GroupM Lowers Global Ad Spend Projection; Pokémon Go Continues Its Success

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The Forecast

GroupM lowered its 2016 global ad spend projection from 4.5% to 4.0% growth due to slowdowns in China and Brazil, according to its “This Year, Next Year” ad spend forecast for 2016-2017. China’s economy is reaching a “new normal” with lower but sustainable growth, making way for the US to be the leading contributor to global advertising growth this year. GroupM increased its US estimates for 2016 from 2.7% to 3.1%, with strong growth in TV (more than a full percentage point boost from the last report) largely due to the upcoming election and consistent spend from CPG and pharma verticals. Digital will fuel 99% of net ad growth in 2016. Read it.

All Systems Go

The seemingly unstoppable march of “Pokémon Go” continues, according to research from App Annie. The app store intelligence firm says the game’s total downloads passed 100 million this weekend (and it’s still cranking out more than a million downloads per day on average, as it hits new markets). A week after the game debuted last month, it knocked people’s socks off with $1.6 million in daily revenue. Now it’s over $10 million. The speed and thoroughness with which “Pokémon Go” has crushed app store and mobile game precedents is astonishing (with engagement and open rates higher than Facebook, formerly the unquestionable world leader in those metrics). More at TechCrunch.

Return of Angwin

The journalist behind the infamous “What They Know” series in The Wall Street Journal is back, this time writing for The New York Times. In an op-ed, Julia Angwin calls for legislation giving consumers “the right to examine and challenge the data used to make algorithmic decisions about us.” She finds precedent in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, signed into law in 1970 by President Richard Nixon. Advertising is not singled out here, but could get caught up in a net meant to prevent harmful uses of algos in areas like credit risk scoring and predicting recidivism in the criminal justice system. Read the whole column.

OurTube

Twitter and Facebook are experimenting with influencer rev-share models in an effort to poach video creators from YouTube, Bloomberg reports. Twitter’s Amplify program will give 70% of revenue from pre-roll video ads to creators, the same strategy it uses for publishers. That won’t, however, work for Facebook, which doesn’t want to introduce its autoplay videos with ads. The platform has paid influencers hard cash in the past, but is now “experimenting with a bunch of different formats for creators in the coming months,” said Facebook head of video Fidji Simo. Influencers aren’t holding their breath. “I'm treating Facebook like it's college,” said YouTube comedian Jason Horton. “I'm learning, I'm educating myself, and once they decide to start monetizing, I'll be ready to go.” More.

Para(web)sites

The browser/ad blocker Brave, which was founded by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, raised $4.5 million (on top of a $2.5 million seed round last year) to build out its “small, but growing” user base, Jack Marshall reports for The Wall Street Journal. More so even than other ad blockers, Brave has incited the fury of publishers because it strips their ads and then injects ads approved and sourced by Brave. No publisher has partnered with Brave (at least not publicly, though Eich tells the Journal he’s in discussions with a few). Brave is also supposedly working on a way for users to monetize content via micropayments, as Adblock Plus has done. [AdExchanger coverage] “This third-party ecosystem is out of control. It’s parasitic,” said Eich, whose business leeches the revenue of publishers while contributing nothing. More.

Free And Very Basic

Facebook’s Free Basics program flopped in India, but it’s signed up half of the countries in Africa, encompassing 635 million users. The continent will be home to 700 million smartphones by 2020, according to research from GSMA. Many slam the program, which will offer developing countries free internet access via drone and cell tower technology that’s still under development, as a “thinly veiled marketing ploy.” Although it makes limited internet more accessible, it doesn’t tackle barriers in infrastructure, language or tech education. And it certainly isn’t up to paid internet standards. African tech and internet access activists describe the service as “barely functional” and on par with 2002 internet. More at The Guardian.

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