_Agency_ work highlights

  • Our Partnerships team helped launch Tencent America’s partnership with Grubhub and Wendy’s. People watching The Game Awards saw this spot during the show. It aired three times, with a :15 live-read from Geoff Keighley promoting a PUBGM x Wendy’s offer on the Grubhub app. Additionally, from December 5-31, players who order $12+ from Wendy’s through Grubhub will receive a code for a limited edition in-game Grubhub branded vehicle.

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_Industry_ updates

Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • Twitter is matching ad spend to boost revenue to lure advertisers back onto the platform. US brands spending over $500K will get a 100% value add, capped at $1M per advertiser. (Marketing Brew)

  • Adobe will sell AI-made stock images with the help of generative AI programs like Dall-E and Stable Diffusion. Adobe is now accepting images submitted from artists who have made use of generative AI on the same terms as other works, but requires they be labeled as such. (Axios)

  • Google is testing end-to-end encryption for group chats in the Messages app. It will roll out the feature in the coming weeks to select users who are part of its open beta program. (Tech Crunch)

  • Google is introducing a “Continuous Scrolling” feature for English-language desktop queries in the US. This is so users don’t have to navigate across multiple pages to find relevant search results. (Tech Crunch)

  • The European Union set an official deadline for when Apple smartphones sold there must have a USB-C port. Apple has 24 months to comply with the new rule. (Business Insider)

  • Insider Intelligence's latest forecast predicts $279B in US digital ad spending in 2023, down from the $284B expected in its previous forecast. Social networks will be hit the hardest as platforms struggle to adapt to Apple’s privacy changes, but advertisers are still amping up spend on CTV. (Insider Intelligence)

  • Key takeaways from Morning Consult's latest media and entertainment industry trends: metaverse awareness is still low, usage of video streaming services by U.S. adults dropped 8 percentage points in November, and podcast listenership among millennials is down 10 points since June. (Morning Consult)

  • Global OTT TV episode and movies revenues are expected to reach $243B in 2028, up $86B from 2022. About $17B will be added in 2023 alone. (TTV News)

Awards / Festivals

  • Emmy-winning comedian Jerrod Carmichael has signed on to host the 80th Golden Globe Awards when it returns to NBC next month. (Variety)

  • Taylor Swift, BTS, Lizzo, Selena Gomez and Eizabeth Olsen won multiple awards at the 2022 People’s Choice Awards. Kenan Thompson hosted the show, which aired on both E! and NBC. (Billboard)

  • The Sundance Film Festival 2023 lineup consists of 101 feature-length films. The US festival is returning to in-person showings from Jan. 19-29 after two years of virtual showings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Axios)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever topped the global box office for the fourth straight weekend, bringing its total to $733M. The comic holiday thriller Violent Night debuted with $13.3M. (AP)

  • Hong Kong cinema operators are working to scrap COVID restrictions on local theaters before the release of Avatar: The Way of Water and ahead of the Christmas holiday peak. Currently cinemas in the city are only allowed to operate at 85% capacity and a maximum of 12 spectators on the same row. (Variety)

  • Germany is the latest European country to announce a culture pass for youth to spend on books, theater trips, music, museums, and movies. Anyone in Germany turning 18 in 2023— estimated to be around 750,000 people—will be eligible for the €200 ($208) pass. The credit will be available to use over a two-year period. (Time)

Gambling / Casinos

  • Macau’s casinos will establish designated gaming zones and issue special gambling chips for foreigners. The move is an effort by Macau’s government to increase the number of foreign tourists in the gambling hub, as opposed to visitors from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. (Casino.org)

  • Encore Boston Harbor gained the first sportsbook license in Massachusetts history. As a Category 1 sports wagering business, Encore Boston Harbor will be allowed to open a retail sportsbook at the Everett property. (Casino.org)

  • The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre is targeting SkyCity's Adelaide Casino for money laundering. The financial crime regulator started civil proceedings against the casino last week. (Yogonet)

Live Events / Attractions

  • More than two dozen fans have filed lawsuits against Ticketmaster over the Taylor Swift tickets fiasco, alleging the ticketing giant and Live Nation Entertainment subsidiary engaged in fraud, price fixing, antitrust violations, and “intentional deception.” (TicketNews)

