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Every Friday, The Big Smoke looks at industry news curated by MediaScope. This week we look at the website that fights fake news, the survival guide of Bloomberg’s CEO and the future of VR in advertising.
Quality for news is mostly about solving the reputation issue (Frederic Filloux – MondayNote)
Working on a quality score for publishers and authors is an effective way to mine quality from the web – and to fight fake news. To do this, we need to find, combine and weight the right “signals”.
Recently, publishers and large distribution platforms finally decided to address the fake news problem. Most of their efforts entail connecting the avalanche of content to one or more fact-checking outlets such as Politifact, Snopes or FactCheck.org.
In France, Le Monde created Decodex, a search engine that scores the reliability of websites. It works, sometimes.
Bloomberg CEO survival guide in the duopoly era (Sahil Patel – Digiday)
It’s not all doom and gloom. “Publishers still have a vital role to play as long as they prioritise their brands, differentiate their products and create revenue streams that are not reliant on Google and Facebook.” Below are other points from a recent session.
1) The digital revolution is just – finally – beginning.
2) Differentiate or die.
3) Quartz is a model publisher by prioritising its brand and eschewing programmatic.
4) The advertiser brouhaha with Google is theatre, but don’t take it lightly (the real story is why are these problems not getting resolved quickly enough?).
5) Platforms are feeling the pressure.
6) Be pickier with platforms.
Can procurement fix Madison Avenue’s mess (Michael Farmer – Mediavillage)
Procurement’s focus on cost reduction has generated an endless list of activities. Procurement has examined agency salaries, overhead rates and profit margins. They’ve scrutinised investments in media planning, media buying and production costs. They’ve exploited the media transparency issue to audit and change media agency contracts.
They’ve explored the opportunity to create internal agencies. They’ve spawned an industry of specialised consultants to support them in their efforts – benchmarking consultants, media auditors, search consultants, contract specialists, compensation specialists and pure cost-cutting consultants.
Ad agencies view procurement’s growing power with horror. Procurement is the acknowledged enemy. This short-sighted view of procurement may doom agencies to further attacks.
There’s another way to go. What agencies (as suppliers) have ignored is procurement’s historical mission and success as an engine for positive change that focuses on “quality improvements,” not just cost-reduction?
The future of AR and VR (Simon Applebaum – MediaVillage)
Advocates of a mainstream existence for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content generally bet that the pathway to that existence is a header – as in helmets, goggles or something else people wear on their heads. Mobile devices rate a distant second, as in smartphones or Google’s Cardboard product. But after Digital Hollywood’s recent annual Media Summit in New York City, all bets are off.
“Getting consumers to put on their face is hard,” Time Warner Investments managing director Scott Levine declared, minutes into a panel on VR/AR business development. While mobile has a shot to take off, Levine warned the crowd attending to “get ready for a shakeout in the VR space.” Factors: the high cost of headgear, slow initial sales for some of that gear and a dearth of original content.
Mark Boldman, managing director and partner with Peter J Solomon Co., intensified the downbeat outlook with his remarks. “Virtual reality is a short-term thing, not a mainstream form,” he said. “I’m more bullish on AR … ultimately, VR will die off in 10 years.”
Ad agencies and accountability (Ben Thompson – Stratechery)
There are reasonable debates that can be had about hate speech being on Google and Facebook’s platforms at all; what is indisputable, though, is that the logistics of policing this content are mind-boggling.
Take YouTube as the most obvious example: there are 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute; that’s 24,000 hours an hour, 576,000 hours a day, over 4 million hours a week, and over 210 billion hours a year – and the rate is accelerating. To watch every minute of every video uploaded in a week would require over 100,000 people working full-time (40 hours). The exact same logistical problem applies to ads served by DoubleClick as well as the massive amount of content uploaded to Facebook’s various properties; when both companies state they are working on using machine learning to police content it’s not an excuse: it’s the only viable approach.
Don’t tell that to the ad agencies, though.
Advertisers and ad agencies should be accountable as well.