Industry Updates

Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • BuzzFeed is expanding its first-party data services suite, Lighthouse, to international markets including the UK, Canada, Australia, and Latin America. (Digiday)

  • Apple has been internally testing search ads in Maps and could introduce ads to its native Podcasts and Books apps as well. (The Verge)

  • Almost half of people in China use digital wallets every day. China, India and Brazil report the highest digital wallet usage overall. (Morning Consult)

  • Twitter debuted its Twitter Pixel, Conversions API, and App Purchase Optimization. During testing, 89% of advertisers saw a reduction in cost per purchase when using App Purchase Optimization. (AdWeek)

  • TikTok is rolling out several new shoppable ad formats, including video shopping ads, catalog listing ads and live shopping ads. (AdAge)

  • LGBTQ+ communities in Mexico and the US are the most comfortable with inclusive campaigns, with more than half being open to brand targeting. (Nielsen)

  • QR codes improve TV ads’ response rates to between 0.3% and 0.8%, above typical direct response TV ads or click-through display ads. (The Drum)

Awards / Festivals

  • At the 2022 HCA TV Awards, HBO’s White Lotus led all shows with five wins including best limited series. AMC’s Better Call Saul won four awards, as did ABC’s Abbott Elementary. (THR)

  • HBO had 10 wins at this year's Black Reel Television Awards for Succession, Euphoria, A Black Lady Sketch Show, and more. ABC had 8 wins, driven by Abbot Elementary and writer Quinta Brunson. (Deadline)

  • Lizzo, Jack Harlow, BLACKPINK and Maneskin were added as 2022 VMAs performers. The show will air live from New Jersey's Prudential Center on August 28th. (Pitchfork)

  • This year’s MTV Video Music Awards have a new category: the Metaverse. MTV will recognize the top digital concert with a new award for “Best Metaverse Performance.” (Fortune)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • Warner Bros. will distribute upcoming MGM movies outside of the US, excluding Bond 26 (the next chapter in the James Bond series). (Variety)

  • Universal has earned $3B at the global box office this year so far, making it the first studio to hit the milestone since 2019. (The Wrap)

  • Bullet Train led all movies in US ticket sales for a second straight weekend. So far, it's totaled almost $45M domestically and $114.5M globally. (AP News)

  • Grease is returning to AMC Theatres starting August 19, in a tribute to the late Olivia Newton-John. Tickets cost $5, and $1 of every ticket sold will be donated to breast cancer research. (Billboard)

  • Cineworld, the owner of Regal Cinemas, will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US. The news follows Cineworld's announcement of lower-than-expected 2022 admissions. (THR)

  • The Indian box office recorded its fourth consecutive monthly decline, with July grossing $79M. (Ormax Media)

  • Thor: Love and Thunder was prevented from releasing in Malaysian theaters due to its LGBT elements. The government demanded cuts to both Lightyear and Thor that Disney refused to make. (Variety)

Gambling / Casinos

  • Caesars’ casinos in Las Vegas generated total revenue of $1.1B in Q2, up nearly 34% YoY, and hotel occupancy at Caesars’ Las Vegas properties reached 97%. (WSJ)

  • Casino operator Penn Entertainment will acquire all of Barstool Sports, which it uses for its sportsbook. The Penn Sportsbook will continue leveraging Barstool personalities to acquire younger customers. (

  • Las Vegas gaming revenue is predicted to decline as much as 10% during 2023 due to potentially weak demand for leisure travel as part of a broader economic slowdown. (Nevada Independent)

Live Events / Attractions

  • Hulu launched an experiential pop-up in NYC for Only Murders in the Building's season finale. It contains several key elements from the show including Alice Banks’s Third Arm Gallery, as well as the fabled Pickle Diner. (The Drum)

  • The Jonas Brothers added more shows to their Las Vegas Residency. They'll be performing at Dolby Live at Park MGM for three nights in November. (Billboard)