  • Mission-based members (as distinct from transaction-based members) are more likely to renew their memberships with cultural organizations. This means a good goal may be to increase the percentage of constituents who care about what you do for your community or the planet. (Colleen Dilenschneider)

  • Universal's Epic Universe, the first major new US theme park in a decade, is on track to open by Summer 2025. Construction hasn't yet been impacted by major supply chain issues. (MYNews13)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • Triller is planning to go public in late December or early January. Its timeline for listing on the Nasdaq comes shortly after it removed from its video app the song catalogs of major music labels Sony, Warner Music, and Universal, as well as the indie-licensing company Merlin. (Insider)

  • Crime Junkie took the top spot on Apple’s list of biggest podcast shows of 2022, followed by The Daily, Dateline NBC, Morbid, and SmartLess. (The Verge)

  • Apple has announced Apple Music Sing, a new feature which lets users to sing along to their favorite songs with adjustable vocals and real-time lyrics. (Apple)

  • The average US unique monthly audience for the top 20 podcast publishers was up 15% MoM and up 33% YoY, in part due to a new version of the Apple Podcasts app released in November. (Podtrac)

NFT / Metaverse / Crypto

  • Animoca Brands, the parent company of The Sandbox, has acquired a majority stake in Pixelynx, a music metaverse gaming platform, doubling down on its investments in the metaverse space. (Music Business Worldwide)

  • Metagood, a for-profit social impact NFT startup, has raised $5M in a pre-seed round. The company aims to let members promote and fund social good projects through its DAO, which raised 2,000 ETH in one year. (TechCrunch)

  • Adidas and Snapchat have partnered to launch a Bitmoji fashion drop, letting users dress their Bitmoji avatars in branded virtual merchandise. Featured in the release is an Into the Metaverse track jacket that boasts an Adidas Web3 logo. (Retail Dive)

OTT / Streaming

  • LG Smart TV owners in over 80 countries will get three months of Apple TV+ for free. Starting last week, the promotion is available to new Apple TV+ subscribers and applies to all compatible 4K and 8K LG Smart TV models from 2018 to 2022 running webOS 4.0 to webOS 2022. (LG)

  • More than a year after HBO pulled its streaming service from Prime Video Channels, Amazon and Warner Bros. Discovery have a new deal to bring HBO Max back. HBO Max will be available beginning Dec. 6 for $14.99 per month (the less expensive ad-supported tier does not appear to be available as of now). (THR)

  • Hallmark Movies Now now lets Apple users use SharePlay to synchronize playback in the services's app across devices while simultaneously participating in a FaceTime call. (Media Play News)

  • The combined HBO and Discovery app will likely be called Max. The name is being vetted by Warner Bros. Discovery’s legal team before a final decision is made. (The Verge)

  • Amazon Prime Video has surpassed Netflix as the No. 1 US subscription streaming outlet. On a global basis, Netflix continues to lead the field with 223M subscribers. (Deadline)

  • Peacock has hit 18M subscribers as the streaming platform continues to help offset accelerating declines in NBCU linear TV revenues due to cord-cutting and a worsening advertising market. (THR)

  • YouTube released its own set of Twitch-like custom emotes that work across all comments and live chats. The initial emotes are focused on gaming, but there will be more over time. (The Verge)

  • Sky is now charging customers £5 a month if they skip ads on its Sky Stream and Sky Go products. The company’s Ad Skipping pack has been free until now, but from December 1st became a subscription service. (Digital TV Europe)

  • Following Netflix’s decision to sign with BARB to measure audiences in support of its ad-supported streaming offering, BARB is extending its measurement metrics and will reach out to other walled-garden streaming services. (Digital TV Europe)

  • The number of US households using ad-supported streaming services is expected to increase to 52M in 2027. Around one-third of households are currently using at least one ad-supported streaming service. (Parks Associates)

  • ITV, the UK's leading commercial television broadcaster, is preparing to launch its long-awaited ITVX service. ITVX will replace the previous ITV Hub as the online home of ITV programming. (InformITV)

