Snap Tests Commerce; DoJ's Star Witness Testifies

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Publisher Push

Snap is testing a commerce feature allowing users to swipe on publishers’ Discover channels to buy products in the app’s Snap Store. Snapchat is looking for publisher monetization angles as news media companies split with Facebook, Digiday reports. The app recently began allowing branded content campaigns, which was previously forbidden for Discover partners, and is working with publishers to run “promoted stories” outside the Discover platform. Publishers, or at least the early brand-name Snapchat adopters strongest on Discover, love the attention and incremental growth. “You’re talking about millions of dollars in revenue that you can directly associate with Snapchat and with being on Discover,” says one media exec. More.

Justice Warriors

The Department of Justice on Wednesday brought out its star witness, UC Berkeley business school professor Carl Shapiro, in its challenge to AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Shapiro conducted the survey and modeled out the data the DOJ is relying on for its claim that the merger would lead to a net price increase of $436 million per year for American consumers (about 45 cents per month per subscriber). District Judge Richard Leon, who’s presiding over the case, reportedly gave stronger consideration to Shapiro than previous witnesses, all of whom were from rivals like Dish Network, Charter and Comcast’s NBC with deeply vested interests in the case. Shapiro also said that with ownership of HBO, a Time Warner subsidiary, AT&T will control one of the key promotional pieces other pay-TV subscribers use to lure new customers. More at Variety.

Running Up The Tab

Most major online news referral sources are well understood, but Google Chrome Suggestions “is new enough that ... there is essentially no information out there describing its traffic,” writes Chartbeat’s Josh Schwartz at Nieman Lab. In the past year, GCS (the story links that appear on a new Chrome tab) quietly grew from a negligible audience source to nearly rivaling Twitter for breaking news traffic. The exception is in Spain, where there’s no GCS traffic, likely because Google News withdrew from the country after it passed a law last year requiring Google to pay publishers to display and link to their content. More.

Chin Music

Streaming music is booming – but ad-supported streaming is taking a back seat. YouTube’s global head of music told Bloomberg last month that music listeners on the platform would be shown more ads to frustrate them into joining its subscription offering. Apple’s fast-growing music service doesn’t have an ad-supported model. And post-IPO Spotify is cranking up its subscription business, a much stronger and more investor-approved revenue stream. A new joint subscription for Spotify and Hulu, for instance, offers premium Spotify streaming and ad-supported Hulu access. For Hulu’s owners, Comcast, Disney and Fox, giving Spotify a boost is also a small hedge against bigger-picture competitors such as Google and Amazon.

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