Comcast Activates Its Digital Investment; OOH Opportunities Abound

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Media giants like Verizon and Comcast have been planting flags across the digital ecosystem (in the form of huge investments in Business Insider, Vox, BuzzFeed, Vice, etc.), and the “strategic” aspects of those strategic investments are starting to emerge. Comcast-owned NBC and partially Comcast-owned Vox will begin selling cross-platform ad packages. Vox custom-builds the ads, so there’s also a branded content angle. What’s in it for ad buyers? “The whole point of brand building is to build trust,” said Vox CEO Jim Bankoff in an interview with Mike Shields of The WSJ. “It’s impossible to do that with ads that suck.” More.

Sign On A Stick

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising will hold steady at around 4% of all marketing spend, but don’t let that obscure the opportunities that new tech and mobile advancements enable for the channel. General Motors uses a sign to pick up car types, and then down the road, it serves ads to a digital billboard based on the vehicle (like if the new Chevy has more safety features than that Hyundai you’re driving). E.J. Schultz covers it for Ad Age. Related in AdExchanger: Retailers are also figuring out how to turn OOH ads and billboards into attribution networks. Read that.

Audit This

Media suppliers are tired of the muddle and confusion that now typifies the agencyclient relationship. In a surprise announcement, the Media Ratings Council says it will form a working group to review the practices of media auditors hired by clients to review their agencies. The MRC assembled the group at the behest of publishers, who get caught in the middle when the data they use to rate media differs from what the buyer uses to make a sale. The goal isn’t to issue new standards, but “simply to give all sides of the industry a better sense of the risks and volatility of the data used to post and audit media buys.” More at MediaPost.

In Facebook We Trust

BuzzFeed’s Facebook video strategy has taken off, thanks to pages like Tasty, a recipe channel that gets billions of views per month on Facebook. Now the publisher has launched Nifty, a subsidiary brand similar to Tasty but focused on money-saving DIY hacks. Nifty is already putting up big numbers, but remember: “Last year, traffic to top Facebook publishers plunged 32 percent after an algorithm tweak.” Read on at Digiday.

Fair Play

The UK government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the way publishers promote branded content, The Drum reports. After Starcom Mediavest and TAN Media were called out for obscuring a sponsored blog network campaign, the CMA launched an investigation that has singled out 13 marketing companies, 20 businesses and 33 publishers. “Opinions in blogs and other online articles can influence people’s shopping decisions,” said CMA senior director Nisha Arora. “Failing to identify advertising and other marketing, so that it appears to be the opinion of a journalist or blogger, is unlawful and unacceptable.” Watch out, content marketers! More.

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