  • Paramount+ has launched in German speaking territories. The launch follows last week’s arrival in France, and means the service is now live in 45 markets. (Digital TV Europe)

  • Streamer iQIYI has been deploying AI across productions to mitigate the effects of China’s severe pandemic restrictions. (Variety)

  • Australian retail giant Wesfarmers added Disney+ to its OnePass free delivery subscription offering, making it a direct competitor to Amazon Prime. It's also the first retail-content partnership globally for Disney. (Australian Financial Review)

  • Disney+ launched its ad-supported subscription offering in the US last week with more than 100 advertisers across all major categories. The ad-supported tier is due to roll out internationally in 2023. (Digital TV Europe)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • Airline profits are expected to reach $4.7B next year, compared to $26.4B in 2019. The profit margin gap reveals that there is still a lot of ground to cover for the industry to return to pre-pandemic levels. (Statista)

  • About one in four US millennials are currently living with their parents. That’s equivalent to about 18M people between the ages of 26 and 41. More than half said they'd moved back in with family in the past year. (Bloomberg)

  • Hard Rock will operate Las Vegas' Mirage resort through 2023 before closing it for a 30-month renovation project. One of the new features is an all-suite guitar-shaped tower alongside the Strip. (Nevada Independent)

  • Amazon is launching a TikTok-style feed. The new feature, called Inspire, will roll out to select US customers in December and go national in the following few months. (Bloomberg)

  • Gen Z's favorability rating for brands across the US is 27%, compared to 33% for all adults and 36% for Millennials. About 60% feel sustainability is an important factor in purchase decisions, and 61% think brands should do more to prove that “style should not have a gender.” (Retail Dive)

Social Media

  • Twitter plans to change the pricing of its Twitter Blue subscription product to $7 if users pay for it through the web and $11 if they do so through its iPhone app. (The Information)

  • Discord will now allow more servers to offer paid memberships in exchange for special server-specific perks. Anyone who runs a server can create customized membership tiers that offer special roles and other benefits. (Tech Crunch)

  • Meta threatened to remove news content from its platforms following reports that US lawmakers have added controversial legislation favoring news media to the annual defense authorization bill. (CNN)

  • Meta is testing age verification tools on Facebook Dating, a move the company says will make the product safer. (Axios)

  • Texas became the latest state to ban TikTok on government devices, joining South Dakota, South Carolina and Maryland, all of which banned the app on government devices within a week of each other. (Axios)

  • TikTok has started borrowing features from its competitors to promote social connections between its users, including TikTok Now (a BeReal-like feature) and suggested followers. These could help the company keep its audience more engaged at a time when its growth has slowed. (The Information)

Sports

  • After the US team, American soccer fans give the highest net favorability ratings to the English and Spanish teams. The three national teams with the least support among American soccer fans are Poland (30), Qatar (10) and Iran (-1). (Morning Consult)

  • The NFL and Genius Sports have agreed to expand their partnership to provide Watch & Bet live streaming. The streaming will be initiated by Caesars Entertainment, the first Official Casino Sponsor of the NFL. (Gambling News)

  • Argentina vs Mexico was the most-watched World Cup group stage match in US Spanish-Language TV history. Across 13 days and 48 Group Stage matches, Spanish-language coverage of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 averaged 2M viewers across Telemundo, Universo, Peacock, and Telemundo streaming platforms, up 5% vs. the 2018 tournament. (Deadline)

Video Games

  • The US Federal Trade Commission has sued to block Microsoft’s $69B bid to buy video game publisher Activision Blizzard, alleging the deal will enable the tech giant to suppress competition in gaming. (THR)

  • Amazon is planning to launch Prime Gaming in India. The Prime Gaming website mentions India as an operational market for the service; however, Indian users attempting to access Prime Gaming are currently redirected to a blank page. (Tech Crunch)

  • Microsoft has entered into a 10-year agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles, following its plan to acquire the game's publisher. The deal would let Microsoft prevent Call of Duty from appearing on rival consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation 5. (BBC)

Interesting Campaigns / Creative

  • HelloFresh is catering to Elf fans with meal kits serving Buddy's signature dish. Buddy the Elf Spaghetti boxes are priced at $15 for two servings. (Marketing Dive)

_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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