Media Companies Take A Hit; Taxing Ad Tech

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The Black Market

Media companies have taken an absolute shellacking in the past 48 hours as a series of poor earnings reports – as well as a drumbeat of news about the unbundling of broadcast properties – has soured investors on some longtime favorite stocks. “Media stocks are getting slaughtered,” one major portfolio manager told The WSJ. Among the victims: Viacom, Time Warner, Disney, 21st Century Fox, Discovery, Dish Network and more. What’s driving the freak-out? Fear of those pesky cord-cutters. Read on.

The Honeypot

Will it soon be tax time for ad tech? It will if four states (CA, NC, IL and PA) get their way. Each is preparing to introduce sales tax on services (health care, education and small businesses exempted). And ad tech falls into that taxable category. Naturally, any company with a stake in advertising is way down on this prospect. Opponents note how a 1980s law signed in Florida led major lobbying and a boycott from major advertisers. On the other hand, a report out of DC said that “$169 billion could be raised over 10 years if businesses were required to deduct advertising expenses over five years.” Read more at Ad Age.

Spot On Or Move On

If X doesn’t mark the spot, brands won’t be keen on using location data. Although eight in 10 marketers around the world said they use location targeting for mobile advertising, ad company xAd found that deficiencies in measurement, campaign performance and accuracy keep purse strings kind of taut. But the purse is opening nonetheless. According to BIA/Kelsey, location-targeted ad spend is expected to rise 56% this year. More via eMarketer.

Brick and Mortar (and Hardware)

Target is embarking on a nationwide beacon roll-out, beginning with 50 stores in major markets with plans to expand later in the year. TechCrunch reports that the beacon network will allow the retailer to do things like send targeted coupons or share Target’s top-pinned products on Pinterest. The notifications are limited to visitors that use Target’s app and have opted in to the program. These user interface hurdles are commonly cited limitations with beacon tech. Target will also limit the notifications to two per trip to avoid annoying customers. Read on.

TV Advances

According to Q2 research from ad software firm Videology, advertisers are using more TV audience data to target commercials and launch multiplatform campaigns. In fact, the number of video campaigns that rely on targeted audience data is up 91% over 2015’s first quarter, according to the report. Videology chief Scott Ferber adds that cross-screen planning and buying are on the rise. “With so much cross-screen data now at advertisers' fingertips, the planning siloes between TV and digital video campaigns are truly coming down," he said. Broadcasting & Cable has more.

Programmatic EU

More than 90% of European ad execs plan to grow their investment in programmatic, according to research from IAB Europe, though a lack of expertise remains a hurdle. IAB Europe polled 1,000 execs from the buy- and sell-sides, who cited improved targeting, increased operational efficiencies and competitive advantage as big draws for programmatic. Agency execs were quick to peg themselves as early adopters of ad tech, and 77% said they’re investing as much as 40% of their digital ad spend programmatically. In some cases, that means taking automation into their own hands. Four in ten agency execs revealed that the majority of their programmatic investment is happening in-house. More via The Drum.

MDC Rebuilds

MDC Partners reported Q2 revenues of $336.6 million, up 12.4% YoY. Organic revenue increased 8.3% during the quarter, ahead of IPG (6.7%), Omnicom (5.3%) and Publicis (1.4%). This was MDC Partners CEO Scott Kauffman’s first earnings call with investors, and he apologized for the to-do (or to-don’t) over former CEO Miles Nadal’s misuse of company funds. As for pitchapalooza, Kauffman said MDC is more immune to media reviews as it lacks the scale of competing holding companies. Read the release.

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