CBS-Viacom Merger Back On The Table; GDPR Versus Marketing Tech

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

More Media Mega-Mergers?

Nearly a decade after their split, CBS and Viacom might be getting back together. According to Reuters, the CBS board has discussed the possibility of reuniting with Viacom, a union that would bring CBS’ broadcast properties together with Nickelodeon, MTV and Paramount. Reuters points out that such a conglomeration “could help CBS’ streaming service compete with Netflix Inc. and boost the combined company’s leverage with cable and satellite distributors.” The media giants are just getting gianter, and we may soon live in a world dominated by AT&T-Time Warner, Disney-Fox, Meredith-Time Inc., Sinclair-Tribune and CBS-Viacom. More.

Going Legit

Agencies are squinting pretty hard at some marketing technology companies as the GDPR compliance deadline looms, and vendor after vendor claims to be 100% compliant. Many data-driven companies, including location data vendors, have placated agencies over GDPR enforcement by claiming they fall under the “legitimate interest” clause, which covers vendors performing necessary data services on behalf of the first-party data owner. There’s ambiguity around the GDPR definition of legitimate interest, which will eventually be fleshed out in court. But many assume it will cover only contractual relationships between a company and an individual, such as a telco subscription or health care data services. “Legitimate interest can’t protect people,” Accenture digital marketing lead Amir Malik tells Digiday. “Consent is ultimately required.” More.

Bot Fiasco

The publisher of Newsweek and the International Business Times ran a campaign for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that exhibited a familiar form of ad fraud, reports BuzzFeed. The campaign disproportionately targeted ads toward “cheap junk traffic with a share of bots” on pirated video or file-sharing websites, according to ad fraud consultant Social Puncher. IBT’s average US-based traffic increased from 50% to 80% during the campaign, with almost a third of traffic purchased to meet campaign requirements, according to SimilarWeb. The traffic was routed through multiple domains. More. Even as shady operators seek new ways to exploit ad infrastructure, the old methods are still in use.

Amazon Advertising Accelerates

Amazon remained mum about the performance of its ads business during its earnings call, though company CFO Brian Olsavsky called advertising a “key contributor” to Amazon’s strong retail operating margins. Amazon advertising is bucketed in “Other,” which includes services like cobranded credit cards. That revenue category grew 60% YoY in Q4 to $1.7 billion. When asked what long-term impact advertising would have on its overall business, Amazon management gave the usual boilerplate: “With advertising, our strategy is to make the customer experience additive and help customers see new brands and discover products easier. … Right now we’re really focused on finding ways to work with vendors or sellers to offer a great experience on the website and the ability to reach consumers. We’re seeing strong growth in advertising as a revenue line item.” Earnings.

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