and merch drops. Though multiple categories were included, the event leaned heavily on beauty, with Ulta Beauty, Tula and R.E.M. Beauty among participating brands. The event highlighted all of YouTube’s shoppable video formats including standard videos, livestreaming and Shorts. (Glossy)

  • Food delivery service Deliveroo announced its immediate cessation of operations in Australia after seven years of operation in the country. (9News)

Social Media

  • A beginner’s guide to #Mastodon, the open source Twitter alternative. (TechCrunch)

  • US Gen Zers are more likely than older consumers to trust social media companies to handle their data properly. (Morning Consult)

  • TikTok launched an e-commerce feature in app to compete with Amazon. (Semafor)

  • LinkedIn launched a new Brand Safety hub for its Audience Network ads, which will let advertisers find out more information about LinkedIn’s partner platforms and create allow and block lists. (Social Media Today)

Video Games

  • Roblox announced its intention to “democratize creation” and turn “all Roblox users into creators. One version of the planned tools would let players write their idea in natural language, and an AI engine would generate it. A creator could, for instance, write ‘Scene with a forest, a river, and a large rock in the middle’, and Roblox Studio would generate a scene fitting that description, giving a creator something to work from, rather than starting with a blank slate. (techradar)

  • Crunchyroll is releasing a new adventure game, Hime's Quest, on Gameboy Color. The game will be available free-to-play and download on browsers later this year. (Crunchyroll)

  • World of Warcraft will no longer be available in China due to the 14-year partnership of Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase coming to an end. (Reuters)

Live Sports

  • Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) announced they'll launch an MLS Season Pass on February 1, 2023. The new subscription service will be available in over 100 countries and will feature every live MLS regular-season match, the entire playoffs, and other ancillary competitions, all with no blackouts. (Digital TV Europe)

  • The NHL regular season was barely underway last month when fans began complaining that new virtual ads on the TV broadcasts were making the games difficult to watch. It wasn't the reaction the league was hoping for after spending millions of dollars on “digitally enhanced dasherboards” (DEDs), or virtual ads that replace for TV viewers the static arena ads found on the dasherboards surrounding the ice. (Ad Age)

  • Roku is rolling out a new area within its streaming interface designed to help fans follow the action. Dubbed a sports “experience,” the area within Roku is a centralized hub for sports programming, with the goal of reducing the friction of toggling between separate apps in order to track various events. (Deadline)

  • Starting in 2023, Formula 1 is set to launch an all-female driver category, the F1 Academy, to develop and prepare young female drivers to progress to higher levels of competition. (Formula1)

Interesting Campaigns / Creative

  • Nike Football revealed a new campaign, Footballverse, that shows fans what would happen if old-school legends of the game came up against the stars of the present. (Hypebeast)

_And now_ the good stuff

  • 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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