  • Though attendance fell 22% YoY, Six Flags visitors have spent more money at the park this year, with per-capita spending up more than 50% from pre-pandemic levels. (WSJ)

  • Disneyland increased its annual pass prices, with the Inspire Key now costing $1,599/year The least expensive annual pass increased 13% to $449. (The Wrap)

  • Disney theme parks saw $7.4B of revenue in Q2, a 131% YoY increase driven by higher attendance and guest spending. International parks saw an overall loss, though the loss decreased 70% YoY from $210M to $64M. (Theme Park Insider)

  • Cost of travel is a new primary barrier of attendance for US cultural organizations, along with schedule conflicts. The amount of money people expect to spend on a visit has decreased by 12.5% for exhibit-based organizations and 28.6% for performance-based organizations compared to 2019. (Colleendilen)

  • MSG Entertainment is looking to spin off Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, as well as its regional sports channels, to focus on its MSG Sphere and Tao properties. (THR)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • Podcast company Qcode is moving towards unscripted audio series and has a new slate of unscripted shows including Tooth and Claw, Crime Scene Queens, and Jillian on Love. (Deadline)

  • Samsung and Spotify are collaborating on cross-platform integrations involving Samsung devices, including pre-installations of Spotify’s app on Samsung Galaxy phones and Smart TVs. (Tech Crunch)

  • Spotify is prompting some users in Vietnam to record a playlist reaction with their voice, which will then be shared as a podcast episode. (Engadget)

  • Australian podcast advertising spend in Q2 grew by 72% YoY and 29% QoQ. Ad spend across the True Crime category grew most rapidly, increasing 205% YoY. (AdNews)

NFT / Crypto / Metaverse

  • BitGo is seeking $100M in damages from Galaxy Digital for calling off their $1.2B acquisition deal. The deal would have been the crypto sector's first over $1B. (Tech Crunch)

  • About $1.9B worth of crypto has been stolen via hacks so far this year, a 60% increase YoY. Some of the biggest hacks were on DeFi protocols, including the $625M hack of Axie Infinity's Ronin network. (CNN)

  • Crypto firms spent $36K on US TV ads in July, down from a high of $84.5M in February. (Bloomberg)

OTT / Streaming

  • HBO Max laid off 14% of its staff, around 70 employees, as part of a broader reorganization under Warner Bros. Discovery. (Bloomberg)

  • YouTube will launch an online store for SVOD services, allowing consumers to add streaming services a la carte through the main YouTube app. (WSJ)

  • In 2022, people in the UK spent an average of 5 hours and 16 minutes every day watching video content. Subscriber VOD is the second-most watched type of video content behind broadcast. (Twitter)

  • HBO Max will remove 36 titles from its service, including 20 originals, in preparation for the merger with Discovery+. (Variety)

  • Streaming overtook cable in June, accounting for 35% of all TV usage in the US. Streaming usage has increased by a point every month since March. (THR)

  • Subscribers to Netflix’s ad-supported plan will be unable to download shows and films to their phones for offline viewing. (Bloomberg)

  • HBO Max launched a new limited-time discount for new and returning customers, offering 30% off in the first year for those who sign up for a yearly subscription plan. Compared to the streamer's monthly subscription, the discounted offer is a 42% savings. (Variety)

  • Paramount won the rights to UEFA, including the Champions League, in a six-year $1.5B deal. Though the soccer games are expected to stream on Paramount+, they could appear on its linear networks as well. (THR)

  • Two thirds of US adults would cut back on subscriptions to save money in times of high inflation, and price increases from streamers could contribute to an average subscription decrease. (Statista)

  • About 90% of 18-24-year-olds in the UK bypass TV channels and head straight to streaming when looking for something to watch, while 59% of 55-64-year-olds and 76% of those aged 65+ turn to TV channels first. (Digital TV Europe)

