Google Ad Chief Prabhakar Raghavan Speaks; TV Nets Advance Targeted Ad Strategies

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Google’s Balancing Act

Google’s pivot to privacy will be about “threading a balance,” head of advertising Prabhakar Raghavan told CNET. Google has to weigh user privacy protections with the concerns of the advertising ecosystem and avoid acting anti-competitively. With new controls on data collection in Chrome, Google has seemingly taken steps toward greater consumer privacy. Raghavan pledges Google’s ad products will do more with less data going forward. "Whoever's leading the market [in five years] will be the ones who are actually the most trusted," he said. "If we can maintain that trust, then we can remain a market leader. If we don't, it's a question." But with 85% of the company’s revenue still coming from advertising, critics are skeptical. "Google would never undermine their core business model," said Jeremy Tillman, president at Ghostery. "I don't think they could ever really be a privacy-focused company." More.

Linear Thinking

TV networks are forging ahead on plans to make more national inventory addressable, Alex Bruell reports for The Wall Street Journal. Specifically, CBS, Viacom, Fox and WarnerMedia are experimenting with allocating narrower targeting capabilities to linear media that was previously delivered against broad demos. The reasons are the same as what drove the programmatic revolution. “We have advertisers that want it,” said one anonymous network executive. “We have constrained inventory we have to get more yield from. We can only get a certain rate of change on demo buys each year, and can charge a premium for addressable ads.” Read on. But! Efforts to modernize television ad buying have been dealt setbacks lately, such as the withdrawal of WarnerMedia from the OpenAP data consortium and strategic stumbles at Nielsen and Comscore, Business Insider notes. Do sellers really want change? Read that.

Streaming First

WarnerMedia will release new episodes of some of its most popular TV shows on its upcoming streaming service before they debut on cable. That’s a major shift for a legacy entertainment giant that still makes 80% of its operating income from cable TV. It’s also an acknowledgement that the media company will have to follow its viewers over-the-top if it wants to survive. “The streaming service is going to be king,” an anonymous source told The Information. While WarnerMedia is relying on HBO to program its forthcoming streaming service, airing new programs from TNT and TBS alongside shows like “Game of Thrones” could attract more viewers. But going all-in on streaming is a risky bet for WarnerMedia and its parent AT&T, as it could push people to cut the cord. More.

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