Moat Offers Video Score; The EU Takes Notice Of Facebook Fake News

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Quality Control

Forget about what constitutes a video view – the real question is how to value it. Moat hopes to add some clarity with its Video Score, which assesses the quality of video views across platforms by considering factors like sound, screen and view time. The metric is designed to quantify the difference in value between, say, a 15-second full-screen ad watched in its entirety with the sound on versus that same ad with the sound off versus a six-second partially watched Snapchat ad with no sound. “If I get you 10 million two-second impressions, that’s 20 million seconds of viewing, and that is the same thing as one million 20-second impressions,” said Joe Marchese, president of ad products for Fox Networks Group. “But those two things are not the same thing at all. And this is the first thing that begins to address that.” But The New York Times points to potential difficulties, like favoring certain platforms over others and encouraging brands to boost their scores in ways that may not be in the best interest of users. More at the Times.

Fake News, Real Headache

German politicians are taking a hard-line stance against fake news on Facebook and are pressing their EU colleagues to broaden the effort. BuzzFeed rounds up some of the prominent German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who are making Facebook accountability a plank of their future campaigns. And one anonymous EU delegate says Facebook “should shoulder the same responsibility as traditional media companies.” The representative spoke off the record because he or she is separately pursuing legal action against Facebook. “They do not get to wipe their hands of responsibility by saying [they] are an internet company, or [they] do not control what users share.”

Silencing The Screen

What does the proliferation of voice-enabled personal assistants mean for advertising budgets? If these assistants could transform the way consumers interact with screens, platform giants will have to rethink how to monetize ads in this environment. On Alphabet’s latest earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai couldn’t say whether or not voice ads via Google’s Assistant would be more difficult to monetize than its flagship search ads. While Pichar insists that adding another medium to interact with Google will “expand the pie,” Google might be inevitably disrupting its own business model by embracing the new technology. If history is any measure, though, Google will figure out how to monetize voice ads just fine. More at Business Insider.

Wishbone Winners

It’s a familiar trend: Online sales this Thanksgiving and Black Friday smashed US shopping records while brick-and-mortar retail continued to sink. Total online sales on Black Friday clocked in at $3.34 billion, passing Adobe’s $3.05 billion projection. Internet Retailer surveyed experts across the ecommerce market over the shopping period and found big boosts in conversion and volume. And for the first time ever, US mobile sales shattered $1 billion in one day. Meanwhile, RetailNext notes that over two days between Thanksgiving and Black Friday in-store sales decreased 5% and transaction volume declined 7.9%. And as more retailers open early, they’re cannibalizing Black Friday, when sales were down 10.4% year over year. Read more.

Looking (Middle) East

Amazon can’t touch Alibaba’s clout in China, but it’s still looking eastward. The ecommerce giant is in talks to buy Dubai’s online retailer Souq.com for $1 billion, which would give it considerable presence in the Middle East. The e-tailer sells more than 1.5 million products to consumers in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and has secured $275 million in funding from investors Tiger Global, Naspers and others. Souq was initially looking to sell a 30% stake in its business, but Amazon wants to gobble up the whole site to gain prominence in emerging Eastern markets. No formal agreements have been reached. More at Bloomberg.

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