  • Paramount+ reached 400K subscribers in its first full year in Australia and is considering raising prices and adding an AVOD tier. (Mumbrella)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • Over 40% of US adults have used mobile payment in the last month. 16% of those who prefer in-store shopping have used in-store mobile payments, compared with 7% of those who prefer shopping online. (Morning Consult)

  • Walmart+ is adding Paramount+ to subscriber offering. Subscribers will receive the ad-supported tier, which does not include live coverage from users’ local CBS stations. (Yahoo)

  • Google plans to add fitness-tracking tech and home workouts to its smart TV offerings. It hopes, eventually, smart TVs will sync with Fitbit trackers to monitor a user’s progress through a series of living room workouts. (Wired)

  • Uber is shutting down its free loyalty program, Uber Rewards, to focus on its subscription-based Uber One membership. (Tech Crunch)

  • July US retail purchases were flat MoM after having risen 0.8% in June amid high inflation. However, excluding automobiles and auto parts, retail sales rose 0.4% MoM. (3News)

  • Most US adults (62%) subscribe to Amazon Prime, while about a quarter subscribe to Costco and Sam's club and 11% subscribe to Walmart+. (eMarketer)

  • Amazon is testing a TikTok-style photo and video feed of products for shoppers to view, buy and share products with other users. (WSJ)

Social Media

  • Meta has invested in Take App, allowing merchants to sell their products via WhatsApp. Take App facilitates online orders with a direct connection to WhatsApp for managing and tracking the final order. (Tech Crunch)

  • About a third of teens aged 13-17 use Facebook, down from 71% in a previous survey. However, 62% of teens use Instagram, up from 52% in 2015. (Tech Crunch)

  • Snapchat Plus has reached 1M paid users since its launch in June, and those subscribers will soon see new features like priority story replies, special backgrounds for users’ Bitmoji characters and new app icon designs. (The Verge)

  • TikTok released a text-to-image AI generator, AI Greenscreen, directly in the app. The AI-created images can then be used as backgrounds for videos. (The Verge)

  • Facebook is testing default end-to-end encryption on Messenger, adding a layer of security to the chat platform. (The Verge)

  • Instagram will let users remove weight loss ads from their feeds and control the amount of weight loss related content they see in Search, Reels, Accounts You Might Follow, Hashtag Pages and In-Feed Recommendations. (CNBC)

  • YouTube is testing Comment Stickers, letting users reply to comments with a short video. (SEJ)

  • TikTok will prevent content creators from posting paid political messages as part of its preparation for the US midterm election. (Reuters)

  • Meta is is rolling out an Add Yours sticker for Reels on both Facebook and Instagram, letting users respond to other users’ Reels with their own following a prompt or topic. (Tech Crunch)

  • Cameo is launching Cameo Live, a new feature letting consumers have 10-minute, live video calls with various celebrities, athletes, and politicians. (Gizmodo)

  • LinkedIn is testing a new Discover feed, which highlights recommended content that users may be interested in based on in-app activity. (Social Media Today)

Video Games

  • Embracer Group will purchase the rights to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to create new games, movies, and more based on the IP. (IGN)

  • Video games industry revenue (excluding esports) is expected to reach $321B by 2026. Social games will account for 76% of this revenue ($243B). (Mibidictum)

  • Roblox is testing a new feature that lets users trade directly with others from the item’s reseller list. Previously, users were required to navigate a person’s profile to initiate a trade. (PCGamesN)

Live Sports

  • Enthusiasm for soccer (football, outside of the US) is higher among younger generations than the general US population, with fans 18-34 accounting for over a third of total soccer fans. (Morning Consult)

  • Nielsen has signed a three-year deal to provide Prime Video with audience data for Thursday Night Football. It's the first time a live streaming program will be part of Nielsen’s US TV measurement service. (THR)

  • The 2022 NBA schedule will show no Election Day games. Instead, teams will play the Monday before on a themed “civic engagement night,” to encourage fans, players and staff to vote in this year’s midterm elections. (NBC)

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