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TV Ad Spend Tanked In 2020; Facebook Signs Content Deals In Australia

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TV advertising was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to market and media research firm Kantar, TV advertising experienced a 9% drop to $66.8 billion in 2020. Only spot TV advertising witnessed an uptick in ad dollars last year. Cable TV, network TV, Spanish language programming, syndicated television and total national TV media were all down. Broadcast TV networks slipped 10% to $15.8 billion. But there was one bright spot in TV Land: Local TV seems to have come out ahead. Advertising in local TV was up 8.3%, hitting $16.25 billion, driven by record-high political ad spend. Based on Kantar’s estimations, 2020 political advertising on broadcast TV was $3.5 billion – a record amount. Still, TV stations suffered somewhat from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics being postponed until this year to the pandemic. Elsewhere, national TV media paced worse than the market overall – down 13.3% to $50.5 billion for the year – while cable TV networks had the biggest drop in 2020, down 17% to $28.7 billion. MediaPost has more.

Facebook’s (Out)back

One week after it began, Facebook’s Australia news blackout is over. Reuters reports that Facebook has “preliminary commercial agreements with three small local publishers.” Who are the lucky three? Schwartz Media, Solstice Media and Private Media, which together own weekly papers, online magazines and specialist pubs. Facebook didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deals, which will become effective within 60 days if a full agreement is signed. Although these non-binding arrangements allay some of the fear that small Australian publishers would be left out of revenue-sharing deals with Facebook and Google, they’re also evidence that when Facebook throws its weight around, it often sees results. On the eve of the Australian government’s plan to pass a law forcing big platforms to pay local media for using their content, both Facebook and Google threatened to yank their services from Australia. Google later reneged and struck deals with a bunch of publishers, including News Corp. But Facebook dug its heels in and blocked all news content from the land down under. A few days later, Facebook got its way. Its hardnosed stance led to the addition of several amendments to the law, including one giving the government power to exempt platforms from mandatory arbitration. Facebook began restoring Australian news sites on its platform on Friday.

Snapping It Up

See also  News Corp strikes Facebook pay deal for Australian news

Snapchat may look like grandpa’s social media to a TikToker, but it hasn’t lost its edge with advertisers. DTC brands are increasing their spending on Snapchat this year as part of an ongoing push to diversify their media budgets, Digiday reports. Spending on Snapchat has increased roughly 10% year-over-year, and the app currently accounts for anywhere between 10% to 25% of media budgets. But why is Snap so, well, snappy right now? Beyond looking to reduce their reliance on other larger platforms (ahem, Facebook and Instagram), brands are doing their damndest to get ahead of potential fallout related to Apple’s forthcoming privacy moves on iOS 14. Facebook has stated publicly that its ability to target and measure advertising will be impacted by these changes. Snapchat is also generally more sophisticated than TikTok when it comes to targeting and DR and does a better job of pitching DTC brands on its e-commerce capabilities.

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But Wait, There’s More!

WarnerMedia parent AT&T has sold its stake in DirecTV to private equity firm TPG for $7.8 billion. [Deadline]

Facebook reported more than 20 million child sexual abuse images on its platform in 2020, according to a new report by the National Council for Missing and Exploited Children. [Business Insider]

Here’s how Ukonwa Ojo, CMO of Amazon Prime Video, is positioning the brand in the streaming wars. [Ad Age]

Cision is acquiring Brandwatch for $450 million in a deal that’s expected to close in Q2 2021. [TechCrunch]

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Netflix will spend $100 million to improve diversity on film following an equity study it commissioned to study the level of diversity in its movies and TV shows. [CNBC]

LiveRamp is committing $15 million to help minority and Black communities access financial resources and services. [release]

Viewers will have a new way to follow Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, as well as the Grammys and Oscars in the coming weeks, on streaming service Haystack News. [Deadline]

You’re Hired!

See also  That Facebook Messenger update could be a phishing scam

Merkle has three new execs on its tech team: Matthew Mobley, EVP and CTO of the Americas, Pete Rogers, technology consulting leader and Mark Engelke, growth officer. [release]

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Caroline Connolly is joining Kantar Public as head of international development. [Consulting.us]

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

See also  News Corp strikes Facebook pay deal for Australian news

Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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