Quick Takes – Marketing and Media News for 3/15/18

Media

Two things: 1) It’s interesting that FaceWE’RENOTAMEDIACOMPANYbook now wants to create a single destination for video news that can be used to get people’s attention, and 2) It’s unbelievable that any publisher would sign up for this given the 78 other times Facebook has clearly shown it’s only interested in using partnerships as a means of gaining user behavior insights, at which point it casts partners aside.

Nothing but respect for the editor of National Geographic who has published a remarkable letter admitting that the magazine has, since its inception, traded in harmful and terrible racial and ethnic stereotypes in its coverage. That can’t have been an easy thing to do, but note that it comes from someone who’s both the first Jewish and female editor at the august magazine. If there’s a single example of how inclusion can change perspectives, it’s this.

Toxic masculinity is apparently so bad at Rotten Tomatoes that a site specifically and exclusively for female critics, CherryPicks, needed to be brought into existence.

PopSugar becomes the latest media brand to decide the key to financial stability is selling its own line of physical lifestyle-based consumer goods.

Reports are that Netflix is planning a weekly news magazine type show akin to “60 Minutes.” That could be…something.

If you subscribe to a newspaper or magazine that’s part of Google News, results from those outlets will appear higher in search results and be more clearly branded. That’s a great idea and would have been even more useful years ago before Facebook and Google killed all the newspapers and magazines.

If you visit the Fox News website you’ll find the biggest problem facing America is (squints) female teachers having sex with their male students. Well I guess that’s easier than addressing your own history of sexual harassment and assault and fits in nicely with the overall editorial mission statement of the network that things were better when everyone who wasn’t a white man knew their place.

I can’t argue with the logic of media companies embracing YouTube more than Facebook, it’s just the story not only reads like one I’ve read 15 times over the last five years but also like an angle specifically pitched by someone with a vested interest in YouTube being seen as an attractive media outlet.

iHeartMedia becomes the latest company, along with Toys ‘R’ Us, to declare bankruptcy not so much because of market forces but because the massive debt their owners have saddled them with has made it impossible to weather or adjust to those market forces while also servicing the debt.

[gets popcorn] Leaked Amazon Prime Video user and revenue numbers.

Marketing / Advertising

Google has joined Facebook in banning ads for cryptocurrencies because the rule, not the exception, is that these are scams and not legitimate opportunities. And look, I’m not even going to point out that this is just the kind of editorial judgement a media company would make despite Google *totally* not being a media company, alright?

Let’s see how the reddit community reacts to the introduction of native ads on the site’s mobile app. That should be fun to watch.

The time spent consuming ad-supported media is going up but people are consuming more overall so the percentage allocated to ad-supported media is going down.

Social Media

A few recent exposes in the media on the problem of fake followers and bots plaguing social media has apparently created a cottage industry of companies who have positioned themselves as ersatz detectives to root out those accounts.

Silicon Valley: “We need tens of millions of dollars in financing and will sell your data to anyone who asks.” / Also Silicon Valley: “That seems hard and we don’t want to so it’s literally not my problem and we’re going to put the onus on a non-profit we’re not contributing to.” Case in point, YouTube farming out any responsibility for the prevalence of conspiracy theory videos on its site to Wikipedia, of all places. But…uhh…the Wikimedia Foundation says it wasn’t aware of such an arrangement and isn’t part of a formal partnership. Jesus, these people.

Literally Everyone For The Last Year: “Engagement-based news algorithms on social media platforms are part of what’s causing many of the problems we now face in terms of news literacy.” / Twitter: “We’re testing an engagement-based news algorithm.”

After picking up the rights to stream a couple dozen Major League Soccer games, Twitter has renewed its deal with NASCAR to stream video from races.

Technology

Compelling thoughts here that it’s not the platforms that need to be regulated – they’re operating exactly as they should – it’s the entire capitalist model that positions revenue and profits over any sort of social responsibility.

The net neutrality bill introduced by a California lawmaker for that state would include zero-rating tactics by wireless carriers, which is something that’s been used by those carriers to promote partnerships and get around other restrictions.

Aaaaaand just as I expected, Netflix has cancelled the rest of its test rollout for a “patch” incentivized viewing program geared at kids for totally predictable reasons like parents feeling it turned their little ones into even bigger zombies than they were before.

It’s not a question of when artificial intelligence-driven machines will learn to discriminate, it’s that they already are in countless ways that the public – and regulators – have zero insights or access to. Eventually there’s going to be a falling out period where we realize these systems are doing as much, if not more, damage based on discriminatory processes than their human predecessors.

Lots of good stats here on mobile video usage in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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