Safari iOS 15 Update Could Hamper Ad Performance; Streaming Subscribers Plateau

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Safari iOS 15 Update Could Hamper Ad Performance; Streaming Subscribers Plateau

Behind Bars

The beta version of Safari available for iOS 15 users could seriously hamper online ad performance. Typically, iOS updates undercut online advertising when Apple makes it difficult (or impossible) to track users around the web or attribute campaign conversions. This Safari change steps everywhere online ads in a literal way. A replacement Tab Bar with browser controls floats at rock bottom of the page, rather than the standard set up with the URL bar and controls atop the screen. The new Tab Bar disappears while scrolling but reappears when users scroll up a page. Sometimes, it’ll block important messages by the publisher’s consent management software, like pop-up requests to log in or accept first-party cookies. It also blocks video players and displays ad units. Ad viewability is going to be affected, and it could mess with publisher metrics since users will attempt to close the Tab Bar and accidentally click on ad units or other links on the page – which isn’t trivial since that’s a metric Google uses to gauge whether publishers use click-spam tactics. CafeMedia strategy chief Paul Bannister features a useful Twitter thread on the subject. 

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Feel The Churn

A procession of streaming entertainment packages hit the market within the past two years: Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, HBO Max, and Paramount Plus, to call a couple of. Many of them gained traction with free or steeply discounted pricing. And now those self-same services are seeing massive churn and struggling for growth at full subscription rates. For example, the peacock has 42 million accounts, but only 14 million are monthly active users, and just one in five of these active users pays to subscribe. NBC has considered bundling Peacock with Sam’s Club memberships and students who subscribe to Spotify to expand its paid subscriber base, Bloomberg reports. But the matter remains that even heavily invested companies with mountains of content struggle to create major streaming apps and DTC subscription revenue lines. Disney Plus has likewise seen its U.S. subscriber numbers plateau after a busy first year. And, to be fair, Netflix is additionally handling sluggish subscriber growth. 

Executive Order

President Biden leaned hard on Big Tech Friday when he signed an executive order to curb alleged anticompetitive practices by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, Business Insider reports. Especially, the directive puts a microscope on M&A deals during which large tech companies sweep up smaller, would-be competitors (such as Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp). The measure also calls on the FTC to make rules around the collection and use of user data – alongside new broadband internet mandates – and Biden wants the FCC to “readopt” net neutrality regulations. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are already facing intense pressure from House lawmakers pushing sweeping antitrust bills. On Thursday, Google was slapped with an antitrust lawsuit by three dozen state attorneys general.

But Wait, There’s More! 

Google will keep FLoC feedback on the brink of the vest because it iterates on the first design. [The Register]

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a privacy law that permits consumers to cop out of targeted ads. [MediaPost]

Paris-based Didomi raised $40 million. [release]

App Annie explores strategic options, including a possible sale or IPO. [WSJ]

Problems versus Dilemmas: the complex trade-offs produced by social settings. [Medium]

Prosecutors cast Amazon as an unlikely victim in their legal action against Google. [Bloomberg]

Omnicom Media Group is that the latest to hitch the industry’s Unified ID 2.0 initiative.

[Digiday]

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You’re Hired

Instacart hired Facebook exec Fidji Simo, as CEO. [CNBC]

OMG’s Annalect hired Liesa Newland as head of knowledge infrastructure and integration. [Mumbrella]